Periodicity.: July - September 2016
e-ISSN......: 2236-269X
MODELO PARA A FORMATAÇÃO DOS ARTIGOS A SEREM UTILIZADOS NO ENEGEP 2003

COMPUTER GAMES AND THEIR IMPACT ON CREATIVITY OF PRIMARY LEVEL STUDENTS IN TEHRAN

 

Tahereh Mokhtari

Islamic Azad University, Iran, Islamic Republic of

E-mail: tahereh.mokhtari11@outlook.com

 

Reza MohammadKazemi

Faculty of Entrepreneurship, University of Tehran, Iran, Islamic Republic of

E-mail: r_mkazemi@ut.ac.ir

 

Kambiz Kamkari

Islamic Azad University, Iran, Islamic Republic of

E-mail: Kambiz.Kamkari@outlook.com

 

Submission: 02/04/2016

Accept: 14/04/2016

ABSTRACT

Creativity is about being sensitive to dilemmas, losses, problems, and existing errors, making propositions about and examining such issues, which finally leads to innovative findings. On the other hand, it seems that games are important in this process; since they can improve creativity of the individuals. Thus, this research pays attention to the question that whether computer games affect creativity of students at primary level in schools or not? Moreover, in this study, students of 3 main districts of Tehran municipality were studied. Based on the available data of the ministry, there were 51740 students studying in these three districts. Thus, 381 students were randomly selected as the research sample. Findings revealed that all computer games, i.e. puzzle, intellectual, and enigma, affect creativity of students at primary level in schools to different extents.

Keywords: Computer games, Creativity, Students, Creative thinking

 


 

1.     INTRODUCTION

            Creativity is one of the fundamental characteristics of humankind which was highly important in evolution of civilizations and humanity. In fact, it is the basis for inventions and scientific/aesthetic achievements. Prior research reveals that creativity is not a gift for special individuals, but it is an aspect of everyone’s soul. On the other hand, gaming is an integral part of any kids’ life, which begins with its birth.

            Gaming is a natural gift granted to any humankind to become able to grow. In recent years, industrialization waves made everyone forget such an important activity, but due to its entity, it is still appearing in some ways. The world is changing and so many problems prone to appear. Innovative and creative individuals are the key players to deal with such problems.

            They use their imagination and creativity to answer new questions. This creativity could be improved when people are younger. Thus, students could be the focal point for such changes. On the other hand, as mentioned, gaming significantly affects their creativity (AMORY et al., 1999; BEGHETTO, 2007).

            Creativity is variously defined by different authors as the balanced unfolding and converging of experience and entrepreneurship as the management of radical change (NYSTRÖM, 1993; MARKOVIC and SALAMZADEH, 2012). In a more recent definition, creativity is defined as an idea or action that is original and useful, as well as cognitive processes and overt behaviors that result in new ideas, products or performances and that are judged by some audience to be new, original, useful and/or aesthetically pleasing (SANNINO; ELLIS, 2015).

            At the same time, it is frequently conceived of too narrowly, as exclusively concerned with aesthetics-“creativity is about art, isn't it?” creativity is also regarded frequently as simply a matter of thinking and especially free and unconstrained thinking (CROPLEY, 2016). Generating novel and useful ideas for specific or loosely defined problems is another notion to consider creativity (ULRICH, 2015).

            In sum, as a phenomenon in the cycle of life, it begins and ends with existence of human and living beings. Life is a self-renewal process through action upon the environment. This is the essence of what is called creativity (TAN, 2015). The process of discovering new ideas that are both original and useful in their context is also called creativity (ANDERSEN; KRAGH, 2015). On the other hand, prior research shows that gaming could improve this ability and gift in children (CSIKSZENTMIHALYI, 1999).

            Decades ago, Vandenberg (1980) and other authors highlighted the role of games in promoting creativity of children, and this issue is still controversial. For instance, Gunawardhana and Palaniappan (2015) paid attention to psychology of digital games and their impact on creativity of youngsters. This new wave of research is emerged simultaneously with new waves of games, especially computer games.

2.     LITERATURE REVIEW

            Creativity is variously defined by different scholars of this domain. Treffinger et al. (2002) compared 120 definitions of creativity in papers exploring the ‘traits’, ‘characteristics’, and other personal ‘attributes’ distinguishing highly creative individuals from their peers. From these definitions they compiled a list of creative dispositions (cognitive, personality, and biographical), cited in at least three sources, clustering them into four categories: (i) Generating ideas; (ii) Digging deeper into ideas; (iii) Openness and courage to explore ideas; and (iv) Listening to one’s ‘inner voice’. Robbins (1997) defines creativity as combining ideas in a unique way, or creating integrity among such ideas.

