Academic journal article Child Study Journal

The Effects of Playing Educational Video Games on Kindergarten Achievement

Academic journal article Child Study Journal

The Effects of Playing Educational Video Games on Kindergarten Achievement

Article excerpt

This study investigated whether kindergarten students who played Sony PlayStation (Lightspan) educational video games learned better than peers who did not play such games. Participants were 47 preschool age children from two classes of an urban school in the northeastern region. A pretest and posttest with control group design was utilized in the study. The experimental group played the games for 40 minutes per day in school for 11 weeks. The Wide Range Achievement Test-R3 was used for measurement. Results from data analyses via ANCOVA indicated that the experimental group gained significantly more than the control group in spelling and decoding areas. No difference was found in the math area.

In recent years, computers have become an increasingly popular learning and playing tool, especially with young children. Some educators believe that enhancing the capability of young children through computer applications can provide a basis for more effective and efficient learning in the formal school setting (Fitch & Sims, 1992). To understand whether and in what aspects the use of computer-related technology benefits young children researchers have been conducting investigations.

The research literature provides some knowledge on the impact of use of computer-related technology on young children's social, psychological, cognitive development, and academic learning. With respect to how young children with/without computer experience view computers, Fitch and Sims (1992) found that those who worked on computers understood it better, viewed it more positively, and related computers to learning more strongly than the group without computer experience did. With a different focus, Williams and Ogletree (1992) studied the gender differences in computer interest and competence in preschool children, and the relationship of these variables to gender role concepts. They found little evidence for the masculine stereotyping of the computer, or for greater male competence or interest.

Some researchers have investigated if minority students can benefit from using computers. Whether at risk minority students can learn to use basic Logo commands was studied by Allen, Watson and Howard (1993). It was found that young minority students from economically deprived background could learn to successfully program Logo when the concepts and command procedures were presented at developmentally appropriate levels. In another study, Emihovich and Miller (1988) examined how minority students' learning styles could be matched with computer instruction, and its effects on their achievement, reflectivity, and self-esteem. The results showed that the Logo minority students outscored the Logo majority students in math achievement.

How well young children handle various computer devices constitutes an important issue to educators, such as: the use of a mouse to control a graphical interface. Crook (1992) studied the tasks that embody the basic skills underlying mouse-based control of a computer interface. The younger children in the study were found to be disadvantaged by having difficulties in repositioning the mouse on the working surface while keeping the screen pointer fixed. No gender related differences were found at any age. In a similar study, King and Alloway (1992) measured the efficiency of young children's use of common input devices and the preferred input device. The mouse was found to be more efficiently used than the joystick was, which in turn was more efficiently used than the keyboard was. There was no significant difference between gender group's interactions with input devices. The findings also indicated that boys selected the computer activity more often than the girls did.

How young children behave in the use of computer-related technology is an important topic in the literature. Wright, Seppy and Yenkin (1992) examined the impact of the use of digitized images on young children. The results indicated that the children replayed the digitized image version more often, and their cognitive focus was stronger on the real animals. …

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