How effective is the computer game model for teaching chemistry? Kermin Joel Martínez-Hernández Gabriela C. Weaver Department of Chemistry Chemical Education Division Purdue University
Overview: • Student feedback about game playing. • What makes the students adept at playing with them. • Develop computer games for teachingchemistry concepts.
Prior Findings AboutGames in Education: • “PC games develop the curiosity to learn concepts" [Thomas and Macredie, in Amory, et al. (1999)]. • “PC games stimulated and motivated the students and provide a way to present microworlds to learners” [Rieber, (1996)]. • “PC games can be a positive feature of a healthy adolescence” [Durkin, et al. (2002)]
Goals: • Adapt the engaging and addictiveelements of commercial games to educational games that help students learn chemistry. • Develop PC games that can be used to teach chemistry. • Understand the cognitive processes that students undergo when they play computer games.
Research Questions for Overall Project: • What do students enjoy when they use computer games, and what factors motivate them to play? • How can we use games to teach chemistry? • Can students gain conceptual understanding from using a computer game environment?
Research Design: Phase I (Summer and Fall 2003): • Comparative study of 7 games. • Data Collection included: • Demographic Surveys • Survey about game play • Observations during game play • Interviews after each game played • Analyze data to examine the characteristics of games that are engaging and help students learn.
Research Design, cont.: Phase II (This Summer): • Students will play Chemicus in addition to attending their general chemistry class where the same concepts are taught. • Game players will be compared to a control group who carry out chemistry study activities, but do not play the game. • Pre and post content tests are used to asses changes in student understanding using chemistry-related games. • Think-aloud methods are used to monitor student activities during game play.
Research Design, cont.: Phase III (Fall 2004): • Use the findings from Phase I and II to develop new computer games with the goal of teaching chemistry topics. Phase IV: • Test the game with students to get their feedback about the game developed in Phase III. • Conduct a similar study as Phase II but with the developed game. • Verify student understanding and clarifications of misconceptions about chemistry topics inside the game.
Discussion Volunteers and students sample: • Students from different disciplines: • mathematics • engineering (freshman, civil, mechanical, and aerospace) • science (health sciences, computer sciences) • liberal arts Description of sessions: • Students play 4 (1 c.h.)or7 (2 c.h.) games for a total of 6 hours per game. • Complete a survey after1st hour of game playing andat the end of 6 hours. • Complete an interview with standardized open-ended questions (takes about 15 min.)
Games Evaluated 1st Person Shooter Strategy Role Playing Game (RPG) Chemicus Adventure (puzzle) Simulation (Flight/Action)
Phase I: Research Questions • What do students like and enjoy about PC Games? • What makes PC games addictive? • What are the characteristics of the game that are engaging and enjoyable for students?
Gender Comparison: 5=Completely Agree 1=Strongly Disagree Like strategy games Like war games Enjoy playing PC games Like educational games Play game as hobby
Interpretation Gender: • Males use computers more hours per week than females: 8.7 vs. 7.7 hours/week (p=.052). • Males play computer games more often: 5.9 vs. 2.7 times/week (p=.002).
Interpretation,cont. Likert Scale Questions: • 5=Strongly agree and 1=Completely disagree (p<.05) • Males enjoy playing PC games more: 4.8 vs. 4.2. • Males play PC games as a hobby: 4.7 vs. 2.5. • Females like educational games more: 3.3 vs. 2.5. • Males like war games more: 4.13 vs. 2.94 • Both prefer action/adventure games most. (Males 4.3 vs. Females 4.1).
Interpretation, cont. Ethnicity: • Hispanic use computers for more hours per week (9.0 vs. 8.1 hours/week; p<.01) • Not Hispanic play more computer games (7.5 vs. 7.0 times/week; p<.05)
“What makes a good PC game?” (WMGPC Survey)Likert Scale (5=Strongly Agree 1=Completely Disagree)
WMGPC Table 1. Student high and low responses (RED=Females high, BLUE=Males High)
Game Playing Survey (GPS)Likert Scale (5=Strongly Agree 1=Completely Disagree)
Interpretation of Data: • “What makes a good PC game?” Survey (WMGPC) • Overall Females prefer Age of Empires(Strategy). • Males prefer Neverwinter Nights(Role Playing Game) and Battlefield 1942 (1st Person Shooter). • Both dislike Flight Simulator (Simulation) and Chemicus (Action/Adventure).
Interpretation of Data,cont.: • Game Playing Survey (GPS): • Both prefer the sounds and graphics of Neverwinter Nights(RPG)(4.56 and 4.25) • Both prefer Age of Empires II(strategy) as type of game (4.44) (∆- Females). Males also like Neverwinter Nights(RPG)(4.44) • Females prefer the story line of Age of Empires(strategy), while Males like Neverwinter Nights(RPG). • Both agree that you need reflexes for Battlefield(1st person shooters) (Males 5.00 vs. Females 4.67).
Interpretation of Data,cont.: • Both think that you need problem solving skills for Chemicus(action/adventure-puzzle) (Males 4.67 vs. Females 4.47) • Both agree that the most challenging game was Chemicus(action/adventure-puzzle) (Males 4.40 and Females 4.35) • Females think that the most enjoyable game was Age of Empires II(strategy) and Males think that was Neverwinter Nights(RPG). However, Males also classify Battlefield as most enjoyable. • Both agree that Battlefield provides the greatest opportunity to improve with practice.
MANOVA (Multiple Analysis of Variances) Comparison of Game vs. Game per Question
Conclusions • Sounds and graphics, type of game, visualizations, and improvement with practice were important aspects for the students in the games. • Top 3 preferred game genres: • RPG: Neverwinter Nights • Strategy: Age of Empires II • 1st Person Shooter: Battlefield 1942 • Females preferred strategy games. • Males preferred role playing game.
Conclusions,cont. • A mixture of these two genre (RPG and strategy) is a good possibility to apply in a successful game. • Game designs that have a strong structureand energy were preferred by students. • Students dislikeChemicus, the chemistry related game. • Chemicusdoes not use the best game playing elements.
References Amory, A., Naicker, K., Vincent, J., & Adams, C. (1999). The use of computer games as an educational tool: identification of appropriate game types and game elements. British Journal of Educational Technology. 30 (4), 311-321. Durkin, K & Barber, B. (2002). No so doomed: computer game play and positive adolescent development. Applied Developmental Psychology.23, 374-392. Rieber, L. P. (1996). Seriously considering play: designing interactive learning environments based on the blending of microworlds, simulations, and games. Educational Technology, Research and Development. 44, 5-22.
Recommendations: • New games need to be developed to address chemistry concepts. • Further studies need to be conducted to determine why Chemicus does not provide a learning environment for the students. • More work needs to be performed to identify the cognitive process of students when learning occurs with using PC games.