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#GHC13. Effectiveness of Educational STEM Games Based on Evaluation of Core Mechanics Using Bloom’s Taxonomy. Brittany Arthur UC Santa Cruz Computer Science Undergraduate Student October 3. 2013. 2013. Time on Task. One Predictor of Student Success Game time Learning Time?

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Effectiveness of Educational STEM GamesBased on Evaluation of Core Mechanics Using Bloom’s Taxonomy

Brittany Arthur

UC Santa Cruz

Computer Science Undergraduate Student

October 3. 2013


time on task
Time on Task
  • One Predictor of Student Success
  • Game time Learning Time?
    • Not always equivalent
the game equations
  • Shown to increase an average student’s mathematical reasoning by 1.3 years within 4 months of playing.
    • Seven month increase compared to controls (Randel et al., 1992)
a model of evaluation is important
A Model of Evaluation is Important
  • If games are to become a respected and conventional part of STEM education, critical evaluations are necessary
    • To promote truly great learning games
    • Increase opportunities
      • More chances for kids to get excited about science, technology, engineering, and math
    • Increase retention
a model of evaluation is important1
A Model of Evaluation is Important
  • Kids love games!
  • Team work
  • Engagement
  • Competition and focus
  • Enjoyable
  • Failure becomes interesting and less stressful
bloom s taxonomy
Bloom’s Taxonomy
  • Common language about learning goals
  • Taught to future teachers
  • Used to rate lesson plans
bloom s taxonomy1
Bloom’s Taxonomy
  • Applied to determine the congruence between game’s objectives and activities and actual experiences of the player

1. Spore

2. Code Hero

3. Treefrog Treasure


Spore Goals in order [Goal 1 to Goal 9]: 1. Choose diet, 2. Identify predators and their threats in order to strategize how to stay alive, 3. Identify correct food supply, 4. Call mate if adaptation is needed in response to the changing environment, 5. Create an offspring that is better adapted to the environment than last playable character was – decide which characteristics would be most effective based on observations of the environment, 6. Analyze how the relationship to the environment has changed after growth or evolution to make better decisions to continue to survive, grow, reproduce, and evolve. 7. Identify the new threats from new predators (electric shock, speed, etc.) and who is not threatening 8. Strategize a new plan when food resources change and there is competition, 9. Find and unlock new characteristics to add to new offspring

CODE HERO Goals in order [Goal 1 to Goal 6]: 1. Find Ada Lovelace, follow her through a hallway of pictures and quotes from Grace Hopper and Alan Turing, 2. Find key to open “labyrinth door” by exploring the game space and learning controls, 3. Find sword to fight dragon, 4. Edit the dragon’s programming structure to make it easier to fight: Ada Lovelace walks you through the process of reprogramming using Unity to lower its strength; Unity is a cross platform game engine. 5. Find Ada Lovelace in a room with Charles Babbage; she tells you to explore the space and find hidden information, 6. Explore notes from Babbage’s Difference Engine and Addition Carriage, explore the game space: go into a room with sign RANDOM ACCESS MEMORY, go into a room with a unity symbol over a mac, go into Bell Laboratories: computing science research center, and PARC: Palo Alto Research Center

TreeFrog Treasure Goals in order [Goal 1 to Goal 9]: 1. Match pie chart picture to correct empty slot to put fractions and pie graphs in the correct order (0/4, ¾, 4/4 are represented, there are two slots open between 0/4 and ¾, the key is to place the representation of ¼ in the slot after 0/4; if the student chooses the incorrect slot, one possible answer will be eliminated, leaving only one possibility left to choose from 2. Aim and jump to kick open the gate, 3. Get through maze and avoid lava, 4. Avoid floating hot lava rock by strategically hopping through maze, 5. Obtain gems by jumping directly to their location, 6. Strategically jump to ideal location to unlock the next gate, 7. Match pie chart to correct slot again, 8. Aim for target and jump, 9. Land on the exit sign

*The game has recently been updated; the picture below is of the updated version; I analyzed an earlier version.

patterns of success in strong stem education games
Patterns of Success in Strong STEM Education Games
  • Skills and content are merged with gameplay
  • using a hypothesis, a strategy, and problem-solving techniques when facing challenges
  • multisensory cues
  • highly interactive
  • player’s challenges are given at a level they are ready for, in their zone of proximal development
benefits of evaluation models
Benefits of Evaluation Models
  • Games may be taken more seriously as effective learning environments
  • May lead us in a direction of making better games
    • More students may play
    • May increase retention in STEM
      • Effective games will be better known
questions to explore
Questions to Explore
  • Can a qualitative and quantitative test converge to the same answer to support whether a given game is an effective learning medium?
  • Can the Delphi method be used?
evaluation steps
Evaluation Steps
  • First, examine each goal presented in game
    • Allows closer analysis
    • Promotes curriculum with increased time on task
  • Second, rate each goal according to Bloom’s Taxonomy
  • Third, compile data for quantitative analysis
  • Fourth, qualitatively analyze
  • Fifth, compare game evaluation data to determine each game’s comparative educational value
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