THE DEVELOPMENT OF A COMPUTER BASED GAME APPLICATION IN PRIMARY EDUCATION. A CASE STUDY
1 University of Bristol (UNITED KINGDOM)
2 Open University (GREECE)
About this paper:
Appears in: EDULEARN10 Proceedings
Publication year: 2010
Page: 3071 (abstract only)
Conference name: 2nd International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 5-7 July, 2010
Location: Barcelona, Spain
Abstract:This paper describes the integration of a self constructed computer based game application for learning purposes in an educational context. The pros from the use of computer based games at an educational setting have been intensively stressed in the literature. Games have, indeed, been used to serve educational purposes for centuries. Nevertheless, the use of ICT-based games as tools to support a meaningful role in both formal and informal education is something that evolved the last decades. With ICTs development and use there has been a growing body of investment and research in order for our understanding regarding the educational potential of ICT-based games to rise. That happened because it has been argued that through play, the teaching and learning can become more fun so for students to enjoy the process while it is believed that computer based games can support collaboration and encourage communication amongst students and strength participants’ motivation and engagement as they can productively challenge their knowledge and skills abilities.
In this paper a case study research is presented aiming to highlight the attempt of a primary school in Greece to harness computer game applications within the learning process. This can be characterized as a best case scenario for the implementation of such applications, at the specific educational context, not necessarily due to the use of the most novel software and hardware in order to create the ultimate cyber environment for game’s hosting but rather because it reflects how engaged teachers can make a difference in the learning process by introducing new practices and tools that can potentially attract students’ interest, attention and motivation and therefore engage them towards a more effective and enjoyable approach of learning. Additionally, it is worth to acknowledge teachers’ motivation for the creation of the online game application who despite the lack of infrastructure and advanced computer skills knowledge, managed to satisfyingly fulfil the requirements of the project.
The design of this project was based on the premise that teachers would collaboratively contribute in order for game’s content to be created. To analyze, the head teacher of the school along with the teachers collaborated in order for the questionnaires, videos and animations to be produced. The object of the game was to challenge sixth grade’s students’ ability to correctly answer questions that were related with the concepts they were taught during their final year in primary school. The online game is still hosted at school’s online learning platform in order for students to visit at any time. The game included questions from several courses, such as literature, physics, maths and geography. Students were divided into groups and asked to choose the correct answer for the question posed. Prior to this selection, members of each group had to discuss and justify the reasons for their choice. For every successful answer a cartoonized video with the teacher of the class showing his/her enthusiasm was appearing in the screen. Otherwise, an also cartoonized video of the head teacher of the school showing his disappointment was appearing in the screen. This study is based within an interpretivist approach of conducting research aiming to report back findings as they were collected from the interviews conducted with the teachers and students’ observation while they were playing the computer based game.
Keywords: Computer Based Games, Primary Education, CSCL.