Do you want to know about the study of games and education? The following article explains the study about the games-based teaching methods, carried out in an urban minority community in the developing country of Brazil. This study describes how an innovative nontechnical game, ‘Guess and Tell’, was employed as a major source of learning basic concepts of ‘Modes and Mean’ in grade eight children from a low-income family in the slums of Rio. The study also describes the game’s application in the classroom and at home and the social benefits which resulted from the use of the game in the classroom. It was concluded that Guessing and Tell had a positive effect on the academic performance of grade eight students and showed an interest in mathematics and increased vocabulary scores.
The study was carried out by the University of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, using a sample of thirty-eight children from the Rio slums who had demonstrated a lack of interest in science, math, and other subjects at both the school and at home. These children were randomly assigned to play a computer game, ‘Guess and Tell’. The game was developed for children from the Rio slum to supplement a regular classroom activity, ‘Caviar’ (Cuban cigars), to which all the children were then added. While playing the game the children were shown photographs of basic shapes, colors, and numbers. There were three kinds of ‘cards’ in the game: triangular, diamond, and square.
Each child was then given the card and asked to guess the color, shape, and number of the card, by using only his/her head. Once the child guessed correctly, he/she would win a prize, usually small cash or an item of everyday need. If the child won a prize he/she would be rewarded with a hug, kiss, or a glass of juice. If they won an item they requested, such as a television, the treat would be given to them and they would be shown how to use it. This was playing a computer game, the children in the slum did not have access to while attending school.
The study found that children who played this game on a regular basis had improved mathematical skills. Furthermore, those who played the game improved their verbal and non-verbal communication skills, were more confident when speaking to peers, and showed increased academic knowledge. Those who played a lot of games also reported that their performance in school was better than those who did not. The educational advantages of the game study are valuable in setting up interesting activities for school children to do. They will learn a lot by trying to solve the problems that they see being presented to them.
Many children spend a lot of time imagining what they might look like if they were a certain size, color, food, or item. By playing ‘Guess and Tell’, children get into the habit of thinking about what they could be ‘guessing’. By having their imagination run wild with ‘guesses’, they develop and enhance their critical thinking skills.
Children who play ‘Guess and Tell’ tend to use a ‘mental switchboard’ when making their guesses. This is because the game requires them to link two separate thoughts, which are often difficult to do. This linking of the two thoughts allows them to access a different part of their brain that would not otherwise be used to solve problems. In turn, the increased concentration and increased speed in which they solve problems increase their chances of remembering what they have previously learned.
These results show that children do indeed benefit from playing ‘Guess and Tell’. Not only do they get an entertaining activity that is engaging; they are also learning through the use of associative means. This study shows that children’s ability to learn comes through association. Associative learning relies on repeated, controlled, and focused exposures to specific things in order to make the associations between these things.
The next step for researchers is to study games in the educational setting. This includes how gameplay affects spatial abilities in the long term. Other research has shown that there are connections between gameplay and reading, in that players tend to perform better in settings that encourage reading. Future work may also shed light on why certain games, such as Tetris, are particularly beneficial in educating children. Researchers may need to further explore the subject to establish how gameplay influences cognitive development.