Abstract/Details

The Teacher's Dilemma: A game-based approach for motivating appropriate challenge among peers


2008 2008

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Abstract (summary)

In classroom-based studies, peer tutoring has proved to be an effective learning strategy, both for the tutees and for their peer tutors. Today, the increasingly widespread availability of computers and Internet access in the homes and after-school programs of students offers a new venue for peer learning. In seeking to translate the successes of peer-assisted learning from the classroom to the Internet, one major hurdle to overcome is that of motivation. When teachers are no longer supervising student activity and when participation itself becomes voluntary, peer tutoring protocols may stop being educationally productive. In order to successfully leverage these peer interactions, we must find a way to facilitate and motivate learning among a group of unsupervised peers. In this dissertation, we respond to this challenge by reconceptualizing the interactions among peers within the context of a different medium: that of games. In designing a peer tutoring experience as a two-player game, we gain a valuable set of tools and techniques for affecting student participation, engagement, goals, and strategies.

Our contributions: (1) We define a criteria for games—the Teacher's Dilemma criteria—that motivates players to challenge one another with problems of appropriate difficulty; (2) We show three games that satisfy the Teacher's Dilemma criteria when played by rational players under idealized conditions; (3) We demonstrate, using computer simulations of strategic dynamics, that game-play will converge towards meeting these criteria, through time, under more realistic conditions; (4) We design a suite of software that incorporates a Teacher's Dilemma game into several web-based activities for different learning domains; (5) We collect data from thousands of students using these activities, and examine how the games actually affected the game-play strategy and learning among these students. The game-theoretic analysis establishes the possibility for a game-based mechanism for motivating appropriate challenges, the simulations support the plausibility of this approach given non-optimal players, the implemented software systems demonstrate the scalability of this model, and the data analysis supports the real-world applicability of this game-based approach to motivating appropriate challenges for learning among unsupervised peers.

Indexing (details)


Subject
Computer science
Classification
0984: Computer science
Identifier / keyword
Applied sciences; Game-play strategy; Learning motivation; Peer tutoring
Title
The Teacher's Dilemma: A game-based approach for motivating appropriate challenge among peers
Author
Bader-Natal, Ari
Number of pages
162
Publication year
2008
Degree date
2008
School code
0021
Source
DAI-B 69/03, Dissertation Abstracts International
Place of publication
Ann Arbor
Country of publication
United States
ISBN
9780549518075
Advisor
Pollack, Jordan B.
Committee member
Hickey, Timothy J.; Mostow, Jack; Pustejovsky, James
University/institution
Brandeis University
Department
Computer Science
University location
United States -- Massachusetts
Degree
Ph.D.
Source type
Dissertations & Theses
Language
English
Document type
Dissertation/Thesis
Dissertation/thesis number
3304030
ProQuest document ID
304692278
Copyright
Database copyright ProQuest LLC; ProQuest does not claim copyright in the individual underlying works.
Document URL
http://search.proquest.com/docview/304692278/abstract
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