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Young videogamers and their approach to science inquiry

Francesco Avvisati and Francesca Borgonovi
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Francesca Borgonovi: UCL Social Research Institute, University College London & OECD

No 21-05, DoQSS Working Papers from Quantitative Social Science - UCL Social Research Institute, University College London

Abstract: In 2018, about one in three (33%) 15-year-olds, on average across 52 high- and middle-income countries, played videogames every day or almost every day. Among boys, that proportion was close to one in two (49%). Many popular videogames among teenagers encourage inductive discovery as an effective problem-solving strategy. Written instructions seldom need to be read. By contrast, gaming often involves early information foraging and expansive exploration behaviors. In this paper, we use data from the 2018 wave of the Programme for International Student Assessment to explore whether students who regularly play video-games (gamers) adopt behaviors that are typical of gaming while they complete a computer-based assessment of science. The assessment included interactive items designed to identify procedural science knowledge as well as static items designed to identify science content knowledge. We find that gamers do not differ from other students in science content knowledge and in reading fluency, a measure of how fast they read. Compared to other students, gamers spend less time reading instructions and display more active exploration behaviors in the assessment on items that include simulation tools. We examine differences in associations by country and by sex. We discuss the implications for education practice and for the design of computer-based assessments.

Keywords: Videogames; science problem solving, time to first action, exploration, computer-based assessment (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: I20 I24 I26 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2021-02-01
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