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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)Conference 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.
Keyword [en]
Game Based Learning, Programming, ICT4D, Telecentre
National Category
Information Systems
Research subject
Information Society
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-135420ISBN: 978‐1‐911218‐09‐8OAI: 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: 2016-11-17

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Westin, ThomasMännikkö Barbutiu, Sirkku
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