Journal of Science Education and Technology

, Volume 16, Issue 1, pp 31-45

First online:

Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.

On Location Learning: Authentic Applied Science with Networked Augmented Realities

  • Eric RosenbaumAffiliated withMIT Teacher Education Program Email author 
  • , Eric KlopferAffiliated withMIT Teacher Education Program
  • , Judy PerryAffiliated withMIT Teacher Education Program


The learning of science can be made more like the practice of science through authentic simulated experiences. We have created a networked handheld Augmented Reality environment that combines the authentic role-playing of Augmented Realities and the underlying models of Participatory Simulations. This game, known as Outbreak @ The Institute, is played across a university campus where players take on the roles of doctors, medical technicians, and public health experts to contain a disease outbreak. Players can interact with virtual characters and employ virtual diagnostic tests and medicines. They are challenged to identify the source and prevent the spread of an infectious disease that can spread among real and/or virtual characters according to an underlying model. In this paper, we report on data from three high school classes who played the game. We investigate students’ perception of the authenticity of the game in terms of their personal embodiment in the game, their experience playing different roles, and their understanding of the dynamic model underlying the game.


augmented reality participatory simulation dynamic model infectious disease authenticity