Sunday, September 11, 2011

Cyberlearning with GeoGames

After many months of crossing fingers, holding thumbs (that's what we do in Sweden), and not counting the eggs until... We got NSF Cyberlearning support to develop and study learning with GeoGames! YAY! We will have two years to do exploratory, design-based research that develop our new Esri-technology platform into a learning tool and look at how learning happens within a GeoGames such as the 'Green revolution' scenario.

The broad goal will be to better understand the opportunities and obstacles presented by our GeoGames framework for role-play games/simulations. Under this portal we will look at some more specific questions about how people learn with integrated online GIS and gaming technology, such as:
  • what is a GeoGame? - key components and functionality that can help and guide others to develop similar technology
  • what does a GeoGame provide in terms of authentic experiences, student engagement, and higher-order thinking?
  • how does specific GeoGame affordances (access to rich geographic information, particular game mechanics, collaboration opportunities, etc) help/hinder learning?
Our fabulous team (me, Rajiv, Kathryn, and Andrew) will approach these questions using the pattern of design-based research (Barab & Squire, 2004) where we gathering data from users before, during, and after playing a game. By doing this repeatedly with each new version it will help both technical and content design improvements as well as to better understand how people learn using this technology.

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