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JustificationsConstructionism• Creation of an authentic artifact• “Learning by building”• Programming and game design with...
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AERA 2013 - Refining the use of Homemade PowerPoint Games in a Secondary Science Classroom


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Siko, J. P., & Barbour, M. K., (2013, April). Refining the use of homemade PowerPoint Games in a secondary science classroom. A poster presented at the annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association, San Francisco, CA.

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AERA 2013 - Refining the use of Homemade PowerPoint Games in a Secondary Science Classroom

  1. 1. JustificationsConstructionism• Creation of an authentic artifact• “Learning by building”• Programming and game design with Logo, Scratch, Alice(Papert, 1991; Pepper & Kafai, 2007; Resnick, 2009)Narrative Writing• Science writing in everyday language to reduce „mystique‟(Avraamidou & Osborne, 2009; Prain & Hand, 1996)• Narrative, microtheme and writing-across-curriculum strategieshave shown small, positive effects (Bangert-Drowns, Hurley, &Wilkinson, 2004; Stewart, Myers, & Culley, 2010)Question Writing• Students creating question, determining correct answer andseveral plausible, incorrect alternatives• Practice/Strategy of having students write content questions hasbeen shown to improve performance (Chin & Osborne, 2008;Lotherington & Ronda, 2010; Rosenshine, Meister, & Chapman,1996; Wong, 1985)IntroductionWhile research has often focused on how students learn byplaying games, a separate line of research has examined theeffects of students acting as designers of educational games.The idea of students learning by building an artifact, such as agame, has been called constructionism (Papert, 1991). Kafai(2006) contrasted the instructivist method of using games as away to sweeten learning, where through game design studentsconstruct knowledge while building technological fluencythrough their design decisions.One of the problems associated with game design as aninstructional strategy is the time commitment involved; inaddition to the content, students must learn a programminglanguage as well (Barbour, Thomas, Rauscher, &Rieber, 2010). The teacher may not have the requisite skill toprogram, let alone teach how to program in a computerlanguage. Therefore, researchers have looked at “low-tech”ways to have students create games while still usingcomputers, getting the benefits believed to be associated withconstructionist teaching without the time and resourceallocation. One way teachers can use game design to teach isby using Microsoft PowerPoint as a game design tool. MSPowerPoint is ubiquitous in schools, and while it does not havethe capabilities of many programming languages such asScratch or Alice, it requires little additional instruction beforestudents can begin designing games.Methods3 year design-based research study examining student performance onassessment in Environmental Chemistry (ChemCom) course.• Large, suburban, midwestern high school• School on a trimester system• Students in grades 10-12• Many at-risk, low performingCompare scores on a 40-question multiple choice test in two different units1st iteration – repeat protocol from previous research (game project as reviewexercise in lieu of traditional review guide)2nd iteration – game as unit project (first trimester); game as unit project withmore structure (second trimester)3rd iteration – unit project with emphasis on tying questions to narrativefConclusions, Implications,Future DirectionsFindings• Some changes resulted in statistically significant differences• Subsequent iterations often yielded small gains (better alignment tojustifications; strategies yielded small gains in isolation)• Push for developing higher-order questions and „authentic‟ practices mayhave made comparisons difficult and instrument no longer validFor Practitioners• The project must last throughout the entire unit and not only as a reviewtool• Provide time for instruction on question writing skills• Allow time for revision, editing, and teacher feedback on narratives andquestions• If it can be done outside of the computer lab, do it outside of the computerlab• Create conditions where students are encouraged to integrate thenarrative into the game as much as possible (i.e., avoid “save theprincess” and drill-and-practice games)• Give students the objectives as early as possibleFuture Research• Shift to elementary