When Was the Last Time
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When Was the Last Time You Saved a World?. Children’s Informal Science Learning in a Multi-User Virtual Environment (MUVE) . Ron Blonder & Sherman Rosenfeld The Weizmann Institute of Science Rehovot, Israel. Confidential. MUVEs: Multi-User Virtual Environments.

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Confidential

When Was the Last Time

You Saved a World?

Children’s Informal Science Learning in a

Multi-User Virtual Environment (MUVE)

Ron Blonder & Sherman Rosenfeld

The Weizmann Institute of Science

Rehovot, Israel

Confidential


Confidential

MUVEs:

Multi-User Virtual Environments

An avatar, a personalized virtual character which represents the player in the game

  • Playing games in order to gain money,

  • Purchasing clothes and accessories for their avatar

  • Chatting with other avatars in the MUVE

CHAIS, 2010, Israel


Confidential

ekoloko MUVE: For children age 8-12

Focuses on ecology and the natural environment

CHAIS, 2010, Israel


Ekoloko the largest community for kids in israel

250,000 registered users

45,000 new registered users per month

Active users spend on average 4.5 hours per week

Over 1,500,000 games played in ekoloko every week

Over 15,000,000 different activities performed every week

ekolokoThe largest community for kids in Israel

CHAIS, 2010, Israel


Developing quality content

Science content experts:

Identify interesting content for kids

Provide valid scientific concepts

Creative experts:

Prepares general storyline

Translates the scientific content into storyline narratives

Content is implemented through:

Community quests

Adventures

Games

Trivia questions

Newspaper

NPCs

Developing quality content

CHAIS, 2010, Israel


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Knowledge: To increase the scientific knowledge of the young players regarding ecology and the natural environment,

Affect: To develop positive attitudes of these users towards ecology and the natural environment, and

Behavior: To promote user behaviors which represent a positive approach to the natural environment.

Educational Design Goals

CHAIS, 2010, Israel


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Challenge: Extremely Large Number of Userse.g., during one week in April 2009Number of recorded playing events: 416,000

CHAIS, 2010, Israel


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Research Questions:

(1) How do the kids use the ekoloko MUVE?

(2) To what extent does the ekoloko MUVE influence the

knoeledge,

affective and

behavioral

Development of the players?

CHAIS, 2010, Israel


Confidential

User Baseline Data: Age, gender, experience

Analysis of Game Use: Frequency and duration

Knoeledge: Trivia scores

Affective Goals: CHEAKS questionnaire

Behavioral Goals: “ekos” donation and activity in community events

Research tool: Data Mining

CHAIS, 2010, Israel


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Results

CHAIS, 2010, Israel


How do the kids use the ekoloko muve

How do the kids usethe ekoloko MUVE?

8

4

3

7

11

15

6

18

2

9

14

1001

17

12

1004

10

16

22

1

5

1002

1003

N=416,000 playing events

CHAIS, 2010, Israel


How do the boys use the ekoloko muve

How do the BOYS use theekoloko MUVE?

8 - Jeans Factory

17 - Farting Lambs

4

8

3

11

7

15

6

18

9

2

14

1001

17

2

1004

10

16

22

1

5

1002

1003

CHAIS, 2010, Israel


How do the girls use the ekoloko muve

How do the GIRLS use the ekoloko MUVE?

8

4

3

7

11

6

15

2

9

18

14

1001

12

10

1004

22

16

1

5

1002

17

1003

CHAIS, 2010, Israel


Gender comparison

Gender Comparison

8 - Jeans Factory

17 - Farting Lambs

8

4

8

3

11

7

15

6

18

9

2

14

17

1001

2

1004

10

16

22

1

5

1002

17

1003

CHAIS, 2010, Israel


Using ekoloko focus and duration increase with experience

Using ekoloko: Focus and duration increase with experience

3

CHAIS, 2010, Israel


Patterns in using ekoloko frequency vs duration data

Patterns in Using ekoloko: Frequency vs. Duration Data

  • Most of the games – Same duration for both; Higher frequency for boys.

  • Jeans Factory (8) – Higher duration for girls, same percentage for both

  • Farting Lambs (17) – Higher duration for boys, same percentage for both

  • Focus and duration increase with experience

CHAIS, 2010, Israel


Cognition age differences

Cognition:Age differences

N=4160,000

CHAIS, 2010, Israel


Cognition novices vs experts

CognitionNovices Vs. Experts

N=4160,000

CHAIS, 2010, Israel


Cognition gender differences

Cognition Gender differences

N=4160,000

CHAIS, 2010, Israel


Summary cognitive effects

Accumulative for age and expertise

Equal for both genders

Summary: Cognitive Effects

CHAIS, 2010, Israel


Attitudes design criteria

Develop a storyline theme of good vs. bad as the basis for hundreds of narratives

Place strong emphasis on activities that encourage interaction

Individual path: Kids take responsibility and make an impact in the world

Community path: Community events, eko-rangers

Attitudes:Design Criteria

CHAIS, 2010, Israel


Attitudes highly environmental positive

Attitudes:Highly environmental positive

N=1228

CHAIS, 2010, Israel


Attitudes gender differences

Attitudes:Gender differences

kids N=1228

CHAIS, 2010, Israel


Attitudes time in the game

Attitudes:Time in the game

N=1228

CHAIS, 2010, Israel


Attitudes time in the game1

Attitudes:Time in the game

N=1228

CHAIS, 2010, Israel


Summary attitudes

Players have a strong emotional

attachment with the environment

Players develop stronger attitudes towards the ekoloko environment, the longer they play

No consistent gender difference

Summary: Attitudes

CHAIS, 2010, Israel


Behavior

Community Event:

In order to prepare a proper dump site, money is needed and the players are asked to contribute their money they have earned in ekoloko.

Question: What variables (e.g., age, gender, game level, weeks in ekoloko, etc.) correlate with levels of donations?

Behavior

CHAIS, 2010, Israel


Behavior1

Behavior

CHAIS, 2010, Israel


Behavior2

Behavior

Kids completed the quest before the dead-line:

They acted as a community

CHAIS, 2010, Israel


Behavior3

Two Answers:

(1) Weeks in ekoloko and game level correlate with donation level. The more time players spent in this ecological MUVE, the more likely they would behave in an ecologically-responsible way

(p<.0001,Pearson Correlation Coefficient test, N=19,070)

This result correlates with the attitude survey

Behavior

CHAIS, 2010, Israel


Behavior4

(2) Gender effect: boy players contributed twice as much money as girl players.

Hypothesis: External motivation played an important role through a high-score table.

Behavior

CHAIS, 2010, Israel


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Conclusions &

Implications

CHAIS, 2010, Israel


Conclusions

We can use analytical tools (e.g., frequency vs. duration analysis) to make sense of large amounts of data regarding

Game use

Cognitive, affective and behavioral effects

For different populations of users (e.g., gender, age, experience)

Another important outcome is interesting and non-obvious

“emerging questions” that can guide future research.

Conclusions

CHAIS, 2010, Israel


Implications

1. Research Methodology: We propose that our research can be used in data-mining educational MUVEs.

2. Informal learning:This kind of research can increase our understanding of kids’ behavior in informal learning environments called educational MUVEs.

3. Educational Design:It can also be useful for MUVE designers.

Implications

CHAIS, 2010, Israel


Confidential

The kids absorb values and knowledge through fun activities in an environment that they choose to be in

CHAIS, 2010, Israel


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