S. Henriques1, C. Sousa2, C. Costa2

1ULHT - Lusofona University (PORTUGAL)
2Lusofona University CICANT (PORTUGAL)
The main goal of this study is to better understand and explore what are the most significant factors, drivers, motivations and barriers to game based-learning activities and, more particularly, the use of digital games for education purposes. In the context of a research project based on the value of digital games for learning and promotion of media literacy skills, an ethnographic study on the perspectives and standpoints of parents and teachers on games for learning has been conducted.

This ethnographic study worked as a first approach to explore motivations, perceptions and adoption intentions of the main stakeholders involved in the teaching-learning process, both in formal and informal contexts. Focus group were conducted in two different elementary schools with parents and teachers of children from the 5th grade.

This focus group intended to analyse:
1) the relevance and application of media literacy skills in everyday life
2) the use of games in education and 3) the use of videogames to promote knowledge and skills in a formal education context with children aged between 9 and 12 years old.

The main results of these focus groups reveal the thoughts and expectations of children, parents and teachers from different fields, on the use of games for learning, their individual experiences and their intentions to introduce games, more particular videogames, in teaching-learning contexts both at school and at home. An interesting discussion on the relevance of media literacy in different contexts of everyday life and on the concerns of parents and teachers about the online world and associated skills, such as digital identity management, online security, critical thinking, information curation and management, is carried out.

Parents and teachers envision internet as a space of opportunities, but also a space of risks. Both talk about the potential of internet and digital skills to improve cognitive, social and cultural aspects, nonetheless, more concerned views are worried about the risks and harms of participating freely in the digital world. Limitations and rules used at home and at school are discussed and experiences are shared. Both parents and teachers seem to believe that the best choice is to empower children with social and cultural tools that allow them to develop the necessary skills to deal with the loads of information they are exposed to and the competencies to act responsively, morally and mindfully in the digital world. Different concerns on how to better promote these competencies and also where does the responsibility lies when it comes to teach and endorse these skills are discussed. Teachers talk about their experience in the classroom, sharing the main challenges they deal with these days and the value they believe games have for teaching and education purposes in general.

In a broad-spectrum, this paper will highlight an interesting debate on the perceptions and attitudes of parents, students and teachers on the use of videogames for learning, as well as the main arguments, incentives and recommendations. Results from this paper can work as guide for future research studies in this context allowing to better understand acceptance, adoption, perceptions and motivations, contributing for the success of future interventions in game-based learning approaches.