Evaluation of the Application of Collaborative Games: Devorón and Temporal. Evaluación de la aplicación de juegos colaborativos: Devorón y Temporal - PDF

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Please cite the source as: Dávila, G. & Velásquez, A. (2007). Evaluation of the application of collaborative games: Devorón and Temporal. Revista Electrónica de Investigación Educativa, 9 (2). Retrieved

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Please cite the source as: Dávila, G. & Velásquez, A. (2007). Evaluation of the application of collaborative games: Devorón and Temporal. Revista Electrónica de Investigación Educativa, 9 (2). Retrieved month day, year, from: Revista Electrónica de Investigación Educativa Vol. 9, No. 2, 2001 Evaluation of the Application of Collaborative Games: Devorón and Temporal Evaluación de la aplicación de juegos colaborativos: Devorón y Temporal Gianina Dávila Balca Departamento de Educación y Humanidades Universidad Arturo Prat Psje. Peatonal 4, Block B. Depto. 34 Iquique, Iquique, Chile Angela Velásquez Contreras Colegio Academia Iquique Manuel Bulnes 1779, Depto. 301 Iquique, Iquique, Chile (Received: June 21, 2006; accepted for publishing: June 18, 2007) Abstract In this study two collaborative games were evaluated, as a methodological resource for education. The experience was evaluated positively, since father-monitors and professors affirm that the game allows the children to learn values, social and intellectual abilities, specially the vocabulary, and to improve the expression of the language. On the other hand, professors as well as parents think that the participation of the parents helped to improve the effectiveness in the game session, and allowed the parents, to know their children and their necessities better. Key words: Game, collaborative learning, parent participating, teaching methods. Resumen En este estudio se evaluaron dos juegos de carácter colaborativo, como recurso metodológico para la enseñanza. La experiencia fue evaluada positivamente, ya que padres-monitores y profesores afirman que el juego permite en los niños aprender valores, habilidades sociales e intelectuales, especialmente el vocabulario, y mejorar la expresión del lenguaje. Por otra parte, tanto profesores como padres piensan que la participación de estos últimos ayudó a mejorar la efectividad en la sesión de juego, y les permitió conocer mejor a sus hijos y sus necesidades. Palabras clave: Juegos para aprendizaje, aprendizaje cooperativo, participación de los padres, métodos de enseñanza. Introduction The following study is an evaluation of the application of the games Devorón (devourer) and Temporal (storm) in the elementary schools (preschool through fourth grade) of the cities of Iquique and Alto Hospicio in Chile. This study was carried out by the Department of Education and Humanities of the Universidad Arturo Prat at the request of the Soles Foundation (Fundación Soles). 1 The collaborative games Devorón and Temporal were created by the Soles Foundation, sponsored by the Ministry of Education (MINEDUC) of Chile and the United Nations Children s Fund (UNICEF). Their purpose is to promote some of the fundamental transverse objectives (FTO) of the Ministry of Education. These games strengthen: Collaboration, since the players do not compete among themselves, but work together to beat a common opponent, who, according to the game, is either Devorón or Temporal ; teamwork, self esteem and the emotional development of the children, through the formative cards used in the game; they promote dialogue and respect for different opinions, life experiences and cultural differences, because the games encourage the children to reflect and converse about their emotions, their needs and personal interests; language and intellectual development, since the questions on the cards stimulate language development and abstract reasoning in the children; joint action, by encouraging positive feelings in response to the needs of others. The game contributes to an increase and improvement in communication between parents, students and teachers because it aids in understanding the internal world of the children. (Cereceda, 2003, p. 2). Revista Electrónica de Investigación Educativa Vol. 9, No. 2, Devorón is designed for children between the ages of four and seven and Temporal for children between seven and ten years of age. Both are classroom games. The first is played by a group of approximately six children who compete against Devorón (devourer), a character who attempts to eat a basket of vegetables which the children have gradually won by collectively answering questions. The vegetables are classified in four groups, which correspond to the four typical regions of the country: the Central region, South, North and Chiloé. The questions which the children have to answer are related to the customs and languages of these zones. In the same way, during the second game the children compete against Temporal (storm) which threatens to demolish the house which they have been building with pieces that are won by