This paper reports a pilot study of how to utilize simulated animal companions to encourage students to pay more effort in their study in the classroom environment. A class of students is divided into several teams. Every student keeps her own individual animal companion, called My-Pet, which keeps a simple performance record of its master for self-reflection. Also, every team has a team animal companion, called Our-Pet, kept by all teammates. Our-Pet has a collective performance record formed by all team members' performance records. The design of Our-Pet intends to help a team set a team goal through a competitive game among Our-Pets, and promotes positive and helpful interactions among teammates. A preliminary experiment is conducted in a fifth-grade class with 31 students in an elementary school, and the experimental results show that there are both cognitive and affective gains.
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