Student Reactions

Final Trip:

On our final visit to the school, we had our final design completed. Although the program ran smoothly during the demo day, we had some technical problems getting everything set up at the school. This had a great effect on the kid’s attitude and reaction to the project, at least with the first group. They seemed bored and disengaged while we were setting up and more interested in talking to each other than participating once we had it working. We then had difficulty getting a volunteer to try it out. This was something we had not really encountered thus far. The students in previous visits had always been enthusiastic about our devices. As the other groups came along, they started to warm up to our device, now that it was fully functioning. With each group that came, we got more and more volunteers excited about trying our game, but we still wondered what was making the kids less engaged than before.

For the majority, the students who were excited about volunteering happened to also be the ones who had the most experience with coordinates. They were enthusiastic to show off their knowledge and have the rest of the group watch. I am not sure if it was shyness or inexperience that kept some of the others from volunteering. Some of them even outright said they were horrible at coordinates and did not want to give it a try. After some convincing we were able to get a good number of the apprehensive students to try the game. Unfortunately, this left the louder more rambunctious students time to figure out how to mess around with the game; covering up the sensor, walking in the way, or trying to misdirect the student playing the game. We realized through all of this that when we lost the teamwork aspect of our original device (the marker attached to 4 strings), we then lost the ability for the students to be teaching each other and learning together. There were a few students who did direct and help the kids figure out where to go, and they were very helpful. Unfortunately there were more disruptive and disengaged students then helpful.

The kids who did play really enjoyed it; they were excited and would not want to leave. We intended for them to stop after they got 3 strikes and the game was over but they would almost immediately start a new game so they could keep playing. This may have hindered the whole group environment as well, but was encouraging for our project as a whole. If they kept starting games it was because they were having fun and really wanted to keep playing. In addition, we had some kids move up from one quadrant to four quadrants. They seemed to really enjoy the challenge of more quadrants and it did not take them as long as we thought to figure it out. Overall, once the players understood how to play they really had fun and enjoyed finding the coordinates.

Based on how the individual students responded to the game and how difficult it was to control the other students watching, we might recommend that the game be used more in an at home setting. In addition, it was difficult to find a good space for the Kinect to visualize the player without chairs, or desks, or people getting in the way. We are not saying that it cannot be used in a classroom, but other activities or involvements might be necessary for the other students not playing at that moment. We also know from our past visits that almost every kid in that class had played with a Kinect before, so they have one or know someone who has one at home. They might have more access to the Kinect and could more easily play without the fear of their peers watching them. This is where our dissemination comes into play. By giving anyone on the internet access to our game, it will open up many opportunities for potential users.

 

Previous Visits:

Our final product has been developed based mainly on the feedback from our visits to the school and the feedback from the students during those visits. The following are links to ethnographic descriptions by each member of the group from the previous visits.

Peter Finigan

Julia Wright

Gregory Wilson