24 November 2023Share
More than half of Australian high school English teachers believe digital games are a legitimate text type to use in their teaching programs, but just 15 per cent have done so, Australian Catholic University research shows.
A study of 201 teachers from diverse schools has found those with less years of teaching experience were more likely to consider digital games as a valid learning tool and use them in the classroom.
But 80 per cent of those surveyed also said they had not received professional development on how to incorporate digital games-based learning into their teaching practice.
Lead researcher and ACU Senior Education Lecturer Dr Amanda Gutierrez said with digital games not listed as an example of a multimodal text in the Australian Curriculum for English, the lack of consensus among English teachers about the merit of using them in learning programs was understandable.
“There is still work to do around digital games being valued as an important multimodal text,” Dr Gutierrez said.
“Gaming is incredibly diverse, of great significance in the lives of many young people and crosses into other popular culture mediums. It would be remiss of English as a subject, which should include studies of influential and important texts, to ignore this growing area which includes such diversity of textual designs and genres.”
Data from the study, analysed by Dr Gutierrez and ACU researchers Professor Kathy Mills, Associate Professor Laura Scholes, Dr Luke Rowe, and Elizabeth Pink, and published in Teaching and Teacher Education, found:
Dr Gutierrez said the use of digital games was a polarising issue for teachers and that explicit links to digital games-based learning was needed in the curriculum, with professional development made available for teachers.
“English is about understanding how texts and language contribute to multiple meanings about the world and people’s interpretations of the world. In the current context, multimodal texts are becoming the most significant way children and adolescents are engaging and interpreting their worlds,” she said.
“Cultural changes, and higher visibility and normalisation of gaming through media and events is more likely to invite English teachers to explore these types of cultural texts. We are seeing more representation of gaming, including virtual reality, in films, TV, and social media.
“Teachers need to be supported so that can be translated into effective and engaging teaching and learning practices in the classroom.”
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