ERG SES E 13, Gamification and Education
Lesson planning is an essential and fundamental stage through the organization of the instruction (Kaplan, 2015). A well-planned and extensive lesson plan might provide teachers opportunity to use the instruction time more effectively (Theoharis & Causton-Theoharis, 2011). On the other hand, an ineffective lesson plan might affect both instruction and students’ achievement negatively (Ruys, Van Keer, & Aelterman, 2012; Theoharis & Causton-Theoharis, 2011). Therefore, in teacher education programs, learning about lesson planning has been accepted as an important issue (Ambrosio, Seguin, Hogan, & Miller, 2001; Ruys et al., 2012). In this respect, Ruys et al. (2012) suggested that teacher education programs need developments with a focus on the necessity of lesson planning.
According to Swearingen (2014), lesson plan refers to “the planning for anticipated actions and responses that occur during instruction that include considerations of individual student needs, state and district requirements, and engagement of the students through relevant or real-world activities” (p.23). As seen, Swearingen (2014) approached lesson planning by emphasizing students, curriculum conditions, and application of activities. The review of the related literature showed that the components of lesson plans mentioned by researchers vary. For example, in the study of Kaplan (2015), pre-service middle school mathematics teachers were expected to focus on objectives, introduction of concept, arrangement of activities and discussion, summary, and assessment as components of a lesson plan. Ruys et al. (2012) developed a rubric to evaluate pre-service teachers’ lesson plans and evaluated instruction, organization, and evaluation domains of lesson plans. Similarly, Ambrosio et al. (2001) used a rubric which includes objectives, mechanics, rationale, and inclusiveness to evaluate lesson plans of pre-service teachers. In this manner, this study intended to focus on the content of lesson plans prepared by pre-service middle school mathematics teachers and the use of mental games in these plans.
Mental Games course which was categorized under six headings, namely reasoning games (e.g., sudoku), word games (e.g., crossword puzzle), geometric-mechanic games (e.g., tangram), strategy games (e.g., chess), memory games (e.g., matching game), and intelligence questions (e.g., wolf, sheep, cabbage problem) is offered as an elective course for 5th-8th grades in Turkey (MoNE, 2013). The main purposes of offering such an elective course for middle grades are to foster the development of students in terms of problem solving, communication, reasoning, self-regulation, psychomotor skills, and affective characteristics (MoNE, 2013). Moreover, using games during teaching helps to increase the motivation, engagement, problem solving, and achievement of students (Gee, 2003; Ke & Grabowski, 2007). The games are used to teach complex and difficult concepts since they “(a) use action instead of explanation, (b) create personal motivation and satisfaction, (c) accommodate multiple learning styles and skills, (d) reinforce mastery skills, and (e) provide interactive and decision making context” (Charles & McAlister, 2004; Holland, Jenkins, & Squire, 2002; as cited in Kebritchi, Hirumi, & Bai, 2010, p.427).
Considering the benefits of using games during instruction for students, pre-service teachers should be aware of the importance and potential of using games throughout the instruction. Moreover, since lesson plans might be considered as indicators of pre-service teachers’ future teaching practices, to what extent pre-service middle school mathematics teachers are able to integrate mental games into mathematics teaching is worth investigating. Therefore, the purpose of the present study is to examine how pre-service middle school mathematics teachers integrate mental games into a lesson plan prepared for mathematics course and the following research question guided this study.
1. How do pre-service middle school mathematics teachers integrate mental games into mathematics lesson plans?
In case study, a bounded system or multiple bounded systems are explored by gathering in-depth data through multiple data sources (Creswell, 2007). Since a researcher studies with a number of cases to examine a context and phenomenon in multiple case study (Stake, 2005), it can be stated that this study is a multiple case study. The participants were selected by purposive sampling. Based on the purpose of the study, pre-service middle school mathematics teachers who took undergraduate elective courses Mental Games I and II, and did not take these courses are considered to be participants. Firstly, senior pre-service middle school mathematics teachers in a state university in Ankara who fulfilled the mentioned criteria were selected. Then, among these students, nine groups each containing three seniors were formed so that 27 senior pre-service middle school mathematics teachers were determined as the participants of this study. In more detail, three groups involve seniors who took Mental Games I course, three groups involve seniors who took Mental Games II course, and three groups involve seniors who did not take these courses. Pilot study was conducted with three groups from each category at the end of the fall semester of 2017-2018 academic year. After the analysis of the pilot study, revisions regarding time needed for the study, the use of materials such as computer, textbooks and paper-pencil, and how groups should be formed were conducted. Data will be collected at the beginning of the spring semester of 2017-2018 academic year. Moreover, two mental games which are crossword puzzle and matching game were selected for this study since these games are not directly related to a particular mathematics concept and participants are equally familiar with them. After the description of games, the groups will be asked to select an objective from middle school mathematics curriculum currently used in Turkey and at least one of the mentioned games, and prepare a lesson plan including the selected game. The groups will be allowed to use any source they want. Therefore, video recordings, audio recordings, and documents will be used as data sources. In data analysis, thematic analysis will be used by considering the guidelines suggested by Braun and Clarke (2006) which are familiarizing yourself with the data, generating initial codes, searching for themes, reviewing themes, defining and naming themes, and producing the report.
