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Surveying Attitudes Toward Game-Based Learning in Teacher Education Program

Virtual reality has a number of applications for pedagogy and teacher training; simulation training in these much-needed areas may add an essential component to the field of teacher education (Tondeur, Pareja-Roblin, van Braak, Voogt, & Prestridge, 2017). Computer simulations can provide guided practice for a variety of situations that pre-service teachers wouldn’t frequently experience during their teacher education studies (Mason, Jeon, Blair, & Glomb, 2011; Mason, 2011). Simulations can help pre-service teachers develop the skills that it takes to properly run a classroom without the high-stakes risk of causing harm to actual students (Matsuda, 2005).

There are numerous benefits to game-based learning, including improved learner motivation and engagement, constructive knowledge frameworks, exploratory and independent learning and, at times, higher achievement outcomes over traditional pedagogy (Boyle et al., 2016; Cheong, Flippou, & France, 2015; Peterson, 2019). Simulations can allow pre-service teachers to see their students from a different perspective, gain insight into the best ways to manage their future classroom, and understand the direct consequences of their actions in the classroom (Ferry et al., 2004).  Including simulations in pre-service teaching coursework has demonstrated an increase in the confidence and effectiveness of first year teachers (Englebert, 2010).

A number of computer simulations in the area of teacher training exist and recent publications help guide faculty toward simulations that are a good fit for their pre-service teacher needs (Bradley, 2021). Existing simulations cover a myriad of topics ranging from bullying prevention of LGBTQ youth, to using simulations to help special educators learn about the experiences of students with disabilities, to effective classroom management training, to trauma informed school-based practices and more. However, widespread adoption of game-based learning has not yet been achieved in teacher education programs. Adoption of games and simulations into higher education curricula has been slow, in the United States in particular, with the majority of higher educators not taking full advantage of computer-based classroom teaching simulations as instructional tools (Englebert, 2010; Proctor & Marks, 2013; Grooms, 2017, McLaren & Kenny, 2015).

I am currently conducting a research study in which I will assess teacher education college and university faculty and administrators on their attitudes regarding the use of games and simulations to train pre-service teachers. This research will help illuminate the perceived barriers and potential solutions to the lack of games and simulations utilized in teacher training programs. I invite faculty and administrators in teacher preparation programs to complete a 10-minute survey on this topic. As a small token of appreciation, the first 150 participants will receive a $5 Amazon gift card. The following link will bring you to the informed consent and survey: www.surveymonkey.com/r/FDDJJCX

Thank you for your dedication to the field of teacher education and for your support of my research.

Elizabeth Bradley, Ph.D., LP, NCSP, is a professor in the School for Graduate Studies at  SUNY Empire State College.


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