Ed.D. Dissertations

Date of Award

Winter 12-14-2019

Document Type

Open Access Dissertation

College

College of Education

Department

Education

Degree Name

Doctorate of Education, Ed.D.

Faculty Chair

Brianna Parsons, Ed.D.

Content Specialist

Leslie Loughmiller, Ed.D.

Content Reader

Chad Becker, Ph.D.

Keywords

emotional engagement, extrinsic motivation, gamification, intrinsic motivation, self-efficacy

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to explore how early childhood educators (ECE) experience gamification as a motivational tool. The study was grounded in self-efficacy theory and used the transcendental phenomenological methodology to uncover the lived experiences of the participants. The researcher used questionnaires, journals, and interviews to gather data from respondents. The interview utilized open-ended questions to provide respondents the opportunity to give a detailed account of their shared experiences while operating the gamified technology used in their program. Data was collected from 8 ECE teachers working at a private preschool in a mid-Atlantic state. Participant accounts described a lack of consistency during the onboarding phase when each application was introduced to the teaching staff. The most successful gamified application allowed for regular communication between teaching staff and parents. Participants noted the training application was an asset, as it aligned with participants’ educational and professional goals. The curriculum development application was found to be an unreliable lesson planning tool due to inaccuracies in data tracking. Participants felt the monthly rewards systems did not accurately reflect the work completed by teachers. The ECE teachers preferred a clear indicator of how the technology can be used to improve the lives of their students and positively impact the trajectory of their career. Greater consideration should be taken to ensure the applications provide incentives that are appropriate for the users. More research should be conducted to uncover the methods school leaders employ to determine applications used with in schools.

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