CONCLUSION (third part)

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Nov 2, 2014 13:11
CONCLUSION (third part)

The results analyzed show playing video games and participating at an online forum as a possible upgrade of the more traditional homework such as readings and assignments.
More complex it will be to analyze data related to each singular skill. How to explain these results? How is it possible a significant difference between these skills? Why do video games implement speaking and listening more than reading and writing?
Regarding listening the analysis will be simple: the game requires to do many listening and the players develop this skill most. Comprehension is made possible by use of repetitions of words, discourse patterns, formula to open and close the narration. Another important factor involved the structure of the narration. It is, in fact, a quite simple narration, easy to follow and composed of four different stages that are always the same.

For the speaking the situation is different. Players-learners don`t use oral communication to play the game. It can hypothesized that structures such as words and discourse patterns that they have learned during the session games had been an important tool to develop oral skills. And that they have used this structure in classroom oral activities and tasks.
Plus, as previous studies indicate, playing video games enhance the willingness to communicate in a second language, and make it both more possible or easier. Moreover secondary data, such as attendance a participation in the classroom, confirmed this hypothesis. Students of the experimental group have average better attendance and participation grades. (A - average in comparison of a B + of the control group)

What about the reading and the writing? Why they didn`t implement these skills as well as the others? Writing in a second language requires a correct use of formality that are not present in any part of the video game. TOEFL test assesses the writing skill on the basis of an academic composition. Morever the composition is an analysis based on a comparison of two academic articles. It is easy to make the inference that video games lack any academic writing structure both formal and content.
Finally there is the reading. The situation can be the same of above. Scientific terms, such as those that are part of academic readings are not part of the video games sections. Therefore, these skills need to be supported in order to help students integrate the four principles language abilities.
But, even if the difference is less marked, there is the same a noteable different in favor of the experimental group. How does it is possible?
There are three factors that made it possible:

1) the speed. TOEFL is a test based on completing task in time. It is not only required to do the reading and the writing but to do it in time. This is a skill that playing video games develop mostly. It is necessary to read quickly information about monsters and dragons in order to defeat them and stay alive. The same speed is necessary when it is fundamental to communicate with another game-player in an other part of the world. In fact only a second more of hesitation and the player could be find more interesting to help another player. Speed is great part of the game.
2) The forum was a great mean to make students-learners to communicate. Even if the language used was not academic language, they had a good pratice of grammar and syntax patterns. They had a chance to use a target language to gather information and to communicate and this is a really effective tool to enhance the writing and reading skills. Communication starts when it is necessary to have a exchange of information. That was what happen to the experimental group. They developed discorsive coherence and cohesion in order to make themselves comprehensible and obtain the necessary information.
3) They shared knowledge not only information. They were able to help each other solve problem caused by the language and sharing is usually an important educational tool. Students more ahead in the learning process can help others to recover.

In order to support these hypothses is helpful take a look to the data available from the onlilne forum. Players-Learners had to write a comment or ask a question one time per week. The data reported that students made 11 comments per week (7 questions, 3 answers, 1 opinon-statement average.) The length of comments was of 90 words average and only two students over 80 wrote only less than three comments per week.
Moreover the questionnaire administered by the experimental group confirmed this data, showing how motivation and willingness to keep studying by means of video games was over the 90%.