Title: Let's play together: the design and evaluation of a collaborative, pro-social game for preschool children

Authors: Lynne Humphries

Addresses: University of Sunderland, The Sir Tom Cowies Campus at St. Peters, Sunderland, SR6 0DD, UK

Abstract: This study designed an interactive game for preschool children based on the basic social skill of emotion recognition. Ninety-five preschool children from three schools played two interactive games: a especially designed emotion game and a control game for a touch screen device. The increase in scores in recognising the emotion faces from pre-test to post-test is significant for girls when playing the emotion game, with especially large increases in scores from girls from the most deprived school. The boys scored higher for collaborative play and also scored significantly higher than girls at recognising anger but girls were better at recognising fear. Qualitative analysis using the Talk Taken Down technique showed more egocentric than social dialogue but also more non-verbal expressions of cooperation and enjoyment than verbal interaction with the game. The study concludes by suggesting seven design considerations for designing prosocial, collaborative games.

Keywords: collaborative games; emotion recognition; prosocial games; user-centred design; game design; game evaluation; preschool children; social skills; interactive games; touchscreen devices; gender; collaboration.

DOI: 10.1504/IJCEELL.2016.076009

International Journal of Continuing Engineering Education and Life-Long Learning, 2016 Vol.26 No.2, pp.240 - 258

Received: 24 Jun 2015
Accepted: 27 Jul 2015

Published online: 21 Apr 2016 *

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