Practising Arithmetic Using Educational Video Games with an Interpersonal Computer
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Studies show the positive effects that video games can have on student performance and attitude towards learning. In the past few years, strategies have been generated to optimize the use of technological resources with the aim of facilitating widespread adoption of technology in the classroom. Given its low acquisition and maintenance costs, the interpersonal computer allows individual interaction and simultaneous learning with large groups of students. The purpose of this work was to compare arithmetical knowledge acquired by third-grade students through the use of game-based activities and non-game-based activities using an interpersonal computer, with knowledge acquired through the use of traditional paper-and-pencil activities, and to analyze their impact in various socio-cultural contexts. To do this, a quasi-experimental study was conducted with 271 students in three different countries (Brazil, Chile, and Costa Rica), in both rural and urban schools. A set of educational games for practising arithmetic was developed and tested in six schools within these three countries. Results show that there were no significant differences (ANCOVA) in the learning acquired from game-based vs. non-game-based activities. However, both showed a significant difference when compared with the traditional method. Additionally, both groups using the interpersonal computer showed higher levels of student interest than the traditional method group, and these technological methods were seen to be especially effective in increasing learning among weaker students.