EFFECTS OF GAME BASED LEARNING ON JUNIOR SECONDARY SCHOOL STUDENT’S ACHIEVEMENT IN MATHEMATICS IN ENUGU EAST LGA ENUGU STATE
Background to the study
Since the inception of formal education in Nigeria, mathematics, in one form or the other, has been placed as a core course in the school curriculum right from nursery level up to the secondary level of the education system. This is in recognition of its immense contribution to an individual’s capacity building and the nation’s advancement in science and technology and overall development. The actualization of the vision 20:2020 hinges on qualitative and functional mathematics education (Gbolagade and Sangoniyi, 2013). These researchers averred the above in a bid to establish the importance of mathematics to Nigerian students.
The value of mathematics to any is not debatable and this is why the supremacy of mathematics over every other subject is extolled by the national policy on Education (FRN, 2004) when it stated that mathematics should be made a core subject at the primary and secondary school levels as earlier mentioned. There is hardly any area of human endeavor devoid of mathematics and its application. Among the present-day application of mathematics is the building of models to eliminate or bound recessions and inflations, selecting a portfolio of stocks, plan industrial capabilities, plan transportation networks, study the nature of competition and the effects of business rivalry, investigate economic growth, population growth and formulate models( Lassa, 2012). Kekere (2008) noted that mathematics is the foundation of any meaningful scientific endeavor and any nation that needs development in science and technology should have strong mathematics for its youths.
Mathematics remains a service provider for all disciplines and it contributes immensely in deciding directions of activities such as economy, banking, industrial functions, research, leadership, legal jurisprudence, engineering, and others too many to mention ( Salman,2005; Odili, 2006; Umar and Aliyu, 2006, Ugwuanyi and Agwagah, 2014). The development of any nation is dependent on its improved mathematics education which establishes bases for technological advancement. Thus, science is the bedrock that provides the springboard for the growth of technology and mathematics is the gate to science (Aguele and Usman, 2007). The pertinent virtue of mathematics in contributing to the development of mankind calls for improved teaching and learning.
Despite its robustness and utilitarian value, mathematics remains one subject in the school curriculum where the majority of learners have shown negative interest and attitude and achieved poorly in internal and external Examinations(Ezeugo and Agwagah, 2000; Unonyang, 2009; Iweka, Onwuka, and Moseri, 2010; WAEC, 2010-2016). The falling standards in mathematics education have become so discussed and researched in recent times (Adetula, 2005; Adeyanji, 2009); indeed the performance in mathematics has become so deplorable all over the country that there is a consensus of opinion about the poor state of secondary school students’ achievement in mathematics (Adebule, 2004; Adesemowo, 2005; Asikhia, 2012). The situation has degenerated to a level that calls for a close look at all the critical factors in teaching and learning mathematics. Improving student attitudes is not an insignificantly frivolous achievement because negative attitudes about mathematics if not changed in schools, may reverberate to the next generation of students as some of the students who in our classes struggle with or even hate mathematics will soon be in the classroom teaching other school students mathematics and passing along the same attitudes. It is imperative, therefore, that these attitudes be changed now. Among such factors are improved instructional techniques such as the use of game-based learning as against the conventional method which is widely used in schools today. Game-based learning is a relatively young concept if compared to the traditional learning procedure and with the interesting novelty of engaging interactivity (Breuer & Bente, 2009).
Over the years, researchers have been mandated with the task of unveiling many of such improved techniques aimed at proffering solution to the problem of poor achievement in mathematics. Even though the problem still persists, there seems to be growing evidence( Galadima and Okogbenin, 2012; Ukpebor and Omole, 2012) that the use of games in instruction can produce better achievement and generate a more favorable attitude in mathematics than the use of the conventional method.
