Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

Degree Granting Department

Curriculum and Instruction

Major Professor

Michael J. Berson, Ph.D.

Co-Major Professor

Allan Feldman, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Sanghoon Park, Ph.D.

Committee Member

David Rosengrant, Ph.D.


Community of practice, eLearning, PRA model, Professional development, TPACK-G


The switch to distant learning due to the COVID-19 pandemic demanded an immediate adaptation of technology platforms to improve students' online learning. Science teachers were suddenly required to teach their classes virtually with little time and preparation. This breakneck shift to remote learning raised the question of how teachers can provide instruction to their students in the practices of science using virtual technologies. This embedded case study investigates an intervention to support Saudi science teachers facing the unprecedented challenge posed by COVID-19 in teaching the practices of science in the virtual school platform, Madrasati, through the engagement in digital game-based learning professional development [DGBL-PD]. The literature on educational gaming is continuously growing; however, the incorporation of games in science teaching is still a somewhat unexplored study area, especially in the context of e-learning and science education in Saudi Arabia.

The purpose of the study is to understand how teachers' engagement in DGBL-PD leads to developing their game pedagogical content knowledge, GPCK. The study also seeks information regarding teachers' game implementation experiences, roles, obstacles, and needs, to support the usage of digital game-based learning in teaching science. Four high school science teachers were recruited from large school districts in the eastern region of Saudi Arabia participated virtually in DGBL-PD. The DGBL-PD consists of five training sessions during summer 2020 and three community of practice meetings and teachers' action research presentations during fall 2020. Data sources included interviews, audio recordings of the DGBL-PD meetings, classroom observation, and teachers' anonymous questionnaires and products.

The result of this embedded case study shows the promise of integrating DGBL in Saudi science education, according to the teachers, due to the positive impact on improving cognitive and affective learning outcomes, prompting teachers' satisfaction with their teaching practice, and re-shaping teacher-student roles and relationships. Teachers reported encountering logistical barriers, specifically, blind teaching in remote learning and game availability. Findings included the vital role of the DGBL-PD in foster emotional support, mutual cooperation, and GPCK growth among teachers in virtual teaching. The portrait that evolved resulted in the integration model to support and guide teachers' integration of DGBL in the context of science education, the PRA model, that served as both a methodological finding and a tool for analysis. The teachers' pedagogical roles and activities became evident in DGBL integration processes: planning, realization, and assessment. Teachers function various roles in each stage, from planner and organizer to facilitator and evaluator, then self-evaluator, in which continuous professional development with a community of practice in DGBL is crucial. Results suggest changes in the TPACK-G framework content and shape. It also suggests that teachers' educators need to engage with the teachers' daily teaching practice and provide them with professional and emotional support.