Investigating Attitudes of Adult Educators towards Educational Mobile Media and Games in Eight European Countries
Muhammet Demirbilek, Suleyman Demirel University, Turkey
JITE-Research Volume 9, Number 1, ISSN 1539-3585 Publisher: Informing Science Institute
The purpose of this research was to investigate adult educators’ attitudes and perceptions of the current use of technology, mobile devices, and educational games in adult education, which is defined as any formal or informal education or training aimed at an adult population that is older than traditional university students. Learning styles and needs of adults vary. Some will be active learners and want to do things, and others will be passive and want to be told the answers. Experience, personality, and prior knowledge have an effect on the learning styles. Regardless, digital games can be tailored to engage all types of adult learners. Researchers emphasize how digital games influence the learning processes of students, as well as their effects on the educational process in general (Gee, 2004; Kafai, 1998; Prensky, 2001; Squire & Jenkins, 2003). Basic elements of game play, such as intrinsically motivating, effectively engaging, and immersive (de Feritas, Savill-Smith, & Attewell, 2006; Maleno, 1981), make digital games a potential and powerful learning activity. In addition to the basic elements of digital games, mobile game play has portability, connectivity social interactivity, context sensitivity, and individuality characteristics (Klopfer, Squire, & Jenkins 2002). The ubiquitous future of mobile devices provides unique opportunities for context- and content- aware ubiquitous learning in everyday life. With the recent advent of 3G smart mobile devices mobile media learning is gaining more ground and receiving ongoing attention in both formal and informal learning environments. Furthermore mobile games are increasingly becoming popular among students, regardless of their age, due to fast diffusion of mobile devices and improvement of their technologies. A fundamental survey was conducted among adult educators (We are using the term “adult educators” to mean educators of adults.) in eight European countries to outline the current state of adult educators’ attitudes and perceptions toward the use of mobile games in education. Our goal was to discover emerging trends and future directions. We collected 113 surveys from eight European countries. The results of this study show that, while some adult educators do not employ any technology in their classes, in general, adult educators are aware of the use of technology and present positive attitudes towards mobile media technologies. While slightly more than half of those studied used electronic games for teaching, almost all of this activity involved computers, not cell phones or similar portable devices. According to the data, adult educators prefer puzzles, quizzes, matching and simulation as game genres. They view language learning, communication skills, cultural themes, computer literacy and problem solving as topics that are more suitable for mobile games. Furthermore, the research reveals that most of the adult educators expressed their interest to use mobile games in their teaching. 76 % of adult educators expressed their interest to use mobile devices in their learning activities. In all countries, adult educators indicated a willingness to employ electronic games on mobile devices. Half of participants (50%) preferred synchronous games. Participants also indicated positive attitudes towards commercial games as better quality products. Furthermore 33% of subjects think that open source games would be better learning games due to the ongoing possibilities for future modification and development.
Demirbilek, M. (2010). Investigating Attitudes of Adult Educators towards Educational Mobile Media and Games in Eight European Countries. Journal of Information Technology Education: Research, 9(1), 235-247. Informing Science Institute.
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