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Game Based Learning of Programming in Underprivileged Communities of Sri Lanka
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Computer and Systems Sciences.
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Computer and Systems Sciences.
2016 (English)In: Proceedings of the 10th European Conference on Games Based Learning: The University of the West of Scotland, Paisley, Scotland, 6-7 October 2016 / [ed] Thomas Connolly, Liz Boyle, Academic Conferences Publishing, 2016, 773-780 p.Conference paper, Published paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Game based learning (GBL) has emerged during the last decade in so-called high-income countries with good access to computers, while many low and middle-income countries are starting to explore GBL and its potential in education. For instance, the increased use of smartphones in Sri Lanka provides better opportunities to play games. Furthermore, a first GBL course at the University of Colombo was organised in 2015. In this study, an effort to raise awareness of the various possibilities of ICTs within underprivileged communities of Sri Lanka was made. A free, web-based game for learning programming was used at two different telecentres during three workshops, with three different age groups: 1) 14 students aged 10-18; 2) 19 students aged 8-16; and 3) 18 school leavers aged 15-20. Telecentres are places providing access to computers, Internet and various services. The progress of participants through the game was observed and notes were taken during the workshops, followed up by group interviews, and a survey of all participants. Our findings show that the participants found the game to be fun and of medium difficulty level. They also expressed that they need to learn English better and improve their computer skills to be able to learn more programming. Despite the limited Internet access, limited number of computers, and language barriers, most students and school leavers completed between 10 to 15 puzzles, including programming concepts of commands, conditions and events. The youngest participants (8 years old) completed at least 5 puzzles. From our results we conclude that without prior programming experience, all the participants became motivated to learn more about programming within the 1.5 hours of the workshop with this GBL approach. This indicates that the learning curve of the GBL approach to learn programming is considerably low whereas the motivation to learn through GBL is high. Furthermore, the GBL approach has good potential to raise awareness of learning opportunities at telecentres. Skills in programming games and related ICT skills can be beneficial for the whole community; it may enable further development of services and designs addressing the local needs. In our future work we aim to follow-up through online communication with the participants regarding how they can continue to learn more about programming and other ICT skills.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Academic Conferences Publishing, 2016. 773-780 p.
Series
ECGBL Proceedings, ISSN 2049-0992 ; 2016
Keyword [en]
Game Based Learning, Programming, ICT4D, Telecentre
National Category
Information Systems
Research subject
Computer and Systems Sciences
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-135420ISBN: 9781911218098 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-135420DiVA: diva2:1045204
Conference
The 10th European Conference on Games Based Learning (ECGBL), Paisley, United Kingdom, 6th to 7th October 2016
Available from: 2016-11-08 Created: 2016-11-08 Last updated: 2017-06-22Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Inclusive Digital Socialisation: Designs of Education and Computer Games in a Global Context
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Inclusive Digital Socialisation: Designs of Education and Computer Games in a Global Context
2017 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Digital socialisation is to learn the ways of living online, across national borders, local cultures and societies and has to be inclusive for equal participation. Conditions for this socialisation process are different due to both local and individual limitations. In a high-income country like Sweden, playing computer games are one of the most common practices for digital socialisation among youth online (digital youth), but rarely in school with teachers. Thus, there is limited institutionalised support taking responsibility for the socialisation process online of digital youth. As contrast, in a lower middle-income country like Sri Lanka, telecentres provide holistic community services with free access to computer hardware and sometimes also Internet to bridge an internal digital divide. However, there are still several barriers for inclusive digital socialisation, such as shortage of teachers, infrastructure, accessibility and a language barrier. The problem is that digital youth have to overcome barriers for inclusive digital socialisation, often with limited institutionalised support. Game oriented education (GOE) is a potential approach to bridge these barriers. Thematic questions were: How can environments for inclusive digital socialisation be designed for digital youth who: T1) are gamers that are excluded in school; T2) are living in underprivileged communities; and/or T3) have disabilities and play games? A related thematic main question is: T4) how can education about game accessibility be designed for game developers? Within a design science framework, ethnography showed that GOE with entertainment games enabled gamers excluded in Swedish schools to be included, but could not be sustained by the schools. GOE workshops about programming were a possible way to raise awareness about ICT opportunities at Sri Lankan telecentres. Furthermore, a game prototype for deaf versus blind was demonstrated in workshops within formal education settings in Sweden and Sri Lanka, exploring a design method. Finally, two international online surveys provided data for designing a game accessibility curriculum framework, based upon opinions from researchers and game developers. Conclusions are that GOE may be an environment for inclusive digital socialisation, if it is: 1) sustained in the educational social system; 2) enabled within limits of ICTD; and 3) accessible for digital youth with disabilities. The latter requires: 4) education for game developers. This thesis shows how these requirements may be fulfilled, enabling GOE as a design to achieve inclusive digital socialisation in a global context.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Department of Computer and Systems Sciences, Stockholm University, 2017. 110 p.
Series
Report Series / Department of Computer & Systems Sciences, ISSN 1101-8526 ; 17-003
Keyword
computer games, education, socialisation, inclusion, exclusion, development, accessibility
National Category
Information Systems, Social aspects
Research subject
Computer and Systems Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-141340 (URN)978-91-7649-815-6 (ISBN)978-91-7649-816-3 (ISBN)
Public defence
2017-05-22, Lilla Hörsalen, NOD-huset, Borgarfjordsgatan 12, Kista, 09:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Note

At the time of the doctoral defense, the following paper was unpublished and had a status as follows: Paper 5: Manuscript.

Available from: 2017-04-26 Created: 2017-04-04 Last updated: 2017-04-26Bibliographically approved

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