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New Worlds for Geoscience Teaching: Using Online Games and Environments
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References, Examples, and Ideas for Online Games

Below is a list of online games references, examples, and teaching ideas that have been suggested by the 2008 workshop participants.

Jump down to: Examples | Teaching Ideas


References

C. Anderson (2007). The Innovation in Gaming Isn't on the Screen.

R.T. Beckwith, L. Brandt, B.M. Slator (2006). Electric Worlds in the Classroom: Teaching And Learning With Role-Based Computer Games. Teachers College Press. 182 p.

D.A. Bowman, C. North, J. Chen, N.F. Polys, P.S. Pyla, and U. Yilmaz (2003). Information-Rich Virtual Environments: Theory, Tools, and Research Agenda. Proceedings of the ACM symposium on Virtual reality software and technology, Osaka, Japan, 2003.

J. S. Brown, A. Collins and P. Duguid 1989. Situated Cognition and the Culture of Learning. Educational Researcher, 18(1), 32-42.

The Daedalus Project.
Online MMORPG research publication.

T. M. Duffy, J. Lowyck and D. H. Jonassen, 1983. Designing Environments for Constructive Learning. New York: Springer-Verlag

Game Research
From their website: "Game Research attempts to bring together knowledge on computer games from the areas of art, business, and science. Traditionally such cross-communication has been sparse to the detriment of all involved."

History of Avatars

International Game Developers Association Alternate Reality Games SIG (2006). Alternate Reality Games Whitepaper.

C. Johns and E. Blake (2001). Cognitive Maps in Virtual Environments: Facilitation of Learning Through the Use of Innate Spatial Abilities. Proceedings of the 1st international conference on Computer graphics, virtual reality and visualisation. Camps Bay, Cape Town, South Africa, 2001.

Lave and Wenger 1991. Situated Learning: Legitimate Peripheral Participation. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

M.J. Mayo (2007). Games for science and engineering education. Commun. ACM 50, 7 (Jul. 2007), 30-35.
This is an encouraging reflection on the potential for online gaming to help increase science education levels of American students. The paper cites recent data and provides a nice framework for structuring one's thinking about the cognitive aspects of multiplayer games.

Metaverse Roadmap

Michigan State University Serious Games Masters Program

NASA Learning Technologies Request for Information for an MMO Game

B.M. Slator, P. Juell, P.E. McClean, B. Saini-Eidukat, D.P. Schwert, A.R. White, C. Hill (1999). Virtual environments for education. Journal of Network and Computer Applications. 22(3), 161-174.

J. Sutherland (2005). What Every Game Developer Needs to Know About Story.

Terra Nova
Multi-author blog on virtual worlds.

T.M. Whittaker and S.A. Ackerman (2002). Interactive web-based learning with Java. Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society. 83(7), 970-975.

N. Yee, (2006). The Demographics, Motivations and Derived Experiences of Users of Massively-Multiuser Online Graphical Environments. PRESENCE: Teleoperators and Virtual Environments, 15, 309-329.

N. Yee, (2006). The Labor of Fun: How Video Games Blur the Boundaries of Work and Play. Games and Culture, 1, 68-71.

N. Yee (2007). Motivations for Play in Online Games. CyberPsychology and Behavior, 9, 772-775.


Examples of Online Games, Environments, and Platforms

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Java applets for introductory meteorology

The purpose of these applets, animations and activities is to help the user better understand concepts presented in the textbook "Meteorology: Understanding the Atmosphere," by Steven A. Ackerman and John A. Knox. The applets supplement materials from this textbook, usually as optional in-depth explorations of advanced topics. Several dozen applets cover topics ranging from the weather map to numerical models. Applets allow the user to explore these topics interactively, to develop a deeper understanding of the concepts, and to solve complex equations without knowing anything about higher mathematics.

Internet Archive Video Games

From their website: "The Internet Archive, a non-profit institution based in San Francisco which also hosts the Wayback Machine and many important audio, video and webpage collections, is working with multiple external parties, including the IGDA's Preservation SIG and Stanford University's How They Got Game Project to preserve all kinds of rare and difficult to source video files relating to video games."


Ideas for Teaching with Online Games

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Michael Kelly, Geology Department, Northern Arizona University
Idea: A Geologic History simulation would allow students to explore a block terrain, and extract information from it using virtual tools. The exploration would take place at scales from a "birds eye" viewpoint of the entire terrain down to a 1:1 scale where the avatar body size would be scaled to real objects on the terrain. The purpose of the investigation would be to combine pre-existing geologic data with new data to build a geologic history of the terrain. The kind of data they would be able to extract from the terrain includes diagnostic fossils, raw isotopic measurements and basic rock types. A suite of terrains could be used in guided instruction, exploration and assessment.
Topic: Geologic Time
Platform: Multiuser, virtual environment
Advantages:The advantages of the approach include:
1) The activity could be completed by a team of cooperating students in a class period or by one student over a longer period of time.
2) The actions and movement of individual students could be tracked as an indicator of approach and possibly as an assessment. This could help delineate group learning form individual learning.
3) Instructors could guide students through the activity, allowing the process of doing geology to be revealed from expert to novice.
Goals: Overall this activity speaks to the mastery of a students understanding of the concepts of geologic history. Specifically the students should be able to describe a pattern of the rocks appearing on the surface or sides of the block, and describe the geologic units that make up the pattern. Next they should be able to determine the order in which the units formed, and where and when relatively that features such as faults formed. From the kind of data they collect using the virtual tools they should be able to place units in a framework of the geologic time scale, and be able to summarize the geologic history by arranging different events in order.
Assessment: The goals could be assessed by comparing the students list of geologic events to the known list of events for the terrain. A more complex assessment could include and analysis of the student's time and activities as well as detailed worksheets that showed student fossil correlations or radiometric age calculations. Another possible complex assessment would be via student recorded and narrated video tours of the terrain describing their final list of events.


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