Worlds of Wonder: Can Video Games Teach Science?

Sunday, February 21, 2010: 8:30 AM-11:30 AM
Room 3 (San Diego Convention Center)
Controversy surrounds the value of video games and virtual worlds for science learning. Kids spend endless hours playing games and many argue that these motivating experiences can also teach science. We bring together leaders in realizing the promise of games for science learning and invite respondents and audience members to use the evidence to reach their own conclusions. The Whyville project illustrates how participation in virtual epidemic outbreaks with millions of players can help participants understand how disease spreads. Outbreak@The Institute allows mobile users on a university to take on the roles of doctors, epidemiologists, medical technicians and public health experts to contain a virus. In Surge, students use physics principles to navigate complex terrain. Using Second Life, the Exploratorium brings volcanoes up close and personal. Each project will present evidence showing the impact of their innovations on student understanding of science. Discussants will comment on how these approaches can engage students in new forms of science inquiry and develop a better understanding of complex science concepts.
Yasmin Kafai, University of Pennsylvania
Douglas Clark, Vanderbilt University
Marcia Linn, University of California
Robert A. Tinker, Concord Consortium
Paul Horwitz, Concord Consortium
Teaching Natural Selection with Video Games
Erik Klopfer, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Mobile Gaming
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