Teacher Candidate Responses to Digital Games: 21st-Century Skills Development

Summer 2010

Source: Journal of Research on Technology in Education, Vol. 42, Iss. 4; (Summer 2010), p. 409-425.
(Reviewed by the Portal Team)

The authors conducted a mixed-methods study with undergraduate teacher education students to examine their ability to recognize the motivational factors and 21st-century learning skills associated with digital games.
This article reports reactions of candidates while learning and teaching with digital games.
The authors examined participants' oral and written comments to determine the identification of (a) the motivational factor of digital game-based instruction, and
(b) the embedded 2 IC learning skills.

Strategies for Digital Game Integration

The authors designed a combined strategy that included provision of partnered education faculty, instructor modeling, peer collaboration, and a modified teacher education course offering.
The authors used multiple data collection methods to help increase the validity of data collected and presented (Kay, 2006).

Participants and Setting
The participants in this study were 25 undergraduate secondary teacher education students at a midsized New Jersey private university. The participants were 20-22 age and enrolled in a teacher education course participated in the exploration of digital learning games.
9 participants were male and 16 were female, all in their second year of a four-year teacher education program.
The findings suggest that students in the study were able to detect the learning skills embedded in games.
The majority of participants stated that they felt positive and confident about integrating digital game-based instruction in the curriculum as a result of watching their peers' presentations and teaching students how to play games.


Teacher educators' examination of practice could lead to teaching topics using digital games that offer students meaningful and motivating learning opportunities to develop 2 IC skills. Customized course preparation can provide teacher candidates with a focused opportunity to practice with selected digital game content and explore options for their use.

The design of a digital game module in an existing teacher education course with carefully selected digital games can foster motivation for most candidates who need opportunities to learn with technology in their course work as a way to familiarize themselves and master how to learn and teach using digital games.
A technology-proficient faculty member is needed to guide and assess candidate leadership during the game play, followed by the opportunity to deliver field-based, digital-game-infused lessons.
Furthermore, a willing teacher educator can learn to use and trouble-shoot technology issues in unique ways, and the educational technology faculty member benefits from seeing the effectiveness and problems with implementing a technology application such as digital games with students with a range of skills.


Kay, R. (2006). Evaluating strategies used to incorporate technology into preservice education: A review of the literature. Journal of Research on Technology in Education, 38(4), 383-408.

Updated: Mar. 09, 2011