Effect of Computer Technology to the Academic Study of the Students Essay

I. Introduction:

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In today’s modern times, computer technology has become a vital part of our life. It helps us to have an easier life. In this competing world, the students should have to learn a lot when it comes to education. Everything cannot be taught by a teacher or in school. To face big challenges in life, students take up extra learning which can be done through computers. These computers can be used for their personal or recreational activities like listening to music, watching movies or videos, chatting, browsing, playing games and etc. We can express our feelings through it.

The work of the students became easier in searching information they want to learn. Technology Statement of the Problem Game generation is simply thinking differently from the previous generations and their educational needs are different from the previous generations’ (Prensky, 2001). Marc Prensky developed ten cognitive characteristics of game generation children versus previous generations. Game generation children can process information much faster and do parallel processing. However, teachers lecture in a slow manner to ensure students’ understanding. Often the students who play games disrupt the class environment because they get bored.

In that sense, students have changed; however, the teachers have not changed to satisfy the new learner as explained (Prensky, 2001). However, implementing games to educational settings is not that easy. One of the obstacles while using games in schools is the mis-match between the games and the curriculum (McFarlane, Sparrwhowk, & Heald, 2002). There is not much study intending to match educational games with the curriculum and their effects on students’ motivation. It is so obvious that there is a need to conduct more and more research on content related games in the schools and their effects on students’ motivation.

1.3. Purpose of the Study
Motivation is described as “the reasons that explain or justify actions.” (Denis & Jouvelot, p.1, 2005). Since motivation is a key element in education, and in the case of game generation students’ needs are
different, there is need to understand how computer games effects students’ motivation towards courses.

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Aim of this study was to investigate whether motivational effects of computer games are related with gender, computer use and game play or not. Therefore, research question of the study was such:

– Is learner motivation in computer game based learning related to students’ gender, computer use and game playing?
Sub-research questions are as the following:
– In terms of ARCS scores, is there a significant mean difference between girls and boys?
– In terms of ARCS scores, is there a significant mean difference between the three groups of students divided according to their weekly computer use? – In terms of ARCS scores, is there a significant mean difference between the three groups of students divided according to their weekly game playing?
1.4. Significance of the Study
Although many educators discuss the motivational effects of the computer games, there is little empirical study on this issue (Gabrielle, 2003; Klein, & Freitag, 1991). This study seeks motivational effects of an educational computer game on elementary students.

The key element of an individual’s engagement in an activity is motivation (Asgari, 2005). The best educational software will not make sense if the students are not ready to learn. In other words, it is necessary to motivate students to learn in order for making best use of an educational software. This study aims to explain motivational value of educational computer games and the effects of gender, weekly computer use and weekly game playing on motivation.

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1.5. Definitions of Terms
Motivation:
In this study, motivation is defined as the students’ interest to the content of the lesson and and willingness to make use of the materials used in this study which are measured by Instructional Materials Motivation Survey (IMMS).

Educational Game:
Educational game is a sub-category of games and it aims to create a change in players’ knowledge. In this study game or educational game terms refer to games in the computer environment.

Gameplay:
In computer or video games, all the experiences of the a player during the interaction with the game system is called the gameplay. In this study, the “gameplay” terms is used for that purpose. However “game playing” represents students playing the games.

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CHAPTER 2

LITERATURE REVIEW

In order to understand motivational effects of computer games on students, in this chapter, literature about motivation and motivation theories is thoroughly reviewed. Secondly, general meaning of games and computer games are also investigated. Lastly, issues about computer games and learning are reviewed.

2.1. Motivation
2.1.1. What is Motivation?
Motivation is an abstract concept and there is no specific agreement on the definition of the motivation. Motivation neither can be seen nor can be touched. It is not easy to come up with a specific definition of motivation because it can neither be observed nor directly be measured precisely, it can only be inferred from what people provide and do (Wlodkowski, 1999).

Wlodkowski (1986, p.12 as cited in Tuzun 2004) defines motivation “as a word to describe those processes that can (a) arouse and instigate behavior; (b) give direction and purpose to behavior; (c) continue to allow behavior to persist; and (d) lead to choosing or preferring a particular behavior.” In short, motivation is the reasons that explain or justify actions (Denis & Jouvelot, 2005).

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Lumsden (1994) defines students’ motivation as “naturally has to do with students’ desire to participate in the learning process. But, it also concerns the reasons or goals that underlie their involvement or non-involvement in academic activities” (Lumsden, 1994, p.31)

2.1.2. Types / Models of Motivation
2.1.2.1. Hierarchy of Needs
According to Maslow, human beings are animals whose needs effect their behaviors. Satisfied needs do not affect human behaviors; however unsatisfied needs do. These needs have a hierarchical order and human beings are motivated to satisfy preliminarily lower level of needs. (Maslow, 1970) Maslow (1970) categorized five types of needs. These are the physiological needs, the safety needs, the belongingness and love needs, the esteem needs, and the self-actualization needs. These needs are hierarchical and when lower level needs are satisfied other higher level needs pop up.(See Figure 2.1)

The Physiological Needs: The physiological needs are at the bottom of the hierarchy, and they include physiological needs of the body such as eating, drinking, sleeping, and having sex. These physiological needs are the most powerful over the other needs that are when a person lacks food, safety, love and esteem would most probably look for food much more strongly than other upper needs.

Figure 2. 1. Diagram of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs (by Finkelstein, J.)

The Safety Needs: If physiological needs are satisfied, there then new set of needs emerges, which can be categorized as the safety needs including security; stability; dependency; protection; freedom for fear, from anxiety and chaos; need for structure, order, law, limits; strength in the protector; and so on. The Belongingness and Love Needs: When the first two needs are satisfied, then the belongingness and love needs emerge. People feel the absence of friends, or wife or children at this level. They want to be a part of groups such as a family, a group of friends and even a social class.

The Esteem Needs: The esteem needs are categorized in two sets: the first one is the desire for strength, achievement, adequacy, mastery and competence, confidence in the face of the world, and for independence and freedom. The second one is called the desire for reputation or prestige (defining it as respect of 8 esteem from other people), status, fame and glory, dominance, recognition, attention, importance, dignity or appreciation.

The Self-Actualization Needs: When all level needs are gratified, then self-actualization need emerges; the tendency for becoming what person wants to be. These needs may vary from person to person; some wants to be a painter, painting pictures, some wants to be a basketball player (Maslow, 1970

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