Escape Room as a Tool for the Study of Special Needs in University Education

Escape Room as a Tool for the Study of Special Needs in University Education

Blanca Tejero, Jessica Ortega-Barón, Blanca Betes
Copyright: © 2023 |Pages: 25
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-6684-6081-8.ch004
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For a society where progress and constant development are essential and that faced with the changes experienced in society (pandemics, wars) as well as in education (lack of motivation of students, increase in dropouts, and poor results in studies), the educational system suggests the need for change, proposing the use of more innovative and active methodologies that give the student a leading role and make them the protagonists of the teaching-learning process. This chapter presents an activity with escape room developed with students of the Master's Degree in Special Education that aims to facilitate the learning of practical cases on the subject of developmental disorders.
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In recent years, teaching innovation has experienced a great boost and acceleration at different educational levels. One of the reasons that has favored this impulse is the events experienced during the health crisis that we have been suffering in recent years. At the beginning of the pandemic, education had to quickly adapt to the circumstances and change traditional teaching methods for other new online ones that were adjusted to the situation that was being suffered (Scavarda, Dias, Reis, Silveira, & Santos, 2021; Tejedor 2021). Another of the factors that has propitiated this great impulse has been the technological change that it has produced in recent tears and of which we are participants. The use of technology enhances and helps the development of learning.

As Jenaro, Flores, Poy, González and Martínez (2013) state, in university teaching on many occasions, some strategies are abused, specifically exhibitions or master classes, debates, seminars, group work and the like. To correct this trend, before the start of the pandemic, the education system was trying to turn around by proposing new approaches to the skills and objectives that students must achieve (Tejedor, 2021). These new approaches should focus on “students acquiring skills and competencies during their studies that they can apply later in their personal and professional lives, for example, leadership skills, cooperation and teamwork, as opposed to memorization and repetition” (Area Moreira, 2008, p. 66-79). With the implementation of innovative methodologies in the classroom, we also want to facilitate student learning by proposing to relate motivation, learning and fun. To achieve these objectives, the new teaching methods raise the need to change the positions held by teachers and students in traditional methods. Teachers will not have to be the only protagonists in the teaching-learning process, but students have to become more involved and have a greater protagonism and a more active role in teaching (Strachan & Liyanage, 2015). The question that most professionals ask themselves is how can these goals be achieved?

To achieve these objectives, the new teaching methods, gamification, is proposed as a tool to arouse the interest and curiosity of students, attract their attention, improve their motivation, as well as facilitate their learning (Dicheva, Dichev, Agre, & Angelova, 2015). With gamification, it is intended that learning be different since it suggests that starting from a more motivating position, skills such as teamwork can be worked on, difficult to work with other methodologies, which will be required later from the students in the professional world.

Following this line, one of the alternative strategies to traditional teaching that can be applied in online higher education are the so-called Escape Rooms. The Escape Room is a dynamic and fun experience, born in the environment of online video games, which has reached the educational world, and due to its characteristics. it is making a niche in the world of education (Santamaría Urbieta & Alcalde Peñalver, 2019). Currently, the Escape Room is beginning to be used as new teaching dynamics that can motivate students more, promoting greater and better learning, and it can also be used to evaluate students' knowledge, as well as their abilities to work in teams and be competitive.

Believing in the educational potential of the application of Escape Rooms in online university classrooms, the objectives of this article are:

  • To increase students' participation.

  • To intensify the motivation of students towards learning the subject of General Developmental Disorders.

  • To promote student learning of the practical part of the subject of General Developmental Disorders.

  • To promote the development of student skills and competencies by using the escape room as a learning tool.

To achieve this objective, the theme and the tests to be passed in the Escape Room must be related to the curricular contents of the subjects covered in the Master's Degree in Special Education.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Information and Communication Technologies (ICT): They are the set of resources, the different tools and technological programs that contribute to the processing and learning of educational information.

Online Training: Online training is taught in a non-face-to-face way through a device with an Internet connection; this facilitates and allows students to carry out the aforementioned training from any place which has an Internet connection.

Distance Training: It is a training in which, unlike the online modality, students do not need any device with an internet connection because the training center provides them with the paper materials or multimedia format.

Gamification: It is a tool of innovative methodologies that consists of the use of games in the educational field with the aim of facilitating learning.

Escape Room: It is a game in which the participants are locked in a room, and in order to get out of it, they have to overcome some challenges that are presented to them to solve different missions that are related to the theme of the escape room. Once all the missions have been accomplished in the available time, the participants win the game, and they can leave the room.

Computer-Supported Collaborative Learning: It refers to the learning process that is carried out by sharing objectives and tasks, with technologies as mediators of this process.

Distributed Knowledge: It is all the knowledge that a community of agents possesses and might apply in solving a problem.

Master’s Degree in Special Education: This master's is a postgraduate training that trains different professionals to be able to work with people who have functional diversity and/or special needs in different inclusive environments.

Innovative Methodologies: These are new educational teaching methodologies that place the student at the center of learning; they teach them and provide the tools to make their learning more active and meaningful.

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