Incredible Machine - Children Collaborating on One Machine
following is a summary of a paper titled Give and Take: Children
Collaborating on One Computer, by Kori Inkpen, Kellogg S. Booth,
Steven D. Gribble, and Maria Klawe.
researchers have found significant benefits in achievement resulting
from co-operative learning activities, both with computers and
without. When working in groups, students talk about the task
they are completing, increasing their enjoyment of the task, and
reinforcing the learning process with each other. In spite of
this, most classrooms today use computers only as a tool for individual
is due, in part, to the fact that computers do not usually provide
for more than one controller (usually a mouse). The focus of the
research here is to examine alternative ways for groups of children
to interact with a single computer.
hundred and thirty-two children (132) between the ages of 9 and
13 volunteered to take part in this study at Science World BC,
during August 1994. The children were placed in same-sex pairs,
and instructed to solve at least the first three puzzles of The
Incredible Machine , a puzzle solving game by Sierra that features
a wide variety of simulated tools used to construct machines to
modified two-mouse version of The Incredible Machine was used
that allowed the children to pass control between the two mice
using one of two protocols: Give and Take . The left button of
the mouse was used to play the game, and the right mouse button
was used to exchange control of the mouse.
the Give condition, either partner could pass control of the mouse
to the other partner by pressing his/her right mouse button. In
the Take condition, either partner could seize control of the
mouse by pressing his/her right mouse button.
results of this study were compared to earlier results for children
playing together on one computer using a single mouse.
a complete discussion of the results of this study, please download
the complete paper.
results were gender dependent: girls solved more puzzles in the
two-mouse Give condition than in either the Take condition, or
with only one mouse. Boys solved more puzzles in the two-mouse
Take condition than in either of the other two conditions, although
the difference between the number of puzzles solved in the Take
condition and the on-mouse condition was not statistically significant.
is also interesting to note that all children in all conditions
average approximately 30 exchanges of mouse control per session,
except for boys in the Take condition, which averaged 46 exchanges.
study suggests that the addition of a second mouse to a single
player game can affect achievement in the game. The type of protocol
used to transfer between the mice had very different effects based
on gender. This suggests that careful planning should be used
when dealing with interactions between students using one computer.