• Carmen FiesEmail author
  • Juliet Langman


We report on a case study that took place in a southwestern culturally and linguistically diverse urban high school science classroom during a grade recovery summer session. The introduction of a technology-infused unit on epidemiology engaged students in a multi-contextual exploration of the spread of diseases. The analysis of the resultant classroom discourse centers on connections made and identities expressed by the students (as students, social beings, avatars, and scientists), with particular attention to how these students use language to bridge worlds (the participatory simulation world, the classroom world, the ‘real’ world (outside the classroom), and the laboratory (science) world). The results indicate that including a participatory technology tool supported students’ learning journey. Specifically, students built on a shared virtual experience in ways that helped them to draw and expand on prior experiences well beyond the classroom in the service of developing science understanding.

Key words

biology connection discourse identity science education simulation technology-inclusion 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Ares, N., Stroup, W. & Schademan, A. (2009). The power of mediating artifacts in group-level development of mathematical discourses. Cognition and Instruction, 27(1), 1–24.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Beck, D. (2004). Playing games or learning science? An inquiry into Navajo children’s science learning. Journal of American Indian Education, 43(3), 41–55.Google Scholar
  3. Cole, K. M. & Zuengler, J. (2008). Research processes in classroom discourse analysis: Current perspectives. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.Google Scholar
  4. Colella, V. (2000). Participatory simulations: Building collaborative understanding through immersive dynamic modeling. Journal of the Learning Sciences, 9(4), 471–500.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. COSEPUP (2007). Rising above the gathering storm: Energizing and employing America for a brighter economic future. Washington, DC: National Academies Press.Google Scholar
  6. Dede, C. (1995). The evolution of constructivist learning environments: Immersion in distributed, virtual worlds. Educational Technology, 35(5), 46–52.Google Scholar
  7. Garris, R., Ahlers, R. & Driskell, J. E. (2002). Games, motivation, and learning: A research and practice model. Simulation and Gaming, 33(4), 441–467.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Gee, J. P. (2005). An introduction to discourse analysis: Theory and method (2nd ed.). New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  9. Gee, J. P. (2007). What video games have to teach us about learning and literacy (2nd ed.). New York: Palgrave Macmillan.Google Scholar
  10. Gee, J. P. (2011). An introduction to discourse analysis: Theory and method (3rd ed.). New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  11. Gibbons, A. S. & Sommer, S. (2007). Layered design in an instructional simulation. In B. E. Shelton & D. A. Wiley (Eds.), The design and use of simulation computer games in education (pp. 85–102). Rotterdam, The Netherlands: Sense.Google Scholar
  12. Hutchins, E. (1995). Cognition in the wild. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  13. Johnstone, B. (2008). Discourse analysis (2nd ed.). Malden, MA: Blackwell.Google Scholar
  14. Kirkley, J., Kirkley, S. & Heneghan, J. (2007). Building bridges between serious game design and instructional design. In B. E. Shelton & D. A. Wiley (Eds.), The design and use of simulation computer games in education (pp. 61–83). Rotterdam, The Netherlands: Sense.Google Scholar
  15. Lemke, J. (1990). Talking science: Language learning and values. Norwood, NJ: Ablex.Google Scholar
  16. Mead, G. H. (1962). Mind, self and society. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  17. Mortimer, E. F. & Scott, P. H. (2003). Meaning making in secondary science classrooms. Philadelphia: Open University Press.Google Scholar
  18. Norris, S. (2008). Some thoughts on personal identity construction: A multimodal perspective. In V. Bhatia, J. Flowerdew & R. Jone (Eds.), Advances in discourse studies (pp. 132–148). New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  19. Ogborn, J., Kress, G., Martins, I. & McGillicuddy, K. (1996). Explaining science in the classroom. Buckingham, UK: Open University Press.Google Scholar
  20. Richards, K. (2003). Qualitative inquiry in TESOL. New York: Palgrave MacMillan.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Roschelle, J. (2003). Unlocking the learning value of wireless mobile devices. Journal of Computer Assisted Learning, 19(3), 260–272.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Sauvé, L., Renaud, L., Kaufman, D. & Marquis, J.-S. (2007). Distinguishing between games and simulations: A systematic review. Educational Technology & Society, 10(3), 247–256.Google Scholar
  23. Shelton, B. E. (2007). Designing educational games for activity-goal alignment. In B. E. Shelton & D. A. Wiley (Eds.), The design and use of simulation computer games in education (pp. 103–130). Rotterdam, The Netherlands: Sense.Google Scholar
  24. Stroup, W. M., Kaput, J. J., Ares, N. M., Wilensky, U., Hegedus, S., Roschelle, J., et al. (2002). The nature and future of classroom connectivity: The dialectics of mathematics in the social space. Paper presented at the 24th annual meeting of the North American Chapter of the International Group for the Psychology of Mathematics Education, Athens, GA.Google Scholar
  25. Texas Education Agency (2008). 2007–2008 academic excellence indicator system.
  26. The New Media Consortium & Educause Learning Initiative (2008). The horizon report (2008th ed.). Austin, TX: The New Media Consortium.Google Scholar
  27. Vygotsky, L. S. (1962). Thought and language. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Vygotsky, L. S. (1978). Mind in society. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  29. Wenger, E. (1998). Communities of practice: Learning as a social system. Systems Thinker, 9(5), 2–3.Google Scholar
  30. Wertsch, J. V. (1991). Voices of the mind. Hemel Hempstead, UK: Harvester-Wheatsheaf.Google Scholar
  31. Wilensky, U., & Stroup, W. M. (1999). Learning through participatory simulations: Network-based design for systems learning in classrooms. Paper presented at the Computer Support for Collaborative Learning (CSCL), Stanford University.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© National Science Council, Taiwan 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Interdisciplinary Learning and TeachingThe University of Texas at San AntonioSan AntonioUSA
  2. 2.Department of Bicultural Bilingual StudiesThe University of Texas at San AntonioSan AntonioUSA

Personalised recommendations