About this paper

Appears in:
Pages: 2140-2147
Publication year: 2016
ISBN: 978-84-608-8860-4
ISSN: 2340-1117
doi: 10.21125/edulearn.2016.1425

Conference name: 8th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 4-6 July, 2016
Location: Barcelona, Spain

EXPLORING THE ROLE OF GAMIFICATION WITHIN STEM TEACHING AS A MECHANISM TO PROMOTE STUDENT ENGAGEMENT, DEVELOP SKILLS AND ULTIMATELY IMPROVE LEARNING OUTCOMES FOR ALL TYPES OF STUDENTS

J. Playfoot

White Loop Limited (UNITED KINGDOM)
It is recognised that many European countries are currently facing a crisis amongst their younger generations in respect of scientific vocations. The number of students specialising in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) disciplines has been in steady decline in recent years and Europe faces the concrete risk of an acute shortage of suitably qualified scientists, technicians and engineers. This could have a profound effect on the competitiveness of European businesses and a knock-on effect in terms of employment rates and economic growth.

There is strong evidence that for many young people their disengagement from STEM subjects starts during secondary education. The drivers of this disengagement are various but research indicates that there are primarily two factors at play: first, there is a commonly held perception that amongst young people that scientific subjects are difficult to learn and master; second, there are misapprehensions regarding the employment pathways available to STEM students with many young people believing that studying these subjects will lead to poorer pay and a less attractive working life.

Evidence suggests that the teaching of STEM subjects requires radical reform. Immersive, experiential learning and the deployment of self-directed learning approaches can be the catalyst for deepening student engagement and improving learning outcomes. However, in schools, colleges and universities today too much STEM teaching remains teacher-led, didactic and one-dimensional. At best, this makes the learning experience more challenging in relation to student performance; at worst, potential STEM students are put off these subjects for life due to an inability to grasp key concepts or to fully engage in the content of lessons. For those students who do stick with STEM subjects, their ability to develop the skills and competencies they need to operate effectively within highly technical employment environments can be diminished meaning that employers are required to undertake considerable retraining in order to bring graduates up to speed.

These dual problems – of the attractiveness of STEM subjects to learners and the effectiveness of STEM teaching in relation to learning outcomes – require novel solutions. The NEWTON project – funded under the Horizon 2020 programme - is a large scale initiative to develop and integrate innovative technology-enhanced tools for teaching and learning and to create a pan-European learning network platform that supports fast dissemination of learning content to a wide audience in a ubiquitous manner. A key part of the NEWTON project is to develop, integrate, deploy and disseminate state of the art technology-enhanced teaching methodologies based on gamification. Gamification – whereby game mechanics are integrated into a non-game experience – has a well-documented impact on user enthusiasm, particularly amongst Millenials, many of whom have grown up playing games and retain this interest through adolescence and into adulthood. This paper will explore how gamification might be deployed within STEM teaching as a mechanism to increase student engagement, how, through gamification, the learning outcomes for students undertaking STEM subjects might be improved and what role gamification may play in supporting learning outcomes for STEM students with special educational needs.
@InProceedings{PLAYFOOT2016EXP,
author = {Playfoot, J.},
title = {EXPLORING THE ROLE OF GAMIFICATION WITHIN STEM TEACHING AS A MECHANISM TO PROMOTE STUDENT ENGAGEMENT, DEVELOP SKILLS AND ULTIMATELY IMPROVE LEARNING OUTCOMES FOR ALL TYPES OF STUDENTS},
series = {8th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies},
booktitle = {EDULEARN16 Proceedings},
isbn = {978-84-608-8860-4},
issn = {2340-1117},
doi = {10.21125/edulearn.2016.1425},
url = {http://dx.doi.org/10.21125/edulearn.2016.1425},
publisher = {IATED},
location = {Barcelona, Spain},
month = {4-6 July, 2016},
year = {2016},
pages = {2140-2147}}
TY - CONF
AU - J. Playfoot
TI - EXPLORING THE ROLE OF GAMIFICATION WITHIN STEM TEACHING AS A MECHANISM TO PROMOTE STUDENT ENGAGEMENT, DEVELOP SKILLS AND ULTIMATELY IMPROVE LEARNING OUTCOMES FOR ALL TYPES OF STUDENTS
SN - 978-84-608-8860-4/2340-1117
DO - 10.21125/edulearn.2016.1425
PY - 2016
Y1 - 4-6 July, 2016
CI - Barcelona, Spain
JO - 8th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
JA - EDULEARN16 Proceedings
SP - 2140
EP - 2147
ER -
J. Playfoot (2016) EXPLORING THE ROLE OF GAMIFICATION WITHIN STEM TEACHING AS A MECHANISM TO PROMOTE STUDENT ENGAGEMENT, DEVELOP SKILLS AND ULTIMATELY IMPROVE LEARNING OUTCOMES FOR ALL TYPES OF STUDENTS, EDULEARN16 Proceedings, pp. 2140-2147.
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