A research work performed at the University of Granada (Spain) has proved that role-playing games have a very positive effect on the knowledge and habits of physical and sports practice from a health viewpoint in students of Secondary Education, as their practice can make that exercise and healthy life habits are more attractive for teenagers.
To conduct this work, its authors prepared an intervention program, based on a role-playing game and carried out from the area of Physical Education of an Institute of Secondary Education of Granada, 3-month long, with two weekly1-hour sessions.
The study was carried put with the participation of students of 4th of ESO, aged between 15 and 16. The group was made up of 26 individuals (18 girls and 8 boys). The educational centre is located in a peripheral area of the city of Granada, and receives students of medium-low class.
"The Guardian of Health"
The researchers of the UGR called the role-playing game used "The Guardian of Health", as adventure that takes place in the imaginary island of Danagra. The name of the teacher of Physical Education is Salutis and he chooses the students to save their lives of the many unhealthy habits they subject their bodies to every day. To this end, they must reach the Clover of Health and overcome different challenges, related to a specific content of Physical Education directed to health: feeding, warm-up and back to calm, aerobic resistance, postural hygiene, etc.
The students who participated in this role-playing game were separated in groups of six persons and every one of them adopted a job during the game (warrior, bard, archer, priest, explorer or magician).
The researchers of the UGR also made use in their project of the new information and communication technologies as a didactic resource during all the teaching intervention. For example, they set up a 'healthy chat, debate forums online about current affairs connected to physical education and health.
The results of this project proved that role-playing games are an "suitable" methodology alternative to the traditional model of Physical Education, as at the end of the intervention there was a significant improvement of the knowledge and healthy practice habits of the students and, in addition, their level of satisfaction with the methodology developed was very high.
This work was carried out by Professors Enrique Rivera García, of the department of Didactics of the Musical, Plastic and Corporal Expression, and Manuel Delgado and Isaac J. Pérez López, of the department of Physical and Sports Education, of the University of Granada.
The results of this research work were presented in the 13th Conference of the Spanish Society of Public Health and Sanitary Administration, held last year.
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