Solers Research Group
  • Sanford, Florida, United States
Recent publications
Enthusiasm about the educational benefits offered by the World Wide Web has been tempered in recent years by apprehension regarding the prospects of mitigating associated online threats. Numerous safety measures exist, from legislation to technical controls. Though no doubt helpful, they are not substitutes for education and training. The current study (N = 1,092) aimed at identifying technologies young people have access to, the degree to which they engage in risky online behavior, and their literacy of cyber security practices. Recommendations for tailoring and refining awareness-raising training and interventions are also presented. Overall, findings are discouraging, with participants showing poor judgment with regard to safeguarding their wellbeing in the contexts of preventing malware, handling passwords, dealing with data encryption and storage, and surfing the Internet. The study is predicated on the premise that effective awareness-raising education can be implemented through a better understanding of today's youth and their online practices.
The massive spread of mobile computing is undeniable with the draw of mobile games reaching epic proportions. This popularity, along with the anytime-, anywhere-, and on-any-device characteristics of mobile computing has ignited mounting interest in the use of mobile games in educational contexts, as illustrated by a growing number of articles on this topic. This chapter offers a review of the research on mobile game-based learning (mGBL), citing mobile games that have been experimented with and/or used to explore learning. Although many of the studies to date have emphasized the location-based capabilities of mobile devices, the emerging research focused on mGBL is promising, showing that learning can take place through the use of these games. Future research, however, should look beyond individual devices and functionality, and place greater importance on pedagogy.
The cyber awareness of online video game players (n = 183) was investigated by examining their online safety practices and the degree to which they were exposed to threats. With findings revealing that gamers engaged in poor online practices, despite expressing concern for their safety, this investigation supports the view that gamers are unaware of the possible consequences of their online actions, and/or continue to show resistance to cybersecurity practices perceived to hinder gameplay. While the findings should be regarded as preliminary, game developers and publishers, policymakers, and researchers may find them valuable in obtaining a clearer understanding of gamers' cyber awareness and online practices. Coupled with ongoing research, these findings may also prove valuable for the identification of strategies that may be used to curb risky online behavior.
This study investigated problematic mobile gameplay. Adopting Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders-style criteria for pathological gambling to identify cases of problematic play, the study compared the mobile gaming habits, preferences, and demographics of problematic and nonproblematic game players. Of the 1,950 mobile players sampled, 3% (n = 58) demonstrated signs of possible pathological behavior. The nonproblematic players showed characteristics identifiable with the casual mobile game player, who plays as a quick distraction to pass time when waiting or out of boredom. By comparison, the problematic players were found to play as a means of avoiding responsibilities and as a possible distraction from pain and discomfort. The findings help substantiate claims that mobile gameplay is a casual activity at least for the majority of individuals. However, for some, mobile gaming can interfere with different aspects of life and, in worst cases, may lead to pathological dependence.
This study investigated relationships between digital propensity and support needs as well as predictors of digital propensity in the context of support intensity, age, gender, and social maturity. A total of 118 special education teachers rated the support intensity, digital propensity, and social maturity of 352 students with intellectual disability. Leveraging the Digital Propensity Index, Supports Intensity Scale, and the Social Maturity Scale, descriptive statistics, correlations, multiple regressions, and regression analyses were employed. The findings revealed significant relationships between digital propensity and support needs. In addition, significant predictors of digital propensity were found with regard to support intensity, age, gender, and social maturity.
This study compared grade point level, silent contextual reading fluency, and perceived digital reading ability of 1,206 South Korean video game players and nonplayers in grades 9 through 12. The findings strengthen results reported in the literature while also contributing new information. Nonplayers had better grades, a finding that supports previous research showing that gameplay can negatively influence academic performance. Nonplayers were better readers, a finding in disagreement with studies showing that Internet use, to include video game play, can help with reading performance. While players held higher views of themselves regarding their digital reading ability, these perceptions were not aligned with their grades and reading test scores as well as their online activities when compared to their nonplayer counterparts.
Gender differences between the reading of digital and printed text were explored in this study. Predictors of digital propensity were investigated along with gender differences in the context of digital propensity and perceptions and preferences toward the reading of digital and printed text. Findings strengthened results reported in existing research while also contributing new information. Results revealed significant regression equations, showing that gender was a significant predictor of digital propensity, with males showing a stronger propensity for information and communication technology; the mean of males’ digital propensity was significantly higher than that of females. At the same time, the mean of females’ perceptions toward digital reading was overall higher than that of males, and in the context of digital reading preferences, females read online more for entertainment and learning purposes, and read more selectively, whereas males read digital text more for comprehension purposes.
