Mete Akcaoglu, Ph.D.

Georgia Southern University

I am an associate professor of Instructional Technology at Georgia Southern University, Leadership, Technology, and Human Development Department.

My research focuses on designing innovative and technology-rich learning environments to teach young children important higher-order thinking skills. An example of this work is Game Design and Learning (GDL) courses that I initiated and ran in both the US and Istanbul, Turkey. The results of this work can be found on the publications page

Currently, I am teaching Educational Psychology and Instructional Technology courses at the online Instructional Technology master's program at Georgia Southern University.

Current Research

NSF Award #2027948

Project GAME: Developing and Piloting a Game Design-Based Computer Science Curriculum

August 15, 2020 - July 31, 2022 (Estimated)

Awarded Amount to Date: $299,895.00

Centered on teaching game-design and computer programming using industry-standard game-development software (Unity 3D), the project aims to create and implement a middle school computer science (CS) curriculum. The project will involve teacher professional development (PD), a collaboration between teachers and researchers to co-develop a curriculum, and research and evaluation to understand the outcomes from the design and implementation efforts. The project will take place in low socioeconomic status and underserved middle schools, which are fraught with issues when it comes to teaching CS (e.g., lack of high-quality PD and teachers) in addition to serving high-need students underrepresented in the CS workforce. Building on the appeal of game design as an attractive CS context for diverse populations, and the pedagogical approaches guiding the curriculum design, the project will address the needs of the underserved students in learning CS, helping overcome representation issues in CS.

Research and evaluation will be conducted on the (a) curriculum development, (b) teacher PD and professional learning communities (PLC), and (c) curriculum implementation processes. First, the curriculum will be built on previously established theoretical and practical frameworks and will be co-created with teachers. Unique to this project, however, game-design software used in industry will be used instead of block-based tools. This will help establish direct real-life relevance and reusable (syntactic) knowledge. The knowledge gained from this design and implementation will inform future game-design efforts in using more advanced software with industry and real-life acceptance and transferability. Second, data will be collected to examine the effectiveness of the hybrid, ongoing PD, and PLC efforts, and inform future CS professional learning opportunities that are similarly extensive, structured, and job-embedded. Third, data will be collected from students and teachers to understand the interaction among the design, teacher PD, and curriculum implementation toward creating an understanding of how the theories and design lead to CS and pedagogical content knowledge of CS during the implementation of the curriculum. Factors contributing to (or limiting) the curriculum?s use, and participation of underserved populations in CS activities will be the core of the analyses. Data will be collected to examine CS knowledge and motivation development of teachers and students by analyzing data from surveys, interviews, student games, reflections, student-student conversations, and classroom videos on teacher-student interactions. This project is funded by the CS for All program.