collectively responding to the questions formulated by the person who is the monitor. As a result, in neither of the two games is there any competition between the players. Rather, they must collaborate and work together to beat Devorón or Temporal. During each of the game sessions there is someone who is monitoring, generally a parent who has been invited by a teacher and has received prior training in the rules of the game. The teacher can also act as a monitor in a group. The object of this study is to evaluate the application of the Devorón and Temporal games. The study endeavors to determine the pertinence of the games as well as their quality, modes of use, and impact on the different aspects of the fundamental transverse objectives (FTO). For this purpose, the games were applied in two Chilean cities: Iquique, in three public schools, and in Alto Hospicio, also in a public school. Initially the game was to be applied only at the Kindergarten and fourth grade levels, 2 encompassing approximately 320 students; however, the schools themselves decided to apply the games from the Kindergarten level to fourth grade, including, in some cases, more than two classrooms per grade. The teachers at each of these schools were trained beforehand so that they were familiar with the game and could apply it to their students with the help of parentmonitors. 3 During the last two decades the quality of learning taking place has undergone various evaluations, and it has become apparent that there is a need to review, change and diversify teaching methods and practices so that they are more pertinent to the groups to which they are directed. One of the specific themes which emerge in the pursuit of renewed teaching practices is the use of games, since these are an important resource for working with children. Generally speaking, traditional teaching-learning processes only involve the development of the cognitive area of learning. Games, on the other Revista Electrónica de Investigación Educativa Vol. 9, No. 2, hand, involve the whole being: thoughts, feelings, knowledge and curiosity (Rosas, 1998). Play is the defining activity of the child and her way of knowing the world. It is indispensable for her psychic, intellectual and social growth. It is natural and necessary for her development; it arises as a consequence of the different demands placed on the child by her context and the way in which she adapts to her context by developing her capacities. Through play, children give free rein to their imagination and learn to get along with others. Play also allows them to express their emotions joy, sorrow, anger and their desires: to be a fireman, a ballerina or whatever their imagination conjures. It has a well recognized intrinsic motivational component (Rosas, 1998; Vopel, 2000; Aucounturier and Mendel, 2004). Play is related to the cognitive development of the child. So, to start with, play is sensorimotor and then, later, through games with rules, it fosters the acquisition of secondary symbolization processes; that is to say, language codes. But play cannot or should not be defined only by the child s internal changes. It also can impose tasks which trigger the cognitive development of the individual. Vygotsky (cited in Riviére, 1996), in this vein, introduces the concept of the zone of proximal development, which is defined as those capacities that the child potentially possesses and which can be developed through external mediators. In this manner, play and games, by means of their rules, regulate the actions of the child (even in solitary play), thereby enabling the child to acquire a greater conceptual generality, which is to say, a higher level of abstraction. This process is even more pronounced in collaborative games since actions are not only controlled by self-imposed rules, but also by external rules and social control. Moreover, in a group, toleration of rule-breaking tends to be less on the part of some of the players (Vopel, 2000). I. Method In order to evaluate the games the first application was carried out as a pilot project in six schools in Chile. The results were compared and analyzed, taking into account four control schools. The data that was gathered was obtained from information compiled in logs, and was supplemented through focus groups, one of teachers and another of the parent-monitors. In addition, an experimental element of the evaluation compared video recordings of the groups that had participated in the games and the control groups which had not. Twenty-three observations were carried out, for which performance ranges were established for the teachers, the parent-monitors and the level of learning of the Revista Electrónica de Investigación Educativa Vol. 9, No. 2, children, through surveys which contained different options for each item with Likert scales. For the teachers the following ranges were established: low (1 to 10 points), medium (11 to 23 points) and high (24 to 35 points), corresponding to their capacity to motivate the students, their organization of time and the coherence of the session