The first of two chapters, a study is presented that quantitatively examined the adolescent and young adult “casual” video game player. A total of 1,950 South Korean students self-reported their game play on mobile phones by answering a 92-item questionnaire designed to capture data on technology ownership; preference for game genre and titles; where and how often games were played; what factors influence game selection, what game features were the most desirable, the rationale behind playing games, and psychophysical changes experienced as a result of playing; as well as, spending habits with regard to game purchases. The findings supported many of the claims made about the casual player, revealing, for example, that mobile games are predominately played for short periods of time, in between activities, and as a means to combat boredom. Adding credence to the idea that mobile game play can be viewed as a casual activity. Results also revealed potentially positive benefits, to include improved mood and feelings of well-being along with better mental attention and focus.
The second of two chapters, a study is presented that quantitatively examined the adolescent and young adult casual video game player from the perspective of age and gender. A total of 1,950 South Korean students self-reported their game play on mobile phones by answering a 92-item questionnaire designed to capture data on technology ownership; preference for game genre and titles; where and how often games were played; what factors influence the selection of games to play, what game features were the most desirable, the rationale behind playing games, and psychophysical changes experienced as a result of playing; as well as, spending habits with regard to game purchases. The findings supported many of the age and gender suppositions made about the casual player. For example, females played mobile games as much as males, and play time was limited to 30 minute increments almost equally among age groups and gender. New discoveries were also found to include positive benefits stemming from mobile games, such as improved mood and feelings of well-being along with better mental attention and focus.
This study (N = 1,072) is presented with the objectives of (a) exploring dimensions of educational implementation that can be used to support students with autism spectrum disorder, intellectual and developmental disabilities; (b) investigating special education teachers’ (SETs) support priorities and their effectiveness; and (c) identifying the relationship between teachers’ priorities and students’ achievements. The investigation was conducted at 5 private and 33 public special education schools in 2013 and 2014. Factor analysis, correlation, and regression were used for the data analysis. The findings revealed four dimensions of the curriculum for the students using SETs’ priorities—Daily Living/Coping Skills, Community/Home Skills, Emotional/Behavioral Difficulties, and Self-Care Skills. The teachers’ priorities were in alignment with the emphases placed in their school educational programs. The teachers’ top priorities were not aligned with those of the students. Finally, it was revealed that when the teachers held higher priorities, students’ learning outcome improved.
Storytelling is an intricate part of the human psyche and hence, human history. From childhood, stories play an important role in human development, in that, for instance, humans automatically construct a storyline so that they can associate information. There is research to suggest that storytelling in video games can be beneficial because it can be used to help players identify with characters and their goals, creating a greater sense of immersion, positive feelings, and more physiological arousal. Furthermore, when the content is specific and targeted, these games are well suited for promoting acquisition, maintenance, and generalization of skills and knowledge. Findings such as these hold immense promise in the context of improving social skills for children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD). Thus, the use of computers and video games, combined with more traditional storytelling, may serve as hopeful tools for motivating and engaging students as well as promoting learning. This chapter expounds upon this line of reasoning and explores the use of interactive storytelling games as an effective intervention in social skills development for children with ASD.
This transdisciplinary chapter focuses on ecological perspectives surrounding the design of self-determination- enhanced Problem-Based Learning (PBL). The chapter presents a PBL conceptual framework that can be leveraged in implementation of the skills needed for the 21st-century, specifically self-determination for students with disabilities in inclusive settings. The framework is built upon an extensive research synthesis of the principles behind PBL instructional design with an emphasis on special education. The research synthesis revealed the relationships between self-determination learning and PBL. A collaborative learning model-SHARE: Structure, Hypothesis, Analysis, Research, and Evaluation-was subsequently designed as a positive intervention in implementing PBL. In brief, technology and teacher education constitute the essence of quality self-determination-enhanced PBL practices. Educators, educational policymakers, and researchers involved in inclusive education practices will find this chapter of particular interest as 21st-century learning skills are becoming increasingly vital in today's society.
In an attempt to meet the need for validation research that contributes to assistive technology (AT) evidence-based practices, this chapter presents the findings of a study aimed to identify latent dimensions of information and communication technology (ICT) that can serve as the basis for the eventual development of a standardized instrument for ICT assessment and selection in the context of AT. The ICT preferences and practices of 1,258 postsecondary students across seven major universities were examined. A confirmatory factor analysis within the framework of structure equation modeling revealed the five latent dimensions: communicating, socializing, downloading and sharing, gaming, and learning. These dimensions examined in the context of age, gender, and income, further revealed that these demographics, as sole determinants of ICT usage, are not supported. Noteworthy findings were also found with regard to participant’s preferences for ICT, to include a tendency to text over all other technologies surveyed.