level, where multiple disciplines can be taught• Examine amount of computational thinking• Expand to programming languages geared toward younger childrenDr. Jason P. SikoFurther ReadingSiko, J.P. (2013). Are they climbing the pyramid? Rating student-generatedquestions in a game design project. Canadian Journal of Learning andTechnology, 39(1). Retrieved from, J. P., & Barbour, M. K. (2013). Game design and homemadePowerPoint games: An examination of the justifications and a review ofthe research. Journal of Educational Multimedia andHypermedia, 22(1), 335-362.Siko, J. P., & Barbour, M. K. (2012). Homemade PowerPoint games: Gamedesign pedagogy aligned to the TPACK framework. Computers in theSchools, 29(4), 339-354.Siko, J., Barbour, M. K., & Toker, S. (2011). Beyond Jeopardy and lectures:Using Microsoft PowerPoint as a game design tool to teach science.Journal of Computers in Mathematics and Science Teaching, 30(3), 303-320.For further informationPlease contact Dr. Jason Siko at or Dr. Michael Barbour the Use of Homemade PowerPoint GamesDr. Michael K. BarbourResults1st Iteration2nd Iteration3rd IterationUnit 1Unit 2Research Questions1. Do students who create homemade PowerPoint gamesperform better on a unit assessment than students who donot?2. Do students who create homemade PowerPoint games as astructured unit project perform better on a unit assessmentthan students who created homemade PowerPoint games inprevious iterations?3. Do students who create homemade PowerPoint games onmultiple occasions perform better on a unit assessment thanstudents who created games once or not at all?ExamplesFigure 1. An example of an introductory slide in a homemade PowerPoint Game.Figure 2. A slide containing the game narrative for a homemade PowerPoint game.Figure 3. A typical question slide in a homemade PowerPoint Game.BibliographyAvraamidou, L., & Osborne, J. (2009). The role of narrative in communicatingscience. International Journal of Science Education, 31(12), 1683-1707.Bangert-Drowns, R. L., Hurley, M., & Wilkinson, B. (2004). The effects of school-based writing-to-learn interventions on academic achievement: A Meta-Analysis.Review of Educational Research, 74(1), 29-58.Barbour, M., Thomas, G., Rauscher, D., & Rieber, L. (2010). Homemade PowerPointgames. In A. Hirumi (Ed.), Playing Games in Schools (pp. 333-347). Washington,DC: International Society for Technology in Education.Chin, C., & Osborne, J. (2008). Students questions: a potential resource for teachingand learning science. Studies in science education, 44(1), 1-39.Kafai, Y. (2006). Playing and Making Games for Learning: Instructionist andConstructionist Perspectives for Game Studies. Games and Culture, 1(1), 36-40.Lotherington, H., & Ronda, N. S. (2010). Gaming geography: Educational games andliteracy development in the Grade 4 classroom. Canadian Journal of Learningand Technology, 35(3).Papert, S. (1991). Situating constructionism. In I. Harel & S. Papert (Eds.),Constructionism. Norwood, NJ: Ablex.Peppler, K. A., & Kafai, Y. (2007). From SuperGoo to Scratch: exploring creativedigital media production in informal learning. Learning, media and technology,32(2), 149-166. doi: 10.1080/17439880701343337Prain, V., & Hand, B. (1996). Writing for learning in secondary science: Rethinkingpractices. Teaching and teacher education, 12(6), 609.Resnick, M. (2009). Scratch programming for all. Communications of the ACM,52(11), 60. doi: 10.1145/1592761.1592779Rosenshine, B., Meister, C., & Chapman, S. (1996). Teaching students to generatequestions: A review of the intervention studies. Review of Educational Research,66(2), 181-221.Stewart, T., Myers, A., & Culley, M. (2010). Enhanced learning and retention through"Writing to Learn" in the psychology classroom. Teaching of Psychology, 37(1),46-49.Wong, B. Y. (1985). Self-questioning instructional research: A review. Review ofEducational Research, 55(2), 227-268.• As a review tool, thegames are “as good as”traditional review guides.• Students fared onlyslightly better withpractice.• When implemented asan unstructuredproject, studentsperformed worse thancontrol.• When layers of structurewere added to theproject, studentsperformed significantlybetter than the control.• Students performedbetter with practice.• Over the course of thethree iterations, eachchange usually resultedin small gains.• When students wereasked to create strongties between thequestions and thenarrative, as well asbeing given guidelineson the scope of thestory, studentsperformed slightly betterin one unit andsignificantly better in thesecond unit.