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    Historical Escape Rooms: Unlocking the potential for communication and collaboration in History lessons.

    Maher, Kevin (2022) Historical Escape Rooms: Unlocking the potential for communication and collaboration in History lessons. Masters thesis, National University of Ireland Maynooth.

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    The purpose of this Living Theory action research project was to identify how I can change my practice in History lessons to live closer to my values of social-constructivism and democracy. I explored ways in which Educational Escape Rooms could be used during History lessons to create opportunities for communication and collaboration between students in a mixed gender, urban, disadvantaged school with a 5th class group. This research documents my professional learning journey, captured from multiple perspectives to negate some of the shortcomings of the Living Theory approach. Data was collected from my reflective journal, lesson observations and discussions from Critical Friends, and through questionnaires, feedback loops and interviews with children. By navigating the ethical considerations carefully, placing the child’s voice at the centre of this research allowed me to live closer to my value of democracy. The research was conducted across two research cycles, each consisting of a different teacher-made, History-based, Educational Escape Room. Children completed History lessons on a topic over four weeks and entered the Escape Room on week five. Puzzles were based on History content and skills developed during class lessons and children worked collaboratively to solve these and escape before the time expired. This self-study found that the Educational Escape Room provided opportunities for collaboration, affected by the degree of choice children had in choosing their own teams. The Escape Room also created opportunities for meaningful communication between students within the game and for communication between the teacher, students and colleagues. Evidently, children applied historical content knowledge from lessons in the new situation of the Escape Room and children utilised higher order historical skills without even realising it. The research unearthed two unexpected findings on the topic of engagement. Children found physical, tactile puzzles and locks more engaging than digital ones. Additionally, children found Escape Rooms that demanded players to move around and use the room more engaging than those that did not require as much movement. The findings declare that Educational Escape Rooms are a social-constructivist teaching approach that will allow me to live closer to my values in History lessons. Given the infancy of the teaching approach, a lacuna in literature pertaining to Educational Escape Rooms in primary schools does exist. This study has the potential to contribute to the body of research that exists and has encouraged me to look for creative and innovative teaching methods that can continue to challenge my assumptions.

    Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
    Additional Information: M.Ed. Froebel Department of Primary and Early Childhood Education
    Keywords: Self-study action research, Living Theory research, values, reflection, History, collaboration, communication, historical skills; higher-order thinking; problem-solving; Educational Escape Rooms; games-based learning; gamification;
    Academic Unit: Faculty of Social Sciences > Froebel Department of Primary and Early Childhood Education
    Item ID: 17302
    Depositing User: IR eTheses
    Date Deposited: 08 Jun 2023 15:05
      Use Licence: This item is available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike Licence (CC BY-NC-SA). Details of this licence are available here

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