Source: Asia-Pacific Journal of Teacher Education, Vol. 43, No. 5, 392–410, 2015
(Reviewed by the Portal Team)
The goal of this study was to explore Early Childhood Education (ECE) pre-service teachers’ perceptions of technological, pedagogical, content knowledge (TPACK) development in the course Instructional Technology and Material Design, which required them to design educational computer games for ECE.
The participants were 21 ECE pre-service teachers enrolled in the course Instructional Technology and Material Design. Two participants were male; the others (n = 19) were female.
The data were collected through focus group interviews, observations, and journals.
The findings reveal that educational game design prompts ECE pre-service teachers to use TPACK together. During the planning phase, pre-service teachers paid attention to young children’s development, curriculum goals, design principles, usability, and characteristics of computer games together.
However, the findings show that participants described initial difficulty designing educational computer games since they had limited technological knowledge (TK), design knowledge (DK), or experience designing educational computer games )TPACK). They had difficulty using PowerPoint and Paint (TK), plus reflecting their ideas into their games (DK; TPACK).
The findings showed that participants compensated for inadequacy in a knowledge domain with help from friends, instructors, or the Internet, in addition to personal efforts to increase knowledge. Moreover, most participants stated that while they controlled their designs, they got friends’ or the instructor’s opinions about designs during each step. With that feedback, their designs became more instructional and appropriate in terms of design principles.
Another important result of the current study is that ECE pre-service teachers thought about the environments in which the educational computer games would be used.
It was found that most participants were satisfied with the educational computer games they designed. They felt their games were attractive, followed design principles, and were appropriate for the target audience and curriculum.
Finally, the author concludes that designing educational technology requires all knowledge domains of TPACK in addition to DK. Moreover, creativity was highly emphasised by the ECE pre-service teachers. This study was an example of designing by learning a constructionism approach to research, and it was designed as a case study.