What does literature say about homework?
Homework is a relatively widespread and common educational activity, especially among elementary and high school students. It facilitates both students’ engagement and performance (Hagger et al., 2015; Magalhães et al., 2020). Despite the apparent benefits of assigning homework to students (learning, consolidation, and application of learning contents, better time management in the classroom), it appears to be a tremendous discomfort to students. Trying to make students get their homework done was always a big challenge - not only during the pandemic - faced by teachers and by parents as well.
Therefore, the need to address this issue strongly emerges. Research has shown the effectiveness of gamification techniques in the educational process because they are highly engaging, motivating and thus they enhance learning compared to traditional learning techniques (Domínguez et al., 2013; Hamari et al., 2014). However, adapting educational material and exercises into online educational games for online learning and assessment for each course is a virtually impossible task for teachers and school institutions.
Alleviate students’ reluctance to do homework by developing a gamified environment for organising homework that will use gamification techniques to engage and motivate students to do their homework. Therefore, this approach promotes innovative pedagogies and methods for teaching, learning, and assessment and supports students and teachers to use digital technologies in creative, collaborative, and efficient ways.
- Homework organisation Learners can access the environment with their smartphone or tablet and see the daily list of activities that they must perform to prepare for the next day, ticking the completed ones.
- Engage students from the early stages of development, allowing us to investigate their views and ideas about gamified homework.
- Progress monitoring (for students and teachers). A verification process will be designed for a student not to skip the assignments and declare them untruthfully complete.
Project Result 1: Needs analysis, course selection, gamification features
The goal of the PR1 is to analyse in detail the students’ needs, provide a detailed list of courses that will be gamified during the GameWork project, and describe in detail the gaming features that will be implemented during the project. Two reports will be developed:
- “How students would like to have fun with their homework”, which will combine the literature findings with the students’ views collected from the GameWork schools. This report will also identify the courses selected to be included in the implementation phase (PR3), based on the feedback from the schools.
- “Analysis of the gamification features”, which will document a set of features that would be implemented into the gamified environment, following the feedback from students (Arsakeio, KJGAG, Freixo).
Project Result 2: Development of the environment Alpha, Beta, and Final version
This environment will offer features and functionalities that will be defined in detail in PR1. Such features could be (based on preparation analysis): allowing students to self-evaluate their homework progress, introducing a healthy competition among students (using awards and leader boards), offering rewards to students, allowing teachers to monitor the activities (both progress and accuracy), as well as to modify future homework based on students’ progress.
The main outputs of this PR are: (1) the environment (Alpha, Beta, and Final Version); (2) a technical report for the future content creators that will use the environment after the end of the funding period; (3) three demonstrative videos of the environment for the three roles (student, teacher, creator) that will explain the system features.
Project Result 3: Implementation, Students’ feedback, and Reporting
Following the iterative development of the gamified homework environment, which is the focus of the PR2, in this PR, the GameWork partners will invite students, teachers, and course creators (primarily teachers) into the environment. This PR is the one most related to the impact of the gamified homework environment. The innovative character of this environment will be demonstrated to educators, students, and all types of stakeholders (education providers, local administration), thus having a multiplying effect. The main output of this PR is a report on “Implementation and Students and Teachers’ feedback.” The report will include implementation strategies, success stories, dos and don'ts, best practices, and the results from the environment evaluation. Moreover, this report will focus on cultural differences and will compare results across countries. Due to its nature, this report is expected to be innovative, highly influential, and will probably lead to scientific publications.
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