Do children learn from playing Angry Birds? A comparative study of 4 and 5 years old
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15 May 2017
Mobile applications and devices are widely used among young children. However, it is only the last few years that researchers have drawn their attention to understanding how mobile technologies affect children's learning and development. The few available studies are mainly focused on examining effects on literacy development with mixed findings. Science learning is one of the domains that is relatively under-explored. This study examined the use of the mobile game application Angry Birds by two groups of children 4 and 5 years old. Data were collected from a range of resources: a) A pre/post learning task designed to examine children's knowledge about projectile motion before and after playing the game. b) A questionnaire with demographics and game preferences. c) Screen-recordings of children's gameplay during the intervention. d) Interviews: Semi-structured individual and group interviews. Evidence from this comparative study revealed significant differences between the two groups of children in terms of game skills and their understanding of projectile motion. Communication instances and interviews revealed that children developed an understanding of cause and effect relationships during gaming, nonetheless this understanding is poorly verbalized and explained. A discrepancy was also observed between game performance and explicit judgement about causal relationships. Implications for educational policy and research will be discussed.