            Parnes and Harding (1962) defined it as what leads to a new approach, which could be interesting in some ways. To Mednick (1962), creativity was reorganizing a set of elements in a new way that meets certain needs or could be useful. On the other hand, games and play are an essential part of child development (YOUNG et al., 2012).

            Moreover, prior research has shown that the primary benefit of gaming is the increased motivation that comes with an active learning (ROSATO, 1995). Gaming could be influential in some ways, such as (i) improving social status, (ii) increasing creativity, (iii) personality improvement, (iv) making people more active, and even proactive, (v) emotional improvement, etc. The interesting issue is that these two concepts are highly entangled in nature. It means that gaming and creativity both are about exploring new things, new trends, ideas, etc.

            As mentioned earlier, creativity is an integral part of any humankind’s life. Creativity is widely invoked in certain educational and other public discourses, and has been quite extensively theorized and investigated in some circles, but still receives little attention in primary school students who improve this gift by games (ALLISON, 2004).

            Computer games and simulators enhance learning through visualization, experimentation, and creativity of play (BETZ, 1995). In some cases, it is argued that students use games to explore, discover, and question, ultimately constructing concepts and relationships in authentic contexts (YANG, 2012).

            Ott and Pozzi (2012) called digital games as “creativity enablers for children”. As a matter of fact, their analysis of the available data showed that during the 3-year study, students' creative skills and attitudes appreciably increased, in particular those related to figuring out and enacting original solution strategies for the digital games at hand. In contrary, some studies provide initial evidence that video game play may not, in fact, influence children's general creativity levels (e.g. see HAMLEN, 2009).

            Prior research showed that computer simulations enhance learning through visualization and creativity, as players are able to visualize their creative actions (AMORY et al., 1999). Moreover, in some cases, students treated the online learning method as taking a computer game class (JANG, 2009).

            Tüzün et al. (2009) investigated the effects of computer games on primary school students’ achievement and motivation in geography learning. This study showed that computer games can be utilized in formal learning environments to support students in learning about geography. Students achieved statistically significant learning gains when learning about world continents and countries through the Global Village game. In addition, some studies have explored relationships between time spent playing video games in a typical week and general creativity, as measured by a common assessment (HAMLEN, 2009).

            Dacey (1989) studied the peak periods of creative growth across the lifespan. In his research, he developed a test for assessing the creativity of primary school students. The test did not show any significant different between male and female students; however, the test measured their creative abilities.

            Holt (1988) investigated the creativity of 58 students and studied that how their creativity could increase through different practices. These studies continued to appear in the literature, until more recent studies paid attention to new aspects of such issues in question.

            Kaufmann (2003) mentions that it is argued that the concept of creativity is too loosely defined, and too much driven from a bottom-up operationalist view. It is also argued that current popular definitions of creativity, by focusing on novelty and appropriateness, do not distinguish the concept of creativity in a satisfactory way from standard definitions of the concept of intelligence, which also focus on novelty and appropriateness as key defining features. Then, he provided a framework to make the conceptualization more understandable.

            Also, Proctor and Burnett (2004) measured cognitive and dispositional characteristics of creativity in elementary students. They developed a measurement tool which was highly used in upcoming research papers. In more recent research papers, some scholars tried a more specific approach and concentrated on gamin and its effect on creativity.

            For instance, Tekin et al. (2012) investigated the effect of educational game activities on the levels of creativity of the students attending to elementary schools in Turkey. They found gaming as a critical issue to be taken into account in order to improve creativity of the students. Kafai and Burke (2015) also reached the same conclusion in their research.

3.     CONCEPTUAL FRAMEWORK

            The researchers used a combination of two recognized models, i.e. Torrance and Goff’s (1990) test and Corbin’s (1974) conceptualization, to form the conceptual framework. Corbin (2001) mentions the importance of lifelong skill and health-related factors in measuring physical actions [games]. Paul Torrance, “Father of Creativity” 3 was instrumental in developing tests for creative ability in individuals, as well as providing decades of research and education. 

            In 1962, he wrote about the value of addressing creativity in schools, and of the need for teachers and parents to be guides and supporters of creative individuals. Building on Guilford's work, Torrance (1974) developed the Torrance Tests of Creative Thinking. The same test is used here in this research. He defined creativity as the capacity to detect gaps, propose various solutions to solve problems, produce novel ideas, re-combine them, and intuit a novel relationship between ideas. There are three main elements to be described in this framework.