It has been suggested that game technology can be successfully used to aid in social skills development among those with special needs. Based on the body of research available, such technology has been used in social skills development with children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD). Furthermore, there is research to suggest that certain game technology, such as simulation-based games, can enhance learning and the retention of knowledge which is of important benefit, given children with ASD show great difficulty in generalizing newly learned skills and knowledge from the instructional to the functional setting. However, at the time of this publication, very little empirical evidence exists which has specifically investigated the use of simulation-based games as interventions in the promotion of social skill development among children with ASD.
A study (N = 1,995) is presented that investigated whether the Big Five Inventory personality types—agreeableness, conscientiousness, extroversion, neuroticism, and openness—can be used in explaining mobile game play. The study is predicated on research suggesting that relationships exist between certain personality types and willingness to embrace technology and mobile phone ownership. The same might be argued between personality and certain mobile apps, to include games. Little research, however, has examined personality and mobile games. This is unfortunate, as these games lend themselves naturally to problem-solving challenges and are believed to aid with learning. Findings revealed that agreeableness was the most significant personality type in predicting frequency and number of hours spent playing mobile games, while openness was the most consistent predictor of mobile gaming as a whole. However, overall strength of associations was weak, suggesting care in using personality, as it may be a poor predictor.
Enthusiasm about the educational benefits offered by the World Wide Web has been tempered in recent years by apprehension regarding the prospects of mitigating associated online threats. Numerous safety measures exist, from legislation to technical controls. Though no doubt helpful, they are not substitutes for education and training. The current study (N = 1,092) aimed at identifying technologies young people have access to, the degree to which they engage in risky online behavior, and their literacy of cyber security practices. Recommendations for tailoring and refining awareness-raising training and interventions are also presented. Overall, findings are discouraging, with participants showing poor judgment with regard to safeguarding their wellbeing in the contexts of preventing malware, handling passwords, dealing with data encryption and storage, and surfing the Internet. The study is predicated on the premise that effective awareness-raising education can be implemented through a better understanding of today's youth and their online practices.
This research investigated oral reading fluency as a predictor of silent reading fluency at the secondary and postsecondary levels. Several measures were used, including the Gray Oral Reading Test, the Test of Silent Word Reading Fluency, the Test of Silent Contextual Reading Fluency, and the Reading Observation Scale. A total of 223 students participated in the research, 63.2% at the postsecondary and 36.8% at the high school level. Among them, 17.5% had reading disabilities. We sought to identify performance-level differences between the two groups, students with and without reading disabilities; specifically, silent reading fluency test results of students with reading disabilities vs. students without reading disabilities and the oral reading fluency as a predictor of silent reading fluency proficiency levels. An independent-samples t test, correlations, and hierarchical regression analyses were employed. The results indicated that the relationships between oral reading fluency and silent reading fluency were statistically significant.
This study investigated certain social aspects of young massively multiplayer online game (MMOG) players’ lives in the context of pathological gameplay while distinguishing addiction from high engagement. Online gameplay frequency and demographic information were also examined. Of the 1,332 sampled, those classified as addicted self-reported the largest percentage of (a) playing online games, (b) scheduling their lives around their gameplay, (c) playing games instead of spending time with family and friends, (d) getting into verbal and physical altercations, and (e) playing to interact with friends and strangers. Statistical analysis, however, revealed no significant differences between the groups, perhaps supporting the idea that players progress through a phase of high engagement before reaching the stage of addiction and that those highly engaged might already show traits or behaviors very similar to, if not the same as, those addicted with regard to certain aspects of their social lives.
The purposes of this study were to identify the factors that underlie assistive technology (AT) and to validate items to be used in an instrument to evaluate AT use. The study consisted of four phases. First, 99 items were developed though a comprehensive literature review. Second, the items were refined through three layers of review. Third, 1,467 respondents rated the results of the reviews. Fourth, exploratory factor analysis, and three confirmatory factor analyses (CFA) were employed to analyze the data. The results of the CFA were statistically significant (root mean square error of approximation [RMSEA] = 0.036, p = 0.00) with a total of 67 items across 8 factors (effectiveness, affordability and dependability, utility, external support, operations, longevity, discomfort, and compatibility).
Technology continues to advance at an irrepressible pace, and it takes human ingenuity and ambition to make the best use of the latest developments in science and engineering, improving quality of life for countless individuals worldwide. Assistive Technology Research, Practice, and Theory presents cutting-edge research in the field of assistive technologies, including both theoretical frameworks and empirical research to benefit individuals with motor and cognitive disabilities. This book will serve as an imperative reference source for professionals, researchers, and practitioners engaged with the technological advances that will help to make modern society accessible to all.
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