Differentiation Techniques and their Effectiveness for Video Game Art & Design Lectures in Higher Education

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Abstract

In video games higher education, lecturers are often presented with a student cohort that represents a broad range of ability levels. Teaching such groups can be a challenge, as it is easy to under or over stretch students on the extremes of the ability spectrum. Differentiation is a methodology and teaching philosophy in which the goal is not to raise each student to a set level, but rather to ensure that each student improves as much as they are individually capable. While there has been much written on the subject of differentiation techniques in a school level and further education context, there is little in terms of differentiation literature in video games higher education context. Using the principles of Action Research, three differentiation techniques were employed across six lectures, with a total of 38 student interviews being conducted after the lessons concluded. These were then critically analysed in conjunction with self-refection from the lecturer. The results determined that all three techniques had individual strengths and weaknesses- and are therefore appropriate in different situations. A particularly promising technique was the “Choice of Task”, where students were able to select from a short list of tasks designed to provide them with varying levels of challenge, allowing them to self-manage their learning. The technique shows potential to be very effective within a video games higher education context.
Original languageEnglish
JournalThe Computer Games Journal
Publication statusIn preparation - 2019

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title = "Differentiation Techniques and their Effectiveness for Video Game Art & Design Lectures in Higher Education",
abstract = "In video games higher education, lecturers are often presented with a student cohort that represents a broad range of ability levels. Teaching such groups can be a challenge, as it is easy to under or over stretch students on the extremes of the ability spectrum. Differentiation is a methodology and teaching philosophy in which the goal is not to raise each student to a set level, but rather to ensure that each student improves as much as they are individually capable. While there has been much written on the subject of differentiation techniques in a school level and further education context, there is little in terms of differentiation literature in video games higher education context. Using the principles of Action Research, three differentiation techniques were employed across six lectures, with a total of 38 student interviews being conducted after the lessons concluded. These were then critically analysed in conjunction with self-refection from the lecturer. The results determined that all three techniques had individual strengths and weaknesses- and are therefore appropriate in different situations. A particularly promising technique was the “Choice of Task”, where students were able to select from a short list of tasks designed to provide them with varying levels of challenge, allowing them to self-manage their learning. The technique shows potential to be very effective within a video games higher education context.",
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N2 - In video games higher education, lecturers are often presented with a student cohort that represents a broad range of ability levels. Teaching such groups can be a challenge, as it is easy to under or over stretch students on the extremes of the ability spectrum. Differentiation is a methodology and teaching philosophy in which the goal is not to raise each student to a set level, but rather to ensure that each student improves as much as they are individually capable. While there has been much written on the subject of differentiation techniques in a school level and further education context, there is little in terms of differentiation literature in video games higher education context. Using the principles of Action Research, three differentiation techniques were employed across six lectures, with a total of 38 student interviews being conducted after the lessons concluded. These were then critically analysed in conjunction with self-refection from the lecturer. The results determined that all three techniques had individual strengths and weaknesses- and are therefore appropriate in different situations. A particularly promising technique was the “Choice of Task”, where students were able to select from a short list of tasks designed to provide them with varying levels of challenge, allowing them to self-manage their learning. The technique shows potential to be very effective within a video games higher education context.

AB - In video games higher education, lecturers are often presented with a student cohort that represents a broad range of ability levels. Teaching such groups can be a challenge, as it is easy to under or over stretch students on the extremes of the ability spectrum. Differentiation is a methodology and teaching philosophy in which the goal is not to raise each student to a set level, but rather to ensure that each student improves as much as they are individually capable. While there has been much written on the subject of differentiation techniques in a school level and further education context, there is little in terms of differentiation literature in video games higher education context. Using the principles of Action Research, three differentiation techniques were employed across six lectures, with a total of 38 student interviews being conducted after the lessons concluded. These were then critically analysed in conjunction with self-refection from the lecturer. The results determined that all three techniques had individual strengths and weaknesses- and are therefore appropriate in different situations. A particularly promising technique was the “Choice of Task”, where students were able to select from a short list of tasks designed to provide them with varying levels of challenge, allowing them to self-manage their learning. The technique shows potential to be very effective within a video games higher education context.

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