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Impact Assessment Results
Over 1,000 children are playing Utena A. and M. Miskiniai Public Library’s innovative computer learning game, iššūkis (the Challenger), and their school marks are improving.
Concerned about the numbers of children who were not attending school, especially those who preferred to come to the library to play computer games, the library developed a learning game linked to the school curriculum. After a year’s implementation of the Play to Study project, the library conducted impact assessment, surveying children, librarians and teachers.
The project has achieved its goals: teachers report that pupils’ marks are improving; the librarians say there are fewer children in the library during school hours, and the children are queuing up to play the game.
‘It’s interesting. I’m learning and playing at the same time. We try to compete among ourselves and see who knows more. I succeeded in getting better marks at the end of term. When I told my classmates about the game, everybody got interested. Now we go together with friends to play in the library. We also go to consult with teachers,’ said Deividas, a 7th grade student.
News about the game reached the highest levels, and the library earned the praise of Lithuanian Prime Minister Andrius Kubilius. The Ministry of Education Science has agreed to a proposal to expand the game and to implement it in more districts.
Previous project updates:
The project is designed to address a growing problem in Utena. Many school pupils are not attending school, preferring to go to the library instead. The Utena A. and M. Miskiniai Public Library has built partnerships with educational and judicial judicial institutions, and with libraries, to develop an educational tool based on gaming technology. The tool will be aligned with the school curriculum and will help students to gain knowledge and skills related to their school programme. The partnership also agrees that the traditional negative attitude towards pupils who do not attend school, should change. Similarly, they believe the methods of compulsion and punishment are no longer successful and should not be used. Through the game they will motivate pupils with appreciation and encouragement.
Utena, a town with a population of 32,476, is the administrative centre of the Utena district, which has 47,611 inhabitants. The population is declining and unemployment is high. The Utena district has 6,368 pupils enrolled in 17 schools. But many pupils quit school, losing the opportunity for higher education and for future employment. Research has found that the most critical stage for pupils is 5th-7th grade, when social conditions, complicated learning content, communication and behavior problems cause children to drop-out. Statistics also show that more children are spending time on computers in the public libraries.
The Utena A. and M. Miskiniai Public Library is using new technology to develop virtual gaming tools that will motivate problematic children to improve attendance, seek better grades and learn.
Utena Education Centre, Utena Pedagogical Psychological Service, and Department of Education, Sport and Tourism of Utena District Municipality will play a role in preparing, supervising and evaluating the virtual tool. The Juvenile Affairs Officers Group at Utena County Police Commissariat will reach out to at-risk children. Finally, libraries in Zarasai and Ignalina districts will be target partners to extend and continue growth of the project.
If you want to know more about this project, contact: