Solving Conceptual and Perceptual Analogies with Virtual Reality Among Kindergarten Children of Immigrant Families
by David Passig & Timor Schwartz — 2014
Background: The ability to think analogically is central to the process of learning and understanding reality and there is a broad consensus among researchers that we can improve this ability. Immigrants who have emigrated from developing to developed countries tend to experience tremendous challenges in their early years as immigrants. Their children often find themselves in a situation where it is clear that their low achievements are the result of cultural mediation, which expresses itself not only in a language gap, but also in cultural and basic technological disorientation.
Purpose: The goal of this study is to help find efficient ways of nurturing analogical thinking in children who have emigrated from developing to developed countries and express difficulties in analogical thinking, and to point out the advantages inherent in the use of immersive 3D Virtual Reality technology for this goal.
Population: The participants in this study included 56 children, aged 4 to 7 years, whose parents immigrated to Israel from Ethiopia during the last ten years. The experimental group (n=28) practiced solving analogies that were presented in 3D VR, while the control group (n=28) practiced solving the same analogies with a pictorial version of the items that was presented with cards.
Research Design: The research instrument employed for evaluating Analogical thinking was the CCPAM measure, which includes 10 questions on Conceptual Analogies and 10 questions on Perceptual analogies. We designed the intervention program according to the CCPAM test. The CCPAM test was administered in three intervals: a. Prior to the beginning of the intervention. b. Immediately after the intervention, which included two meetings of 15 minutes each, during which the children were given exercises in solving analogies. c. Three weeks after the end of the intervention, in order to test the ability to preserve the solution strategy (the follow-up test).
Conclusions: The results indicate that both programs of intervention—VR and picture cards— significantly improved the ability to solve both kinds of analogies—perceptual and conceptual. However, the children in the experimental group, who practiced analogies within an immersive VR environment, improved their ability to a statistically significant degree more than did the children who practiced solutions with picture cards. The children in the experimental group preserved the solution strategy three weeks after the intervention significantly better than the control group, and the improvement in solving conceptual analogies was greater than the improvement in solving perceptual analogies.
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