By Laura Benton (UCL Knowledge Lab)
During the 2019 summer term the UCL team has been working with Year 1 pupils (aged 5-6 years) and struggling readers in Years 4-6 (aged 8-11 years) across four different London primary schools to evaluate the benefits of particular design features with our game and reader apps. The data collected during these research studies will help us to better understand how the technology can support different groups of children in their reading development and also to guide the development of the teacher training program that we will run as part of our 2019/20 wider pilot study.
Our game study explored how the children used the in-game feedback we had designed within our Navigo game to recover from errors and if this varied depending on their level of prior knowledge and/or the particular feedback design. The children participated in 3-4 game play sessions. During the first three sessions the children revised split digraphs, blending letters, comparatives/superlatives as well as some specific prefix and suffix types. The focus depended on children’s age. They then played 4 different games related to these topics. During the final session, we asked the children questions during their gameplay to find out about their strategies for recovering from errors.
Our reader study explored how the use of in-text highlights (for specific grapheme-phoneme correspondences) supported children’s reading accuracy and/or fluency. The children participated in 3 reader sessions. The first session assessed the children’s non-verbal ability, reading accuracy and reading fluency. During sessions 2 and 3 the children read 4 different texts which incorporated particularly challenging GPCs – some with additional highlighting and other without highlights. We recorded children’s accuracy and speed to find out if the highlights supported either of these skills.
Parts of these studies have already been replicated in Germany, Sweden and Spain, and will continue in Greece after the summer. We are now starting to discuss how we will analyse the data we have collected, ensuring that we follow a consistent approach across countries which will enable us to compare the different groups of children as well as the different languages.