in relation to the objectives outlined in the pedagogical application log (PAL). The same above-mentioned performance ranges were established for the parentmonitors (low, medium and high) to measure their ability to deepen the children s responses, motivate the participation of all and their level of general preparedness in relation to the game. To determine the impact of the games on the social and cognitive skills of the children, four performance ranges were established: low (1 to 10 points), medium low (11 to 20 points), medium high (21 to 30 points) and high (31 to 40 points). The surveys from the pilot evaluation (Cereceda, 2003) were used as the pedagogical application log (PAL) and the model for the evaluation of each application of the games by the teachers and the parent-monitors. In addition to these analytical tools, a log was employed for an external evaluation by observers 4 who reviewed the performance of the teachers and the parent-monitors as well as any observable learning taking place in the children who participated in the games. An analysis of frequency was performed for both the PAL as well as for the evaluation of each application. In the first case, this permitted the identification of the themes and objectives for which the game had been utilized. In the second case it allowed the researchers to determine the impact which the use of the game had on the children, and, more specifically, to determine which cognitive and social abilities were fostered by the game. During the evaluations for each application open questions were also formulated which were answered by the teachers and parent-monitors. Qualitative analysis was carried out on these questions, which were then categorized, according to the methodology of Grounded Theory. Only the analysis involved in the open coding of said theory was carried out, 5 consisting basically in the conceptualization and categorization of the data, for which a description is given, but it is not taken to the level of relating the different data to each other (Krause, 1992, 1994, 1995). II. Results The following is an explanation of the results that were obtained and analyzed by means of each of the instruments. The results of the pilot application led to the conclusion that the collaborative games Devoron and Temporal contributed significantly to the achievement of Revista Electrónica de Investigación Educativa Vol. 9, No. 2, the planned minimum content (MC) as well as to the fundamental transverse objectives (FTO). It is interesting to note that, in the perception of the teachers and the monitors, the more the game was applied, the greater was the impact on the achievement of the MC and the FTO. According to the parents, their participation as monitors led to their children feeling more supported and more motivated, which in turn has affected their academic performance. Likewise, the teachers report that social relations within the school have also been enhanced through the application of the games. Specifically, thanks to the game, the parent-monitors have been incorporated into the school environment, a relationship of trust has been nurtured between students and teachers and teamwork among the teachers has been fostered, thereby helping to define the FTO that the school would focus on. The game also had a positive impact on the parent-child relationship, encouraging more communication, allowing the parents to get to know their children better, etc. The biggest obstacles that the teachers perceived in the achievement of their objectives were bad behavior on the part of some students and deficiencies in the organization of the game. The biggest challenge the teachers encountered was the lack of time to plan the session (Cereceda, 2003). 2.1 Pedagogical Application Log In the pal the teachers indicate the themes, fundamental transverse objectives (FTO) and the vertical objectives which were most frequently furthered through the games Devorón and Temporal. The choice of themes and objectives were the responsibility of each teacher; in each grade level more than ten sessions of the games were carried out. The teachers were asked to note in the PAL the objective that they were working on during each game session. From the resulting logs (n: 81) the objectives for the elementary grade levels can be summarized as seen in Table I. Table I. Objectives for the game sessions as stated by elementary teachers Subsector Percentage I. Language and communication 39.5% II. Understanding the natural, 25.9% social, & cultural environment III. Mathematics 23.5% IV. Technological education 4.9% V. Physical education 2.5% VI. Artistic education 3.7% Total 100.0% It is clear from Table I that in the majority of the game sessions the subsectors which the teachers had as their objectives were language and communication, understanding the environment and mathematics. The other subsectors were taken into account only minimally during the implementation of the sessions. Revista Electrónica de Investigación Educativa Vol. 9, No. 2, On the other hand, the FTO that were most often