Learning to read with Graphogame, an ethnography in a Peruvian rural school
The purpose of the present ethnographic case study is to examine what happens when the literacy learning software Graphogame, designed in Finland, is introduced in a new and radically different context, that of a poor rural school in the Peruvian Andes. The research attempts to complement the quantitative approach which has dominated the research on Graphogame. It also aims to take into consideration the unique circumstances and challenges of rural Peru and how they can affect the use and implementation of the software. I spent two months in the rural school of Quilcas, where nine struggling readers used Graphogame for daily 20 minutes remedial sessions. In this research setting, I conducted observations of the students and interviews of the teachers and school director, and collected photo and video data, as well as drawings from the children. The data was analysed inductively using a thematic analysis method and triangulated to increase validity and reliability. The field research found the nine participants evolving over the two months away from the predicted usage of Graphogame, preferring instead to use the software collectively and for fun. They also displayed difficulties with the drilling methodology on which the software is based. The teacher was found to undertake a central role in the classroom, and having to build rapport and motivation, provide scaffolding and technical assistance, as well as maintain order. The data collected in relation with the wider rural context of the study suggested that the learning difficulties of the participants related to the background of poverty and exclusion of the children. It also indicated that there are remaining barriers to the implementation of educational technologies in Peru, such as the lack of competence of teachers, the deficient infrastructure and existence of numerous job stresses. ...
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