About this paper

Appears in:
Pages: 4706-4713
Publication year: 2010
ISBN: 978-84-614-2439-9
ISSN: 2340-1095

Conference name: 3rd International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 15-17 November, 2010
Location: Madrid, Spain


T. McCloughlin, H. Gash, S. O'Reilly

St. Patrick's College (IRELAND)
The use of digital learning environments and Flash games or simulations has received much attention in the research literature. These digital learning environments may be best suited to single-user per computer situations, however changing the standpoint of practicing teachers can be difficult to bring about. This work reports an attempt to incorporate digital learning into the whole-class setting. Teachers use computers available in schools in a variable manner. Often, such attempts are anecdotally reported to consist of single outdated computers in a poor state of repair with multiple user groups struggling to access information or at the other extreme, dedicated computer rooms are provided but these require a level of support that is often lacking. Three Flash games were developed for the purpose of learning concepts from the Irish science curriculum with a view to bringing about conceptual change. Once the games were developed, they were used in conjunction with experimental hands-on activities, which helped to contextualize the digital learning component. The evaluations were ranked according to the rubric above, the ranks were tabulated with case ranks forming the rows and question ranks forming the columns, thus a matrix was produced for each lesson. Multidimensional scaling (MDS) was applied to this resulting matrix and plots were made of the emerging dimensions. In the MDS plot for module 1, there is a broad spread of the teachers, with small clusters forming on either side of the y axis. Teacher 1 is our ideal teacher, a person who scored a rank of 1 on every question. One could merely print the matrix with the cases focused in order of the number of high ranks against specific questions – though this is not as simple as it sounds. This would provide a list-wise presentation of the ranks, but MDS provides an immediate graphical display of the distance – a psychological distance – between the teachers. The other and important feature of MDS is that it takes into account the distances between each pair of teachers, something a list would not convey easily. What we see is that there is quite a distance between teacher 1 and the majority of the teachers. Other teachers formed clusters denoting a commonality of perspective. In the MDS plot produced for module 2, the spread of teachers is more pronounced and there are fewer clusters. Teacher 1 has gone to the other extreme in module 2. Did she perhaps not like the lesson? In fact, she felt that the Flash game was too simple for her class: a comment contradicted by a secondary science (specialist) teacher. Whereas, other teachers found the use of the Flash game challenging and something that allowed her practice to improve. We have taken as our starting point the notion that a constructivist teacher is one who wishes to constantly improve their practice and who seeks to involve the students in the construction of knowledge aided inter alia by meaningful dialogue. We sought to determine whether teachers thought to improve their practice. The extent of primary teachers’ constructivist leanings depended on the type of lesson presented to them. A more traditional-type lesson stimulated a constructivist approach in some, whereas a novel, ICT-based lesson might stimulate the opposite response.
author = {McCloughlin, T. and Gash, H. and O'Reilly, S.},
series = {3rd International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation},
booktitle = {ICERI2010 Proceedings},
isbn = {978-84-614-2439-9},
issn = {2340-1095},
publisher = {IATED},
location = {Madrid, Spain},
month = {15-17 November, 2010},
year = {2010},
pages = {4706-4713}}
AU - T. McCloughlin AU - H. Gash AU - S. O'Reilly
SN - 978-84-614-2439-9/2340-1095
PY - 2010
Y1 - 15-17 November, 2010
CI - Madrid, Spain
JO - 3rd International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
JA - ICERI2010 Proceedings
SP - 4706
EP - 4713
ER -
T. McCloughlin, H. Gash, S. O'Reilly (2010) REFLECTING ON FLASH GAME TECHNOLOGY IN THE CLASSROOM, ICERI2010 Proceedings, pp. 4706-4713.