Social and technological changes are transforming what it means to know, think, and learn. Digital information technologies, including video games, are ushering in these changes.
This project seeks to leverage video game technologies, design principles, and gaming techniques to support middle school students in learning scientific literacy and citizenship skills. These skills include the ability to understand and participate in scientific argumentation, to think through novel problems in scientific domains, and to use digital tools and models. This project aims to create, foster, and extend these practices through studies of game players, use of games in classrooms, and controlled experiments.
Our work is guided by these questions:
Does participation in scientific role-playing games produce robust conceptual understandings of core scientific ideas?
Does participation result in an increased desire to pursue careers in science?
Does participation result in more sophisticated understandings of contemporary scientific issues?
Can scientific role-playing games be used as a tool for assessing 21st-century thinking skills?
This study will have broad impact on educators and instructional material developers. It will result in a model for developing empirical, research-based digital game-based learning materials from which others might learn (including commercial designers and textbook companies) and will provide new games for teachers to download.