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Librarians at Utena A. and M. Miskiniai Public Library in Lithuania have launched their new learning game that aims to encourage children to go back to school. The game, called “Iššūkis“ (“the Challenger”), was launched on the 17th of November.
Children come to the library instead of going to school more and more often. Various methods were tried in order to encourage children to go back to school, but as they failed, the library developed a modern approach: a computer game that is linked to the school system.
Librarians seek to strengthen the prevention of non-attendance of school by involving problematic children into the game that motivates them to learn and to attend classes. They want to change the traditional attitude towards the ways of struggling school non-attendance: to progress from compulsion and penalties to the increase of interest and motivation.
Idea was implemented by cooperation of librarians, teachers and competence development company “Prewise”.
The game is based on school curriculum, including school subjects. Librarians report that children are already showing interest in the game. They say:
Gvidas: I liked the game, because teacher will give stickers for it.
Aistė: It‘s interesting even though the same questions repeat. Sometimes you don‘t need to think of the answers anymore.
Kristina: Mostly I liked the tasks with proverbs.
Klaudija: I liked everything. Maybe the Lithuanian language tasks mostly.
The real challenge, according to the library, was to transform a school program that children find boring to a game which would increase their interest and draw their attention, so that they would play in order to get better results and become motivated to attend school. United efforts of librarians, teachers and psychologists realized this approach. The number of children who register and play grows rapidly.
Through virtual fun and competitions, children complete tasks focused on school curriculum, collect points and are able to see their progress on the screen. They have a chance to consult their teacher and by this mean to win extra time for the game and to collect more points. The points they earn become a part of their official mark in school. This is the reason why players are motivated to communicate with teachers who also rate the game favorably:
Žydrė (teacher): Fast rate of the game changes the tasks quite quickly, so children don‘t get bored while doing one. Tasks are interesting and not monotonous. It’s good that questions repeats in the second stage if they are not answered before. By this mean children remember the information better.
Regina (teacher): Many children spend their time playing computer games. „The Challenger“ is an attractive way to get knowledge and to learn. During the play children gain not only more knowledge, but new abilities and attitude as well. Engaging forms of self-estimation (points) and evaluation (stickers and accumulative scores) inspire learning motivation.