Document Type

Dissertation

Degree

Doctor of Philosophy

Major

Education, Teaching-Learning Processes

Date of Defense

12-13-2011

Graduate Advisor

Charles R. Granger, Ph.D.

Committee

Joseph Polman

Sonya Bahar

Randall Sommers

Cody Ding

Abstract

As the world continues to rapidly change, students are faced with the need to develop flexible skills, such as science reasoning that will help them thrive in the new knowledge economy. Prensky (2001), Gee (2003), and Van Eck (2007) have all suggested that the way to engage learners and teach them the necessary skills is through digital games, but empirical studies focusing on popular games are scant. One way digital games, especially video games, could potentially be useful if there were a flexible and inexpensive method a student could use at their convenience to improve selected science reasoning skills. Problem-solving video games, which require the use of reasoning and problem solving to answer a variety of cognitive challenges could be a promising method to improve selected science reasoning skills. Using think-aloud protocols and interviews, a qualitative study was carried out with a small sample of college students to examine what impact two popular video games, Professor Layton and the Curious Village and Professor Layton and the Diabolical Box, had on specific science reasoning skills. The subject classified as an expert in both gaming and reasoning tended to use more higher order thinking and reasoning skills than the novice reasoners. Based on the assessments, the science reasoning of college students did not improve during the course of game play. Similar to earlier studies, students tended to use trial and error as their primary method of solving the various puzzles in the game and additionally did not recognize when to use the appropriate reasoning skill to solve a puzzle, such as proportional reasoning.

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Education Commons

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