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Title: The role of digital interactive gaming technologies (DIGTs) in facilitating communication and social interaction : a study of dyadic interactive play in a school of students with severe learning difficulties
Author: Lewis-Hayes, Sarah-Lesley
ISNI:       0000 0004 2735 9371
Awarding Body: Institute of Education, University of London
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2011
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This research study investigates the role of Digital Interactive Gaming Technologies (DIGTs) in facilitating communication and social interaction between students with Severe Learning Difficulties (SLD). Participants consisted of 24 students aged between 11 and 19, within a single school for young people with SLD situated in a London Borough Local Authority. The study employed a within-groups, mixed methods design. There was one independent variable (gaming context) with two levels (dyadic game play on DIGTs compared with dyadic game play on a pool table). Three dependent variables were used: one set is related to all communication and social interaction identified during game play, whilst the other two are related to cognitive development and pro-social behaviour during game play. All were measured through observed frequency of communication and social interactions. Observation data were recorded on video. One quantitative timed interval coding scheme and two 'event' coding schemes were employed to analyse the data. This was supplemented by qualitative researcher field notes and information from participant school and educational psychology files. Quotations from individual participants were used to illustrate the findings. Comparison based upon speech and language competency was also undertaken. DIGTs were found to potentially facilitate forms of pro-social communication and social interaction. The findings indicate that the level of game mediation is the most crucial factor in influencing the forms and frequencies of communication and social interaction occurring in both conditions. Interaction related to cognitive development was found to be insubstantial in both conditions. It was concluded that DIGTs may offer opportunities to support independent and autonomous play for students with SLD, related to the high level of computer based mediation that the game provides, but that this mediation does not support social interactions related to cognitive development. The research will be of value to the field of applied educational psychology as it explores the value DIGTs and interactive play in facilitating social and communication skills for students with SLD. The findings may provide insights and inform practice in educational establishments with similar student populations.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (D.Ed.Psy.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available