PERCEPTIONS OF TURKISH COMPUTER EDUCATION AND INSTRUCTIONAL TECHNOLOGY PROGRAM STUDENTS AND ALUMNI TOWARDS GAME USE IN EDUCATION

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1 PERCEPTIONS OF TURKISH COMPUTER EDUCATION AND INSTRUCTIONAL TECHNOLOGY PROGRAM STUDENTS AND ALUMNI TOWARDS GAME USE IN EDUCATION Res. Ast.Kadir Yücel Kaya Middle East Technical University, Ankara, TURKEY Assoc. Prof. Dr. Kürşat Çağıltay Middle East Technical University, Ankara, TURKEY ABSTRACT Role of teachers are very important to implement progressive methods in education. Computer game use with educational purposes is mostly reliant on teachers perceptions about games. This study investigated the perceptions of prospective Information Technologies (IT) teachers who are students and alumni of the Computer Education and Instructional Technology (CEIT) departments. Main purpose of this study is to show attitudes of IT teachers towards the use of computer games in education. This study also sought to find if there is any difference in attitude between alumni and students of CEIT program; and between attitudes of males and females. Participants are CEIT students (46) and alumni (21), 67 people (30 female, 37 male) from 12 different universities in Turkey. Results of the study showed that all participants have positive perceptions toward game use in education and there was no significant difference between; students and alumni, male and female, and universities. Keywords: Game Use in Education, Technology Perception INTRODUCTION If games are a significant portion of the media diet, they need to be understood as important systems of symbols which might have a broad social impact (Williams et al., 2009). Use of video games as an entertainment medium provides an exciting opportunity to adapt games to educational purposes, addressing instructional goals from within highly interactive virtual environments (Schrader et al., 2006). How do games stimulate and support learning? Lieberman (2006) answers that question as interactive games typically challenge players to solve compelling problems. Players learn by doing, develop skills to succeed and rehearse those skills repeatedly. Players receive feedback on their progress and they are able to see their advancement toward their goal (Lieberman, 2006). If you change the word players with students Lieberman would be also answer the question What does a good instruction must have? In traditional teaching methods books are the most commonly used teaching material. Books are still good way to learn but in some ways it is inadequate. As seen in figure 1 (Ritterfield & Weber, 2006) there is no interactivity and intelligence in books. Video games can provide those two features to learner. Figure 1: Characteristics of medium Video games still aren t used widely in education. One of the main reasons about that is negative perceptions of teachers toward games. Teachers' perceptions and approaches and, consequently, the learning contexts they provide, are known to influence students' perceptions (Cope & Ward, 2002). As

2 seen in the figure 2, teachers perceptions of learning and teaching and teachers approaches to teaching directly affect students approaches to learning and quality of students learning outcomes. Figure 2: Teacher-student perceptions and the quality of learning outcomes (Cope & Ward, 2002) The common perception of video gaming is one of arcade-style entertainment, and as such, it is difficult for many people to appreciate games' educational potential (Schrader et al., 2006). Only teachers with positive perceptions toward use of computer games in education can use this potential. It is important to find out attitude of teachers toward use of games in education. As stated by Subrahmanyam and Greenfield (1998) girls toy choices and pretend play appear to be based on more on reality, whereas boys tend to be based more on fantasy places and events. Research study expects to find, even as teachers, whether this attitude towards games effects female prospective teachers perceptions of use of computer games in education. Study will sought to find whether this choice difference will reflected on games perceptions of females, or not. Can and Cagiltay s (2006) research shows that most of the participants supported the idea that computer games with educational features could be suitably used without causing any problems with curriculum plans. Ninety-six percent agreed with the statement that computer games have the capability to help students fulfill cognitive goals. Eighty-nine percent of the participants agreed that this kind of computer games could help to develop psychomotor goals. Eighty-seven percent agreed that the games could help students to meet affective goals (Can, 2003). This study also expects to find whether any difference occurred in CEIT students perceptions in 7 years, or not. Significance of the Study Study will reveal general change in game perception towards games in seven years in similar groups. This could show us not only CEIT students but also people s perception towards games in Turkey. Output of this studymayalso bea source material for Ministry of Education to decide in using this rising new teaching technology in Turkey. If teachers perceptions are positive and Ministry of Education pays importance in this area, there is no reason to become unsuccessful with games with educational features. Research Questions Research questions of this study are as listed below: 1- Are general perceptions of CEIT students and alumni towards computer games and use of computer games with educational features positive or negative? 2- Is there a significant difference in perception towards games between students and alumni of CEIT students or between male and female participants? 3- Is there a significant difference in perception of participants towards use of computer games with educational features in education regarding their universities? METHOD Design This research study was designed as a survey research study. Quantitative data were collected through a questionnaire. Questionnairewas developed by Gulfidan Can for her thesis Perceptions of Prospective Computer Teachers toward the Use of Computer Games with Educational Features in Education (Can, 2003).

