Educational Gamified Science Simulations
Modern STEM education is mainly grounded in constructivism. It requires instructors to not only recite learning content, but also to teach the concepts and ideas behind abstract formulas. Interactive simulations are one of the most powerful tools for increasing the students’ problem-solving abilities, and enhancing their understanding of conceptual models and formulas, which are hard to visualize without technology-enhanced tools. Creating simulation tools of interest to students has the potential to enhance their understanding of the phenomena and increase their interest in science. However, many simulations are not engaging and students will lose interest in interacting with them after a short time. Hence, it is important to advance in particular the motivational design aspects of such educational tools. One idea for motivating students is the use of computer games. Different studies show the positive impacts of a game-based or gamified approach in the field of STEM education and training. Several theories and frameworks were researched and developed to support the game design and gamification process of various scenarios. However, only a few cover specific design issues and implications of educational and instructional simulations. In this chapter we introduce a gamification model, which is adapted accordingly to the characteristics of constructivist STEM education approaches with focus on the usage of science simulations. Therefore we will introduce a model for the adaption of gamification techniques to design, develop, and adapt educational simulations. Based on a background and literature study, a framework for implementing a gamification approach for different kinds of simulations is introduced and applied to an application scenario of our own research. As a result, both the lessons learned and further recommendations are outlined.
KeywordsSTEM Gamified science simulation Engagement
We would like to thank the CECI at MIT for initiating this research. Special thanks to John W. Belcher and Phil H. Bailey for their valuable expertise in pedagogical simulation design. We would also like to acknowledge the anonymous reviewers for their constructive feedback.
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