About this paper

Appears in:
Pages: 9710-9719
Publication year: 2017
ISBN: 978-84-697-3777-4
ISSN: 2340-1117
doi: 10.21125/edulearn.2017.0837

Conference name: 9th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 3-5 July, 2017
Location: Barcelona, Spain

TABLET APPS TO REPLACE PRIMARY SCHOOL HOMEWORK: A GAMIFICATION AND CONSTRUCTIVIST LEARNING APPROACH

K. Petrova, A. Rahimi

Auckland University of Technology (NEW ZEALAND)
Pen-and-paper school homework is a tested and reliable pedagogical approach. In primary education, it is used as a means to stimulate the development of handwriting skills, enhance subject knowledge, and help children become independent, responsible and successful learners. Prior research and practice show that primary school homework achieves its goals when parents participate in and engaged with their children’s learning. However, parental involvement may become unattainable: despite being aware of the benefits of homework, parents may not have enough time. Supervision by parents may be even counterproductive if parents are not sufficiently competent in the subject area, or use instructional approaches different from those used at school.

Finding a solution to the problem of ensuring effective parental involvement in school homework would bring benefits to many families. This study proposes that using mobile technology it may be feasible to develop a successful alternative to traditional pen-and-paper school homework that helps parents remain involved in their children’s homework, without being too demanding on their time and/or skills. The study’s research question can be formulated as follows: “How to design computer game-based replacement of school homework for young primary school children in order to make it attractive to young students, and less demanding on their parents?”.

Current research findings indicate that educational computer games increase student engagement and help develop thinking and problem solving skills. Therefore, a suitably constructed mobile device-based homework that is designed as a “game to play” rather than as “work to do” may be more enjoyable and easier to accomplish by children, and easier to monitor by parents. Based on this premise, the research question was addressed by designing, developing and evaluating two educational computer games as tablet applications. The applications were meant to replace school homework in English and mathematics assigned to Year 1 and Year 2 students (5- and 6-year old, respectively). A novel approach to support handwriting skill development using a stylus was incorporated in the fabric of the games.

The study followed a design science research methodology drawing on the four constructivist principles of scaffolding, active learning, learning-by-doing, and collaborative learning. The application design requirements were informed by the primary public school curriculum and by relevant findings reported in the research literature. Additional input was sought from experienced primary schoolteachers. Finally, the applications were installed on several tablet devices. These were made available to the families participating in the research who provided feedback in personal interviews. The interview data were interpreted using open descriptive coding and used to evaluate the applications.

The study demonstrates how a constructivist game-based approach to developing tablet equivalents of the curriculum prescribed homework tasks can deal with parental involvement issues. The inherent limitations of the study may be addressed by applying the proposed design and development framework for technology–supported homework to conduct longitudinal and comparative studies in a range of contexts. Further research may ascertain the usefulness and the applicability of the approach and identify its critical success factors, including the design implications of learner gender differences.
@InProceedings{PETROVA2017TAB,
author = {Petrova, K. and Rahimi, A.},
title = {TABLET APPS TO REPLACE PRIMARY SCHOOL HOMEWORK: A GAMIFICATION AND CONSTRUCTIVIST LEARNING APPROACH},
series = {9th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies},
booktitle = {EDULEARN17 Proceedings},
isbn = {978-84-697-3777-4},
issn = {2340-1117},
doi = {10.21125/edulearn.2017.0837},
url = {http://dx.doi.org/10.21125/edulearn.2017.0837},
publisher = {IATED},
location = {Barcelona, Spain},
month = {3-5 July, 2017},
year = {2017},
pages = {9710-9719}}
TY - CONF
AU - K. Petrova AU - A. Rahimi
TI - TABLET APPS TO REPLACE PRIMARY SCHOOL HOMEWORK: A GAMIFICATION AND CONSTRUCTIVIST LEARNING APPROACH
SN - 978-84-697-3777-4/2340-1117
DO - 10.21125/edulearn.2017.0837
PY - 2017
Y1 - 3-5 July, 2017
CI - Barcelona, Spain
JO - 9th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
JA - EDULEARN17 Proceedings
SP - 9710
EP - 9719
ER -
K. Petrova, A. Rahimi (2017) TABLET APPS TO REPLACE PRIMARY SCHOOL HOMEWORK: A GAMIFICATION AND CONSTRUCTIVIST LEARNING APPROACH, EDULEARN17 Proceedings, pp. 9710-9719.
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