3 Participants and Data Collection Procedure Data collected from 67 students and alumni from 12 different Turkish universities Computer Education and Instructional Technology (CEIT) departments. CEIT students and alumni are selected to reveal perceptions without any negative effect of lack of technological background. Research s purpose explained verbally. Questionnaire has the other needed directions. Data were collected randomly with various ways. Most of the data collected from CEIT Convention2010 participants who came from different universities. Some of data collected via social sharing platforms with digital version of the questionnaire (facebook, mailing groups etc.). Data were collected from 12 different universities. Dokuz Eylul University, METU, Yuzuncu Yil, Gazi, Osman Gazi have bigger percentage than others. There is only one participant from KATU, Anadolu and Ataturk universities and there are two participants from Selcuk University. Those participants were not used in comparing universities. In total, 68.7 percent of participants are students, while only 31.3 percent of them are alumni. Reason of that difference was that it was harder to communicate and find alumni than students. On the other hand percentage of genders was very close to each other. There were 55.2% male participants, while females were 44.8%.Participants ages were ranged from 20 to 30. Data Collection Instruments Data collected via one survey instrument for this study. Quantitative data were collected through a questionnaire. Questionnaire was developed by Gulfidan Can for her thesis (Can, 2003). Questionnaire used with permission of Gulfidan Can. Questionnaire was shortened from 58 questions to 42 to questions. Hence, students will not get bored who have not much time in CEIT convention. Questionnaire is composed of two main parts. Part I includes 2 different sections. Section I composed of personal 10 questions like age, university, birth place, etc. Section II includes 22 questions in the form of Likert scale which seek to measure participants general perception towards playing computer games. Part II includes 20 questions about perceptions of toward the use of computer games with educational features in education (Can & Cagiltay, 2006). Part II composed of 19 Likert scale questions and one open-ended question. A four point (Strongly Disagree, Disagree, Agree, Strongly Agree) scale was preferred over a five-point scale because of the high number of Neutral responses in the pilot study (Can & Cagiltay, 2006). Pilot test of this questionnaire was made by Can (2006) for different parts of the questionnaire. Sixtyseven different participants in METU participated in pilot study. While the coefficient alpha value for the overall questionnaire is 0.87, for three sections they are 0.79, 0.64, 0.85 (Can& Cagiltay, 2006). Data Analysis Procedure Various methods used in data analysis procedure. PASW software was used for data storage, calculations, and descriptive statistical data analysis. In some points MS Excel 2007 is used to organize the data. Independent samples t-test was used for comparing educational game use scores according to gender, graduation status, and GPA. One-way ANOVA test was used to see if there is any significant difference between universities. FINDINGS General Perceptions of Participants towards Playing Computer Games As seen in table 1, general perception of participants towards playing computer games listed with descending frequency and percent. Negative statements marked with joker symbol (*). When we look at the table, we can see all positive statements about game-playing except playing games is an important leisure time activity are at the top of most agreed statements. Even this data by itself shows us general perceptions of participants towards games are positive. Most agreed statement was Playing computer games help developing some useful knowledge and skill (89.6%). This statement is the most related statement with educational games. Participants agreed upon

4 games can be used to learn (or teach) new skills to people. Another agreed important statement is Girls and boys prefer playing different types of computer games. (80.6%). Most of the participants think that gender difference is important in game preference. Most agreed negative statement was Playing games with violent content affects people negatively. (76.1%). Another agreed negative statement was Playing computer games leads to an addiction. (74.6%).The most disagreed positive statement was Playing computer games is an important leisure time activity. 58.2% of the participants are disagreed with this statement. As a successor study of Can and Cagiltay s (2006) research, results of general perception of teachers towards games with educational features questionnaire will be compared with their results to see what changed in perception through time. Three of four most agreed statements are same in both study. However, Playing computer games requires too much engagement time. statement is the most agreed statement in Can s study (2003), while it is 8 th most agreed statement in this research. This can lead us play-time perception s change through 7 years. It is going towards a more positive perception. Least agreed four statements are in exact same sequence. Table 1:General Perceptions of Participants towards Playing Computer Games Statement Disagree Agree 1. Playing computer games help 10.4% (7) 89.6% (60) developing some useful knowledge and skill. 2. Playing computer games is suitable for 16.4% (11) 83.6% (56) every age group. 3. Girls and boys prefer playing different 19.4% (13) 80.6% (54) types of computer games. 4. Playing computer games increase 20.9% (14) 79.1% (53) curiosity of people. 5. When computer games are played with 22.4% (15) 77.6% (52) a group (family, friends etc.), it helps development of social skills. *6. Playing games with violent content 23.9% (16) 76.1% (51) affects people negatively. *7. Playing computer games leads to an 25.4% (17) 74.6% (50) addiction. *8. Playing computer games requires too 32.8 % (22) 67.2% (45) much engagement time. *9. Playing computer games affect 50.7% (34) 49.3 % (33) people s social life negatively. *10. Playing computer games is a waste of 55.2% (37) 44.8 % (30) time. 11. Playing computer games is an 58.2% (39) 41.8% (28) important leisure time activity. *12. Playing computer games is only 86.6% (58) 13.4% (9) suitable for children (elementary and secondary level). *: Negative statement Perceptions of Participants towards the Use of Computer Games with Educational Features in Education Participants perception towards the use of computer games with educational features in education is measured with second part of the questionnaire. As it is stated before part II is composed of 19 likert type scale question and one open-ended question. 19 positive statements are given in part II about the subject. Nearly all of the statements are agreed way more than disagreed. So it is not needed to do a one-by-one analysis of those items. Only disagreed statement is (75.9% disagreed) games without a specific goal can be effective in learning Other than

5 that all statements agreed more than disagreed. Generally all participants attitude score was high and similar. Only one participants score quite lower than others and one of participants is a little higher than other participants. Last question of this part and questionnaire was an open ended question.question was In your professional life, are you planning to use computer games with educational features in your lectures or learning environment designs? If your answer is yes, how? If your answer is no, why? 50 students has answered this question. Some of those answers were just yes. Only one participant answer this question negatively and that was only no. Participant answers are assembled in some key points. Some participants are planning to use computer game for gaining students attention. Some says it is a good tool to motivate children to lesson. Some says it is better to use games as a multimedia environment which makes learning more permanent. Some cites that it is good to visualize abstract subjects. But the most frequent answer was to use game for reinforcing learned lesson after class. Table 2:Mean and Standard Deviation of Total Score of Perception N Min Max M SD Total Score of Perception Difference in perception towards Use of Computer Games with Educational features in Education between Students and Alumni.Males and Females. Universities Three different comparisons will be made in this section to see if there is any difference between students and Alumni of CEIT. Males and Females. and 8 different universities. There were 12 different university students-alumni participated in this research however four of these universities has only one or two participant. So they are not used in comparison between universities. Total scores of part II of questionnaire are used for these comparisons.to reveal if there is a significant difference an independent t-test is run. According to t-test analyses there was no significant difference between CEIT students (M= SD=5.73) and CEIT alumni (M= SD=4.42); t (65) = p =.308. Both groups have positive perception towards games. Another analysis is made for gender comparison. According to t-test analyses results there was no significant difference in perception towards use of computer games with educational features between females (M = SD = 5.30) and males (M = SD = 5.43); t (65) = p =.413. Last comparison is between universities of participants. One way analysis of variance was conducted to examine the effect of university on perceptions of participants. There were 8 different universities which were taken into consideration. The ANOVA was non-significant. F(7.54) = p =.310. That shows that university has no effect on perception towards use of computer games with educational features. Table 3:Mean and Standard Deviations of universities University M SD N Bahcesehir Gazi Ege Uludag Yuzuncu Yil Osman Gazi METU Dokuz Eylul Total