Besides being an emerging research Game-based learning (GBL) has also been widely discussed in the educational sector in the 21st century. There are several studies indicating that game-based learning is not only a motivating educational idea but also a didactic concept that if carefully implemented could be an alternative with better outcomes than with conventional methods (Malone & Lepper 1987; Gee 2003; Prensky 2001). Since achievement is a means of finding out how learners perform in various subjects, the researcher decided to use game-based learning to find out if it will improve student’s performance in mathematics
There are many methods that are familiar; game-based learning is one of such methods. Agwagah (2011) defines a game as “a situation in which two or more participants confront one another in pursuit of certain objectives. From this definition, one may look at a game as an activity involving two or more persons operating under some rules with the objective of winning or payoff. So a game must produce a winner and a loser. They stimulate mathematical thinking and also generate excitement and a spirit of competition. It deals with the use of games in teaching and learning environment. It uses competitive exercises, either pitting the students against each other or getting them to challenge themselves in other to motivate them to learn better.
Today, we are confronted with the reality of the dearth of games in our schools (Agwagah, 2011) in addition to the fact that teachers have deficiencies in the construction and use of games. The issue of updating teachers in the construction and use of game-based learning of mathematics and their popularization in schools presents a huge challenge to mathematics teachers. Plato (Gutek, 2005) maintained that knowledge occurs only in the mind of the person seeking it, and it is the teacher who should create the right environment for such learning. Since there is a dearth of mathematical games in schools, in addition to the challenge posed to the teachers in the construction and use of games, one way of tackling this challenge is to start from the basics of identifying some mathematics concepts in some readily available games and how these concepts can be taught using such games. This attempt will open the eyes of the mathematics teachers to the reality of mathematics in games just as in other endeavors of humanity.
However, since mathematics is practical in nature, it is pertinent to devise games that will give a positive result to the study. It is against the backdrop that the researcher intends to investigate the effect of game-based learning on junior secondary school students’ achievement in mathematics. The study may assist in improving the students’ achievement in mathematics which could enhance their abilities to improve their leadership qualities and service to humanity.
Statement of the problem
Mathematics is the science of patterns and layouts. It is also a universal language written with symbols and shapes that involve information processing( editing, analyzing, interpreting, and sharing), producing, predicting, and solving problem (MEB 2009) but the rate at which students fail mathematics is alarming and has been a bone of contention in the Nigerian Educational system. Some of the reasons for this failure may be a lack of interest from the students, unqualified and non-dedicated teachers in the subject, phobia of the subject by students, and constant changing of mathematics teachers in schools. As a result, the researcher deemed it fit to conduct this study titled ‘Effects of game-based learning on junior secondary school student’s achievement in mathematics. Since games are fun-filled and enjoyable, the researcher picks some games to study and they include geoboard games and ludo or dice games among others. Will these do games bring a turnaround in the achievement of students in mathematics?
Purpose of the study
The purpose of the study is to find out the effects of game-based learning on junior secondary school students’ achievement in mathematics in Enugu East Local Government Area of Enugu state.
Specifically, the study intends:
1. To determine the effects of game-based learning on junior secondary school students’ achievement in mathematics.
2. To find if there will be a difference in male and female student’s achievement in mathematics when using game-based learning.
Scope of the study
This study is restricted to public secondary schools in Enugu East Local Government Area of Enugu state. The study also limited its scope to the effects of game-based learning on junior secondary school students’ achievement in mathematics.
Significance of the study
This study will be of great value to the researcher as it serves as an achievement and reference material.
It will give the government new ideas on things to include in the mathematics curriculum during curriculum innovation.
It will expose the students to better and more interesting ways of learning mathematics which will lead to the development of interest in the subject.
It will enable the teachers to discover a new and improved teaching technique in mathematics which is game-based learning.
The researcher is of the view that this study will enable school authorities to make resources needed for the use of games in teaching mathematics available for better learning of the subject.
The following research questions were formulated to guide the study in order to achieve its objectives
1. What is the difference in the mean achievement score of students taught mathematics with a game-based learning approach and those taught with conventional methods?
2. What is the difference in the mean achievement score of male and female students taught mathematics with a game-based learning approach?
The following hypothesis at a 0.05 level of significance guided the study
1. There is no significant difference between the mean achievement, scores of students taught mathematics with a game-based learning approach and those taught with conventional methods.
2. There is no significant difference between the mean achievement score of male and female students taught mathematics with a game-based learning approach.