Istituto per le Tecnologie Didattiche     
Bottino R. M., Ott M., Tavella M., Benigno V. Can digital Mind Games be Used to Investigate Children's Reasoning Abilities?. In: ECGBL - 4th European Conference on Games Based Learning (Copenhagen, Denmark, 21-22 October 2010). Proceedings, pp. 31 - 39. B. Meyer (ed.). Academic Conferences, 2010.
The paper focuses on the use of digital mind games (also called puzzles or brainteasers) to investigate and assess students' logical and reasoning abilities. It draws on LOGIVALI, a research project whose main objective was that of verifying whether digital mind games can be employed with the aim of understanding and evaluating primary school children's reasoning abilities. Within the project, supported by the Italian Ministry of Education, the LOGIVALI TEST, a norm-referenced test, was designed and produced. In order to perform the validation and standardization of this test, a large- scale in-field experiment, involving more than 50 teachers and 500 primary school students (4th and 5th grades) was carried out. Students, during school hours and under teachers' control, were asked to play individually with five mind games that had been carefully selected among mainstream free and Open Source software products. The choice of the games was made on the basis of some key criteria among which: ease of use (interface and design features); suitability to the target population and to the envisaged educational setting (e.g. level of difficulty - time required); disciplinary competences-independence (e.g. not requiring specific mathematics or language competencies); type of feedback offered during the gaming sessions. Following the playing sessions, students were tested by means of a detailed, custom made, evaluation test aimed at shedding light on the children's actual possession of the reasoning abilities required to solve the games at hand. At the core of the paper the LOGIVAL TEST is described and account is given of the specific abilities investigated in the test and of the methodology adopted to carry out the test validation and standardization. The major results of the project are also proposed, which, basically, account for the suitability of mind games to assess specific relevant reasoning abilities as far as the target population (pupils' age level 8-10) is concerned.
Subject Games-based learning
mind games
reasoning skills
primary education
Technology Enhanced Learning.ital games
Technology enhanced learning

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