6 Table 4:Summary of one-way analysis of variance for university SS df MS F p ² University Error Total DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSION As games impact on our lives rising every day, it is clear that education cannot be out of this important area.forty-six CEIT students and 21 CEIT alumni participated in this research study. General perception towards games and use of games with educational features are positive among participants. Forty-nine of fifty participants who answered the open-ended question that they are planning to use games in their professional life. Significant themes of this research study will be examined below. Engagement Time Questionnaire part I shows that general perception towards games looks like changed positively through seven years. The most important change perception is time engagement of games. In Can s (2003) study games Playing computer games requires too much engagement time. statement is the most selected one while it is 8 th in this research study. Reason behind that must be the rising popularity of casual games. Casual games have bigger and bigger market share in gaming industry in the last five years. General perceptions of people towards games changed about engagement time. People can go online and play games for couple of minutes. Consoles like Nintendo Wii have lots of casual games. Noble et al. s (2003) research shows that flash games have the largest audience size among games. Flash games are mostly simple, non-industrial, and free to play games (Noble et al., 2003). Facts like that could changed perception about time consuming of games. No significance between different groups There was no significant difference between groups: students-alumni, male-female, different universities. For all those groups, I think that main reason of non-significant difference was all participants has positive perception towards games. All participants computer background was proficient enough not to fear from any kid of new technology. Additionally students and alumni age was not so different, as seen. It can be interpreted as their perception will be same because of their generation. No significant difference between males and females shows that girls perception positive as much as boys. According to Entertainment Software Association s report (2010) males are not as dominant as common thought. ESA s report shows that 40% of game players are female while 60% are male. Perception is not significant for that reason. Recommendation and Further Research Results show that both CEIT students and alumni have positive perception towards games. That tells us IT teacher and prospective IT teachers of Turkey have positive perception towards game-use in education. They are planning to use games in education. Ministry of Education should invest in making games as learning material. At least,it could be developed for IT classes for now. As future research, a wider ranged study can be done. Experienced IT teachers should participate to see whether working for a long time in same job is affecting one s perception about new teaching methods. Other branch s teachers can be included in study to see whether if other teachers want to use games in education as much as IT teachers do. REFERENCES Can, G. (2003). Perceptions of Prospective Computer Teachers toward the Use of Computer Games with Educational Features in Education (Master Thesis. METU). Retrieved from METU Library ETD Repository. Can, G.& Cagiltay, K. (2006). Turkish Prospective Teachers' Perceptions Regarding the Use of Computer Games with Educational Features. Educational Technology & Society. 9 (1)

7 Cope, C.& Ward, P. (2002). Integrating learning technology into classrooms: The importance of teachers perceptions. Educational Technology & Society 5 (1) 2002 Entertainment Software Association (ESA), Essential Facts about the Computer and Video Game Industry: 2009 Sales, Demographic, and Usage Data. Retrieved from: Lieberman, D. A. (2006). What can we learn from playing interactive games? In P. Vorderer & J. Bryant (Eds.), Playing video games motives, responses, and consequences (pp ). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc. Noble, R., Ruiz, K., Destafano, M., & Mintz, J. (2003). Conditions of Engagement in Game Simulation: Contexts of Gender, Culture and Age. Level Up: Proceedings of the Digital Games Research Conference.DIGRA: Utrecht University Ritterfeld, U. & Weber, R. (2006). Video Games for Entertainment and Education. In P. Vorderer & J. Bryant (Eds.), Playing Video Games-Motives, Responses, and Consequences (pp ). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum, Inc. Schrader, P., D. Zheng, and M. Young. (2006). Teachers' perceptions of video games: MMOGs and the future of preservice teacher education. Innovate 2 (3). Retrieved from: (accessed April 24, 2008) Subrahmanyam K.,and Greenfield P. M., (1998). Computer Games for Girls: What Makes Them Play? In J. Cassell and H. Jenkins (Eds.) Barbie to Mortal Kombat, Gender and Computer Games, MIT Press, pp Williams, D., Martins, N., Consalvo, M., and Ivory J. D. (2009). New Media Society 2009; 11; pp

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