1. James Laffey
  2. http://sislt.missouri.edu/author/laffeyj/
  3. Professor
  5. School of Informal Science & Learning Technologies, University of Missouri
  1. Justin Sigoloff
  2. Narrative Lead
  4. University of Missouri

Mission HydroSci

Dept of Ed Award #: i3-U411C140081

2015 (see original presentation & discussion)

Grades 6-8

The MHS project seeks to design, develop and evaluate a game-based 3D virtual learning environment (3D VLE) for teaching and learning in blended or distance education. MHS targets middle school students in small and rural schools learning hydrologic systems and scientific argumentation. A four-cycle design and development process will include usability, usage, feasibility and pilot testing.
There are 5 project goals: 1) Develop a game-based 3D VLE for learning hydrologic systems and scientific argumentation. 2) Develop learning analytics system to provide in-game assessment and feedback to students and enable teacher monitoring and efficacy to intervene as needed. 3) Provide teacher professional development and support to ensure effective implementation. 4) Deliver and evaluate MHS in partner schools. And, 5) build new knowledge about game-based learning, analytics and teacher support for effective VLE. The project outcomes include increased student interest in technology and science, water systems and argumentation competencies, and meeting NGSS, as well as high levels of teacher efficacy.
The short video introduces viewers to the game-like context we anticipate developing for our learners and shows early prototypes of the virtual environment that the students will use to explore water systems and build capacity for scientific agumentation.

This video has had approximately 394 visits by 339 visitors from 117 unique locations. It has been played 198 times.
activity map thumbnail Click to See Activity Worldwide
Map reflects activity with this presentation from the 2015 Teaching & Learning Video Showcase website, as well as the STEM For All Multiplex website.
Based on periodically updated Google Analytics data. This is intended to show usage trends but may not capture all activity from every visitor.
show more
Original Discussion from the 2015 Teaching & Learning Video Showcase
  • Icon for: Kevin Brown

    Kevin Brown

    May 11, 2015 | 10:38 a.m.

    Very inspirational opening…I want to play myself! With the current severe droughts in Texas and California, I’m wondering if the game is meant to take a systems-level approach by showing how changes in one system (e.g. global warming) can impact another system (e.g. aquifer or ground water levels)? Also, can the game incorporate the human impact on hydrologic systems by building in the effects of population, agriculture, conservation, etc.? Perhaps this would make the game more scaleable to students in urban schools? I know I’m probably asking too much of one game, but I see so much potential here to teach multiple concepts!

  • Icon for: Zenaida Aguirre Munoz

    Zenaida Aguirre Munoz

    Associate Professor
    May 11, 2015 | 11:18 p.m.

    Very cool. Can you provide more information about how you will teach students scientific argumentation and how the system will determine if they’ve mastered this very complex skill or not?

  • Icon for: James Laffey

    James Laffey

    Lead Presenter
    May 12, 2015 | 09:04 a.m.

    Zenaida, Thanks for viewing the video and for your question. We are using Osborne’s 10 levels of argumentation as a framework for the performances and expectations of what the students will learn. The game scaffolds their learning these levels by having NPCs model the behavior and by having structures to support visualizing and representing these levels. The players must perform argumentation to advance in the game and we will use markers of these performances as embedded assessments. My colleagues, Troy Sadler and Will Romine, are also working on assessment instruments that we can use in a pre and post manner to judge the impact of game play on these competencies. regards!!

  • Icon for: James Laffey

    James Laffey

    Lead Presenter
    May 12, 2015 | 08:58 a.m.

    Thanks for your comment….we want to play the game as well! We are not explicitly addressing systems thinking but obviously the players will be working with systems and see implications as well as need to manage implications. We do plan to include the human element as the players first are charged with harvesting water from space but eventually learn that it is not feasible and then move to first steps of colonization. We are still working out the storyline to match with learning objectives and potential technology capabilities that we can harness and deliver.

    And yes….while we target students in rural and small schools who may be dependent on online and distance learning for some aspects of high quality science ed….we also plan and expect that the game will be appropriate and engaging for kids in urban settings and in more traditional educational contexts. regards!!

  • Icon for: Joni Falk

    Joni Falk

    May 12, 2015 | 11:58 a.m.

    I also loved the intro… . How does the game advance users based on the level or sophistication of their argumentation? Does the system provide feedback on what a more complex argument would look like. So really I am trying to understand the theory of how a student learns to make more sophisticated arguments through this? Also where are you in your development? Have you field tested anything yet? What have you learned? Any surprises? Very exciting. I look forward to seeing the finished deal!

  • Icon for: James Laffey

    James Laffey

    Lead Presenter
    May 12, 2015 | 05:52 p.m.

    Joni, we are at the beginning. Last year (unfunded) we had a small team of students and faculty working on mockups and conceptualizations. We learned we were funded in december and started Jan 1, 2015.

    I think the best way to answer your question is that the system provides challenges to address more complex argumentative tasks. Early levels simply ask players to match claims and evidence while later levels require students to provide warrants for claims and then later levels require addressing competing claims, etc. The students learn from modeling, opportunities and feedback. Hope that helps answer your question. Regards!

  • Icon for: Deborah Kariuki

    Deborah Kariuki

    May 13, 2015 | 01:50 a.m.

    Gamification as a method of learning is very interesting. For sure students will be motivated and engaged when they can “play” while learning. How to you assess the skills that the students are learning, who updates the scenario for the concepts that the teacher/instructor is conveying to the students. This is going to be interesting when it is field tested; I look forward to learning more of what you get form both the educators and the students and how it is modifiable to meet or tackle other learning skills.

  • Icon for: James Laffey

    James Laffey

    Lead Presenter
    May 13, 2015 | 08:15 a.m.

    Hi Deborah, I agree that “it is going to be interesting” We are really looking forward to this opportunity to create a great game for learning. I don’t think of what we are doing as gamification. Gamification generally means (to me) taking traditional tasks and adding game features like points for achievements, etc. What we are doing is creating something new that leverages the knowledgebases both from games and from learning environments. We think something like MHS will require new ways of working for teachers so we are also working to understand what that will mean and how we can best support it. Thanks for your comments.

  • Icon for: Deborah Kariuki

    Deborah Kariuki

    May 14, 2015 | 06:21 a.m.

    Thanks for clarifying gamification from your perspective as regards to what you are doing here with this system. I am intrigued and will certainly check back to see what the data is saying and how you will adjust to support the teachers wishing to take this challenge on new ways of teaching in using games.

  • Further posting is closed as the event has ended.

Multiplex Discussion
  • Post to the Discussion

    Presenters and Facilitators, please login before contributing to the discussion.



    NOTE: Your email will be kept private and will not be shared with any 3rd parties