considered during the planning were: Ability to work in teams (21.3%), Respect for and appreciation of different ideas (22%), Solidarity and collaboration (12.1%). At the preschool level, the data in the logs obtained (n: 68), was organized as shown in Table II. As can be observed, the objectives most commonly pursued in the application of the games were: logical-mathematical relationships, communication and personal-social development. Tabla II. Objectives for the game sessions as stated by preschool teachers Subsector Percentage I. Logical-mathematical relationships 39.5% II. Communication 25.9% III. Personal-social development 23.5% IV. Understanding the natural and 4.9% social environment Total 100.0% At the preschool level, the most commonly pursued FTO during the applications of the game were: Teamwork (26%) and Knowing, appreciating and respecting other cultures (22.8%). 2.2 Pedagogical evaluation guide The pedagogical evaluation guide refers to questionnaires with closed questions about the principle themes of the study. Of the 173 guides which were collected, from parent-monitors as well as from the teachers, 67.1 % thought that the games promoted the development of intellectual skills. That is to say, that in playing the games the children learned to reason, as well as learning about the importance of teamwork and cooperating. However, 32.9% of the parent-monitors and teachers surveyed felt that the level of learning achieved was no more than average. As far as social skills go, the majority of those surveyed thought that the games allowed the children to express their emotions, listen to others and empathize. Only 10.4% thought that the achievement of these objectives was average. The same was true for communication skills, where it was felt that the game permitted an optimal relationship between parent and teacher and between child and parent, as well as improving language skills and emotional expression. Again, just 9.2% of the respondents were of the opinion that these objectives were only somewhat achieved. The acquisition of values on the part of the children, such as respect, solidarity, tolerance, etc., was one of the results of the game according to 91.3% of those surveyed, whereas just 8.6% felt that there was only a moderate enhancement of said values. Revista Electrónica de Investigación Educativa Vol. 9, No. 2, An explanation of these results is apparent from a more detailed analysis of comments provided by both the teachers and the parent-monitors on a small questionnaire with open questions which was included in the evaluation guide. The questions were as follows: Did you like participating in this activity? Would you participate again? Indicate what you most liked about participating in this activity. Indicate what you least liked about participating in this activity. In your opinion, which elements of the game helped to achieve the FTO in this class? (This was only for the teachers.) A qualitative analysis of the survey responses was carried out, yielding the following categories: Teachers evaluation guide The responses of the teachers were classified in five categories: 1) Participation of the children in the game; 2) Advantages for learning; 3) Advantages for teaching; 4) Participation of the parent-monitors in the applications; and 5) Disadvantages identified in the game or its application. These categories allow for a more detailed evaluation of the games, their advantages, difficulties, disadvantages and pedagogical possibilities: 1) Participation of the children in the game. Initially, the children s participation was hindered by their lack of experience in collaborative work. In the beginning there was confusion, lack of attention or uneven participation on the part of the children. However, after successive applications of the game, it became apparent that the children were learning more about the game, its rules and advantages, as is reflected in the following comments from the teachers: The children wanted to take part constantly, without waiting their turn (teacher 10) Today the children were more fidgety than usual and it was difficult to motivate them (teacher 25) [There was] disorder because it was the first time they participated in this type of game (teacher 1) [There was a] lack of experience in playing the game. Some children were shy in the presence of the parent-monitors and didn t answer the questions (teacher 32) At first the integration and participation of the children was difficult (teacher 9) [It was helpful] to induce the shyest students to participate in the conversation; the extroverted leaders stood out (teacher 22) Knowing the game facilitated the work; the children were very motivated (teacher 33) Revista Electrónica de Investigación Educativa Vol. 9, No. 2, 2) Advantages for learning. According to the teachers, the game offered several advantages inasmuch as it helped the children learn or improved certain capacities and skills; it reinforced and increased their comprehension of the minimum content (MC). One of the
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