New York, Feb 15: Learning complicated civics concepts can be a cakewalk if these are clubbed with online video games, finds research.
Researchers at Texas-based Baylor University studied the effectiveness of ‘iCivics’ – a free online website that teaches civics concepts using 19 educational games.
More than 250 students played iCivics games for six weeks, twice a week for 30 minutes.
“Students’ scores on a test of civic knowledge significantly improved after playing iCivics for the sample as a whole,” said Brooke Blevins and Karon LeCompte, assistant professors of curriculum and instruction at Baylor’s school of education.
“Students in grades 5 and 8 showed improvement in test scores with eight-grade students scoring nearly five points higher on both,” they added.
Students in fourth grade showed a marked improvement of nearly 10 points, the highest out of all of the grades.
Additionally, Blevins and LeCompte conducted interviews with teachers about their experiences and observations of students playing the games.
“Teachers indicated that their students loved the games and learned without even realising they were learning complex civics concepts,” Blevins explained.
The iCivics games include citizenship and participation (Activate), The Constitution and Bill of Rights (Do I Have a Right, Immigration Nation, Argument Wars), budgeting (People’s Pie) and separation of power (Branches of Power).
The other games are political campaigning (Win the White House), local government (Counties Work), the Executive branch (Executive Command), the Legislative branch (Lawcraft, Represent Me), and the Judicial Branch (We the Jury, Supreme Decision).
Each module has different games to teach the concepts presented in the modules, said the study published in the Journal of Social Studies Research.