Figure 1: Conceptual framework

Source: based on Torrance and Goff’s (1990) test and Corbin’s (1974) conceptualization)

4.     RESEARCH METHODOLOGY

            The research design in this study was purely quantitative. This research design enabled us to investigate the research questions squeezed from standard approaches of Torrance and Goff’s (1990) test and Corbin’s (1974) conceptualization. Then a pretest was done, and then a test was conducted after computer gaming.

            A control group was also used to control the intervening variables. Moreover, in this study, students of 3 main districts of Tehran municipality were studied. Based on the available data of the ministry, there were 51740 students studying in these three districts. Thus, 381 students were randomly selected as the research sample.

            A cluster sampling approach was used to gather the data. Then, the students were grouped in two groups. The Kolmogorov-Smirnov test was used to check the normality of the data, and T test for Pairwise comparisons were used to test the hypotheses.

5.     RESEARCH QUESTIONS

            The main research question in this research is that whether computer games affect creativity of students at primary level in schools or not? Moreover, there are three research questions to answer this question, which are: (i) To what extent does computer games affect the originality of students’ thinking?, (ii) To what extent these games affect their flexibility, and (iii) To what extent these computer games affect their fluency?

 

6.     FINDINGS

            The Kolmogorov-Smirnov test results are presented in the following table.

Table 1: The Kolmogorov-Smirnov test results

 

Computer games

Flexibility

Fluency

Originality

Creativity

N

381

381

341

381

381

Mean

3.6831

3.9155

3.7077

3.9225

2,3287

S. D.

1.13018

1.02611

.84641

.86203

1,32

Constant

.311

.343

.385

.328

.315

Positive

.161

.171

.259

.232

.286

Negative

-.311

-.343

-.385

-.328

-.189

Kolmogorov-Smirnov statistic

.311

.343

.385

.328

.280

sig

.057

.064

.088

.073

.061

H1: Computer games positively affect the originality of thinking in students.

            To test the mentioned hypothesis, T test was used. Following table shows the result of the test. The results show that all the hypotheses are accepted. Then, it could be argued that computer games affect originality of thinking in students. This effect is higher in intellectual games rather that puzzle or enigma.

Table 2: Test results (n=341)

Computer games

Pre test t

Post test t

d.f.

Sig.

Result

Puzzle

0.988

24.927

340

0.000

accepted

Enigma

0.922

19.244

340

0.000

accepted

Intellectual

1.12

32.407

340

0.000

accepted

H2: Computer games positively affect the flexibility of students.

            The following table shows the test results for this hypothesis. All the hypotheses are accepted based on the test results. However, Puzzle games are more effective ones.

 

 

 

 

Table 3: Test results (n=341)

Computer games

Pre test t

Post test t

d.f.

Sig.

Result

Puzzle

1.21

29.927

340

0.000

accepted

Enigma

1.02

27.244

340

0.000

accepted

Intellectual

1.19

29.407

340

0.000

accepted

H3: Computer games positively affect the fluency of students.

            The following table shows the test results for this hypothesis. All the hypotheses are accepted based on the test results. However, intellectual games are more effective ones.

7.     CONCLUSION

            According to our findings, computer games affect the creativity of students at primary school level. Based on the results, computer games positively affect the originality of thinking in students. This effect is higher in intellectual games rather that puzzle or enigma. These findings are in line with the findings of Jones et al. (1978), Clemente (1990), Clemente et al. (2015), and in contrast with those of Lee et al. (2004). Moroever, computer games positively affect the flexibility of students. However, Puzzle games are more effective than other types. This argument is in line with Jones et al. (1978), Clemente (1990), and in contrast to findings of Vandenberg (1980). Also, computer games positively affect the fluency of students. However, intellectual games are more effective ones.

            In sum, authors suggest that intellectual games which are less dependent on facilities and resources are better targets for improving creativity among students. Thus, enough time must be spent to achieve this goal. Although intellectual games are less prone to improve creativity of adults, these games could be more appropriate for primary level students.

            Since such games could increase the creativity of students at primary schools, teachers must be trained to use such games. Finally, many entities might join this trend and improve the status quo. This research might be conducted at different levels and in different provinces in order to see the results. Some intervening variables might be added to the model to increase our understanding of the matter in question.

 

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Copyright (c) 2016 Reza MohammadKazemi, Kambiz Kamkari, Tahereh Mokhtari

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