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Disco 2013: Selay Arkun - Evaluation of Draw Something App in Educational perspective


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Vocabulary is considered to be one of the most important components for learning a foreign language. Research suggests that educational games could be used for vocabulary learning. In the literature, there are cases of playing Pictionary, a word guessing game, as a classroom activity to learn new vocabulary. Draw Something is an online and collaborative game in English, similar to Pictionary. It is a mobile application which is played in pairs with players trying to guess the word from their partner’s drawings. The purpose of this study is to evaluate Draw Something in an educational games perspective. This research is based on a questionnaire focusing on players’ experiences of vocabulary learning while playing Draw Something. The data is collected from players who are not native English speakers. Results show that 44 out of 52 (85%) players have learned new vocabulary by playing Draw Something. Players use a variety of strategies to learn the meaning of an unknown word; using a dictionary, using a translator, asking someone, and using cheating application developed for Draw Something. With some additions to strengthen the educational features; a vocabulary building game similar to Draw Something could be developed.

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Disco 2013: Selay Arkun - Evaluation of Draw Something App in Educational perspective

  1. 1. EVALUATION OF DRAW SOMETHING APP IN AN EDUCATIONAL PERSPECTIVE Selay ARKÜN KOCADERE, Ph. D. Hacettepe University (Ankara / Turkey) Departmant of Computer Education and Instructional Technology
  2. 2. Vocabulary Learning • Vocabulary is one of the most important components for learning a foreign language. • Learners perceive vocabulary learning as boring, especially digital natives who grew up in the digital age.
  3. 3. Educational Games • Research has shown the games’ affect on motivation and it’s support on learning. • Language games can provide competition and competition enhances effective learning. • Educational games make language learning more entertaining. • Retention of the vocabulary which is learned by games are longer.
  4. 4. Pictionary • Pictionary is a word guessing game, which is played with teams with players trying to find given words from their teammates' drawings.
  5. 5. Pictionary is often highlighted in the literature as a classroom activity for vocabulary.
  6. 6. Mobile Applications • With recent technological developments, the use of mobile technologies in education has increased. • Mobile applications offer many practical ways in language learning . • For example; learners retrieve more words in online vocabulary games than face-to-face lessons.
  7. 7. Draw Something • Draw Something is an online and collaborative game in English, similar to Pictionary. • It is a mobile app which is played in pairs with players trying to guess the word from their partner’s drawings.
  8. 8. • Two players take turns in drawing. • Players who form these pairs are not opponents, they are team players.
  9. 9. • When one guesses the other’s drawing, they both earn coins.
  10. 10. • Application gives three random words to draw, which is ranked by difficulty. • Drawer chooses one of the words and draw.
  11. 11. • Then the guesser views the drawing, with blank spaces representing the number of letters in the word, and a selection of scrambled letters, which include all the letters of the word and some extra letters.
  12. 12. • The guesser has unlimited tries to find to word. • Coins allow the players to buy colors for drawing or bombs to eliminate some of the letters.
  13. 13. The purpose of this study • The purpose of this study is to evaluate the Draw Something in an educational games perspective, especially the affects of Draw Something on vocabulary building.
  14. 14. Method • The data is collected from Draw Something players who are not native English speakers. • A total of 52 players, 23 men and 29 women, have participated to the survey. • A questionnaire has been developed for determining the players’ opinions about: ▫ learning vocabulary in English, ▫ mobile applications, ▫ Draw Something game, and ▫ building vocabulary by playing Draw Something.
  15. 15. Mobile Applications • 25 of 52 participants (48%) are using mobile applications for vocabulary learning. • 4 types of apps have been identified that players use for vocabulary learning such as ▫ dictionaries, ▫ translators, ▫ vocabulary building applications, ▫ games. Findings
  16. 16. Draw Something as vocabulary game • Players defined Draw Something as one of the vocabulary learning games. • The other games highlighted were ▫ Scrabble, ▫ Words with Friends ▫ Letter Press
  17. 17. Learning games or not? • Some of the participants play commercial games as educational games for vocabulary building. • 46 participants (88%) stated that they prefer learning vocabulary through games. prefer learning vocabulary through games 88%
  18. 18. Average play count • Participants’ average play count of Draw Something is 56 times a week. • It can be interpreted as players spend a lot of time with Draw Something. times a week 56
  19. 19. Participants defined Draw Something as entertaining 46 participants (88%) addictive 18 participants (35%) instructional 17 participants (33%) boring / waste of time 5 participants (10%)
  20. 20. Vocabulary Building • 44 participants (85%) stated that they learn new words while they are playing Draw Something. • When players face an unknown word in the game, all of them try to learn the meaning. learn new words 85%
  21. 21. How they learn new words? • They all have their own strategies, some of them use more than one strategy; ▫ 43 of them (83%) use search engines like Google; ▫ 42 of them (81%) use dictionaries; ▫ 37 of them (71%) learn from someone; ▫ 7 of them (13%) learn from Draw Something cheating applications. • All of the participants use at least one of these ways to learn the unknown word.
  22. 22. Conclusion & Suggestions • Draw Something seems to be an effective tool for building vocabulary for learners of English as a second language. • In this context, a game, which focuses vocabulary learning could be developed similar to Draw Something.
  23. 23. Conclusion & Suggestions • A dictionary could be embedded to this game, and unknown words could be saved for repetition. • There could be themes for words and words could be chosen from the curriculum.
  24. 24. Conclusion & Suggestions • Commercial games which were mentioned as vocabulary games, could be analyzed for understanding the dynamics of learning vocabulary through games. • It is important that not to unbalance the dynamics of the game and to develop educational game like this commercial game. • Educational games, just like commercial games, could be developed to support vocabulary building.
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