According to the analysis of the pilot study, the points which pre-service middle school mathematics teachers might focus on while preparing lesson plans were stated as follows; which learning area, objective and grade will be selected, the purpose of using mental games in lesson plan, the stage of the lesson plan in which mental games will be integrated, which mental game will be used for lesson plan, the roles of teacher and students during the game, which sources will be used while integrating mental games into lesson plan, and the preparation of the materials for the game. According to Morris, Heibert and Spitzer (2009), teachers should be careful about the description of the objective of the lesson. In the case that teachers are not sure about the meaning of the objective of the lesson, it will also be difficult for them to prepare activities which serve to the objective and students’ learning. Therefore, in this study, whether pre-service teachers will be able associate the objective with the selected mental game properly will be focused on. Moreover, computer games are regarded as potential instructional tools for an effective learning (Ke, 2008). Since participants of the present study took three computer related undergraduate courses and also allowed to use any digital source in lesson planning process, they are expected to use technological tools by adapting the given games into digital platforms. Moreover, further studies might be conducted with pre-service teachers to investigate how mental games integrated mathematics lesson plans can be applied in middle school classrooms.
Ambrosio, A. L., Seguin, C. A., Hogan, E. L., & Miller, M. (2001) Assessing performance-based outcomes of multicultural lesson plans: A component within a comprehensive teacher education assessment design, Multicultural Perspectives, 3(1), 15-22. Braun, V., & Clarke, V. (2006). Using thematic analysis in psychology, Qualitative Research in Psychology, 3(2), 77-101. Creswell, J. W. (2007). Qualitative inquiry and research design: Choosing among five traditions. Thousand Oaks, California: Sage Publications. Gee, J. P. (2003). What video games have to teach us about learning and literacy. New York: Palgrave MacMillan. Kaplan, G. (2015). An investigation of preservice middle school mathematics teachers’formative assessment approaches through lesson planning. (Unpublished master’s thesis). Middle East Technical University, Ankara. Ke, F. (2008). A case study of computer gaming for math: Engaged learning from gameplay?. Computers & Education, 51(4), 1609-1620. Ke, F., & Grabowski, B. (2007). Gameplaying for maths learning: Cooperative or not? British Journal of Educational Technology, 38(2), 249-259. Kebritchi, M., Hirumi, A., & Bai, H. (2010). The effects of modern mathematics computer games on mathematics achievement and class motivation. Computers & Education, 55(2), 427-443. Ministry of National Education. [MoNE]. (2013). 5., 6., 7., ve 8. sınıflar zeka oyunları dersi ögretim programı ve kılavuzu. Ankara, Turkey. Morris, A. K., Hiebert, J., & Spitzer, S. M. (2009). Mathematical knowledge for teaching in planning and evaluating instruction: What can preservice teachers learn? Journal for Research in Mathematics Education, 40(5), 491–539. Ruys, I., Van Keer, H., & Aelterman, A. (2012). Examining pre-service teacher competence in lesson planning pertaining to collaborative learning. Journal of Curriculum Studies, 44(3), 349-379. Stake, R. E. (2005). Case Studies. In N. K. Denzin, & Y. S. Lincoln (Eds.), Handbook of Qualitative Research (2nd ed.) (pp.435-454). Thousand Oaks, California: Sage Publications. Swearingen, M. (2014). Four preservice teachers' use of mathematical knowledge during lesson planning and ınstruction in the field experience. (Doctoral Dissertation). Available from ProOuest Dissertations and Theses database. (UMI No: 3673073) Theoharis, G., & Causton‐Theoharis, J. (2011). Preparing pre‐service teachers for inclusive classrooms: Revising lesson‐planning expectations. International Journal of Inclusive Education, 15(7), 743-761.
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