American people value “play” and “playtime” for children a lot. And Asian people have the stereotype of diligent attitude in schools, so the average performance in STEM is higher in Asian countries. We came across an interesting article, written by Tom Segal, gave the observation and suggestion of leveraging the emphasis on “play”: Gamification in the Scientific Process.
The solution is not to draw on Asia’s example but to alter and adopt policies that seize on the American way of learning and stimulate interest in math and science. The way forward is to use the emphasis our country places on playtime and integrate that atmosphere into the classroom.
And, he said:
The term for such is “gamification”, usually referring to, say, an app that will reward you with a digital gold-star for trying out a new restaurant. At its highest level, though, gamification is simply the recognition that any system with rules can be considered a game and any game can be played. Governance is a game, a so-called “nomic” game that modifies it’s own rules. Language is a game, said the great philosopher of games Ludwig Wittgenstein, as are: “…Giving orders, and obeying them–Describing the appearance of an object, or giving its measurements — Constructing an object from a description (a drawing)–Reporting an event–Speculating about an event–…” etc. Games are pervasive.
So, how to play scientist?
Enter here the LARP, or “live action role playing,” once (maybe) the purview of men in parks with foam swords, it has become a kind of existential experiment in the hands of some Nordic game designers…
He gave some examples to explain how to make learning science and math playful by role-playing games. Science and math are rarely associated with play, let alone fun. But like Stuart Brown wrote, in childhood, play is how we gain an understanding of the working world: “children do so initially by imagining possibilities-simulating what might be, and then testing this against what actually is.” This statement bares a remarkable resemblance to basic science.
In our recent post: 40 Sites for Free and Quality Science Learning Games, many games have utilized this role-playing style to stimulate the inquiry and interest to learn. Take a look at:
Powerofresearch.eu is a free online 3D game and also a longterm strategy game where you follow the correct procedures of scientific research, develop your findings, publish your work and build up your reputation as one of the world’s leading scientists. Play the game directly in your browser, there is no scientific pre-knowledge needed. Choose one of thousands of different research topics, you can find all background information about the research areas and all the skills of your researcher in the virtual library. The game is supported by five Nobel Laureates and other famous researchers.
Mission Biotech is an interesting and fun virtual environment, first person adventure game using 3D graphics. It takes place in the virtual National Laboratory for Biotechnology and Bioinformatics (NLBB). Players are biotechnologists and have to diagnose a deadly virus that is turning into a pandemic.
Rice university Center for Technology in Teaching and Learning created several free quality online games according to middle school standards:
MedMyst teaches microbiology and the science method, it’s about hunting down infectious diseases
CSI: Web Adventure is just like the show, only you need to use your own brain to solve it. It’s from Rice University partnered with CBS, the American Academy of Forensic Sciences, and the National Science Foundation and it has highest quality graphics and features.
N-Squad lets you take on the role of a forensic scientist, work with other experts to solve an alcohol-related crimes.
Reconstructors is an interactive learning adventure investigating drugs of abuse and neuroscience.
Game-based learning is the perfect solution to save the dry process of learning science and math. Even beyond that, games provide authentic situations for learners to apply the knowledge or to exercise the skills needed in scientific process.