The Heat Game: An Augmented Reality Game for Scientific Literacy

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Rees, Carol
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If we are ever to achieve the goal of redirecting scientific investigation and technological development along more environmentally and socially responsible lines we need to provide students with an opportunity not only to understand information generated through scientific inquiry and technological innovation, but also to understand something of the processes and possible costs and consequences of this work. This kind of understanding might be best achieved by allowing students to gain experience in the real world of science and technology, working to solve real-world challenges and reflecting upon environmental and societal impacts, but such a real world setting is difficult to reproduce in a classroom. This study utilizes an augmented reality game called the Heat Game to provide a simulation of such a science and technology world. The Heat Game is modeled on the augmented reality game Mad City Mysteries (Squire and Jan 2007). In the Heat Game student-participants role play junior professional scientists and engineers working as part of a team to design energy efficient housing. They correspond with virtual expert professionals on laptop computers while engaging in science inquiry and technological design work in the classroom. This preliminary study presents evidence that after participation in the Heat Game students develop some new understandings values and attitudes about the science process, how it is used to construct science knowledge, how science knowledge can be used for technological development; and how making 'wise' technological choices can lead to a reduction in human environmental impact.
Simulation games in education , Virtual reality in education , Computer games , Study and teaching (Middle school)