, Volume 16, Issue 1, pp 59-82,
Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.
Date: 29 Nov 2006

Relating Narrative, Inquiry, and Inscriptions: Supporting Consequential Play


In this paper we describe our research using a multi-user virtual environment, Quest Atlantis, to embed fourth grade students in an aquatic habitat simulation. Specifically targeted towards engaging students in a rich inquiry investigation, we layered a socio-scientific narrative and an interactive rule set into a multi-user virtual environment gaming engine to establish a virtual world through which students learned about science inquiry, water quality concepts, and the challenges in balancing scientific and socio-economic factors. Overall, students were clearly engaged, participated in rich scientific discourse, submitted quality work, and learned science content. Further, through participation in this narrative, students developed a rich perceptual, conceptual, and ethical understanding of science. This study suggests that multi-user virtual worlds can be effectively leveraged to support academic content learning.