Level Up: Enhancing Classroom Teaching and Learning with Game-Based Learning

Project Number
OER 02/11 CYS

Project Duration
September 2011 - February 2014


Since April 2008, we have been engaged in two substantive research projects whose overarching goal has been to investigate pedagogically sound ways to design, develop, and introduce game-based learning in classroom contexts. These projects were funded by the National Research Foundation. As part of this research effort, two games, "Statecraft X" (Secondary 3 social studies) and "Legends of Alkhimia" (Secondary 2 chemistry), together with associated curricula materials, were developed and used in several classroom interventions led by schoolteachers from two collaborating schools. Our research findings to date have been positive. We have shown evidence of improved student learning outcomes—cognitive and affective— related to students' deep understanding of citizenship and governorship in the Statecraft X learning program. We have also found improvements in student's learning of chemistry through engaging in science inquiry with the "Legends of Alkhimia" curriculum. Our work on the projects has led to the theorization of game-based learning in terms of three central constructs: performance, play, and dialog. These constructs ground our learning theory in the philosophies of pragmatism and process metaphysics. To support the diffusion of innovative teaching practice with games in the Singapore education system, the current research proposal seeks to level up teachers’ capacity to enact game-based learning in the classroom by extending the reach of the practice to other teachers within and beyond the collaborating anchor school that we have worked with and by further facilitating teacher appropriation and ownership of the innovation within the anchor school. We seek to maximize the likelihood of success by partnering with the Educational Technology Department of the Ministry of Education at the systems level and by continuing to work with current teacher-collaborators in the anchor school as well as teachers new to the innovation at the professional level. The objective is to seed and nurture a small community of teachers able to, first, appropriate the pedagogical innovation into their personal teaching practice and philosophy, and, second, strengthen their capacity for further personal innovation by taking strong personal ownership of the innovation. The overriding goal is to develop sustainable change in teaching practice through teacher ownership of curricula, in the context of a school environment where successful innovation is recognized and rewarded.

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