Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Middle-Secondary Education and Instructional Technology

First Advisor

Iman Chahine

Second Advisor

Joseph Feinberg

Third Advisor

Kadir Demir

Fourth Advisor

Mandy Swygart-Hobaugh


The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of using the mathematical simulation games of DragonBox on preservice middle-level teachers’ mathematics teaching efficacy. The study employed an embedded, exploratory case study design using mixed methods techniques. The study comprised of 33 preservice middle-level mathematics teachers enrolled in a course designed to prepare middle childhood educators to teach mathematics in urban, suburban or culturally diverse middle school classrooms. The purpose of the course was also to provide current and future middle school teachers with the mathematics content, essential concepts, methodology, activities, and resources to both learn and teach mathematics in grades 4-8. Quantitative and Qualitative data were collected using five instruments: Mathematics Teaching Self-Efficacy Scale (MTSES) (Ryang, 2010), researcher’s journal, observation logs, interview protocols and artifacts. Quantitative data analysis was conducted using Wilcoxon Signed-Rank nonparametric test and reliability measure. The qualitative data were analyzed using Lichtman’s (2013) six-step coding protocol through Dedoose’s (2017) web application. The units of analysis for the qualitative data consisted of episodes where the preservice mathematics teachers engage with DragonBox gaming environment. Results of the Wilcoxon Signed-Rank test showed no statistical significance (at p =.216) in the MTSES posttest median score compared to the MTSES pretest median score, which indicated no change in the level of mathematics teaching efficacy.

Six themes emerged as a result of qualitative data analysis related to teacher perceptions and factors associated with teaching middle-level mathematics using DragonBox. The data gathered was triangulated from the qualitative data. Through the themes, participants indicated they perceived the use of DragonBox as a learning tool, differentiate way to engage future students, and goal-directed learning tool that still relied heavily on teacher support. Participants also expressed that conceptual understandings and careful planning were needed to connect with a highly technology-driven society. The themes that transpired from the triangulation of qualitative data and the quantitative data was reviewed through the lens of the causal model of triadic reciprocal causation.

Overall, this study showed that upon engaging with DragonBox gaming environment, preservice teachers had a more positive perception of the usefulness of DragonBox in teaching middle-level mathematics.