escape the room web games as a teaching method brian czymbor and dennis hillebrand n.
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Escape the Room: Web Games as a Teaching Method Brian Czymbor and Dennis Hillebrand. Results 67.74% of the students have never gotten in contact with computer games as a teaching method Those who did, mostly came in contact with computer games in physics, geography and computer science classes.

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escape the room web games as a teaching method brian czymbor and dennis hillebrand
Escape the Room: Web Games as a Teaching MethodBrian Czymbor and Dennis Hillebrand
  • Results
  • 67.74% of the students have never gotten in contact with computer games as a teaching method
  • Those who did, mostly came in contact with computer games in physics, geography and computer science classes

Introduction

Computer games are often overlooked as a teaching method

A study that investigated why teachers are not using games more often found limiting factors, among them lack of supporting material and limited budgets (cf. Baek 2008)

However, literature proposing teaching methods including computergamesdoesexist (e.g. “Digital play: computer games and language aims” by Mawer and Stanley)

Little is known about the effectiveness of these methods in the classroom

 Research question: How are free web based games received by students, especially in terms of motivation and how great is the learning effect?

Hypotheses:

Students receive the method positively and are highly motivated to learn English by playing computer games even in their free time

Computer games support the learning effect without the students being aware of it

Method

The research was conducted in a 7th grade class with 31 students

Materials: 1 laptop / computer with internet access and 1 projector

A modified version of the method “I’m a student” from Digital Play was used in class with an Escape the room game1(cf. Mawer et al. 2011: 79). Steps:

  • One student comes to the front and operates the computer
  • Other students raise their hands and give instructions on how to proceed within the game
  • Student at the computer carries out the instructions

Afterwards, the students had to fill out a questionnaire with 6 questions on motivation and learning effect  Total research time: 20 minutes

1Escape the room game: The goal is to escape from a locked room. In order to do so, one clicks on various items in the room to get hints or use them to unlock the door (See picture in the top right).

High willingness to learn English with computer games, even at home

The great majority of the students raised their hand at least one time during the method

Those who did not specify a number still raised their hands during the method

One student did not raise his/her hand, the reason being he/she did not want to say anything

Conclusions / Discussion

Based on the results of the questionnaire,

  • the students seem to be quite motivated to learn English with computer games
  • the level of participation also suggests a fairly high motivation of the students

 hypothesis 1 seems to be valid

  • 83.87% of the students learned new vocabulary, although they did not know that it was part of the method
  • the willingness to learn at home on their own implies an intrinsic motivation, which supposedly leads to better learning results (cf. Gehring2010: 78)

 hypothesis 2 seems to be valid

The limiting factors claimed by Baek (see introduction) were not a great issue when applying the method, since

  • supporting material was found easily (i.e. Digital Play)
  • the game is free and web based. Therefore, no budget had to be used

Comments by students:

  • “Ich finde die Idee super, weil es Spaß macht und man lernen kann. Ich würde vielleicht noch andere Spiele spielen.”
  • “Es war gut, aber für die 7. Klasse war es mir ein bisschen zu simpel.”
  • “So ist der Unterricht spaßiger. Es ist eine schöne Abwechslung mal was mit dem Computer im Unterricht zu machen.”

It is hard to please everyone, but overall the students find it to be a fun method that contributes to the diversity in the classroom

Bibliography

Baek, Y.K. (2008), ‘’What hinders teachers in using computer and video games in the classroom? Exploring factors inhibiting the uptake of computer and video games’’, CyberPsychology & Behavior 11, 665–671.

Gehring, Wolfgang (2010),Englische Fachdidaktik: Theorien, Praxis, Forschendes Lernen. Berlin: Erich Schmidt Verlag.

Mawer, Kyle and Graham Stanley (2011), Digital play: computer games and language aims. Peaslake, Surrey: Delta Publishing.

Overall, the method is marked positively

Most students learned new vocabulary

The students did not know that they were going to be asked about vocabulary learned during the method