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Title page for ETD etd-03272016-225022

Type of Document Dissertation
Author Krinks, Kara Danielle
URN etd-03272016-225022
Title Integrating Digital Games and Modeling in K-12 Science Classrooms
Degree PhD
Department Learning, Teaching and Diversity
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Douglas Clark Committee Chair
Gautum Biswas Committee Member
Pratim Sengupta Committee Member
Richard Lehrer Committee Member
  • science education
  • learning sciences
  • educational technology
  • digital games
  • teacher cognition
  • conceptual change
Date of Defense 2016-03-15
Availability unrestricted
In recent years, the field of science education has called for classroom instruction to be organized around engaging students in scientific practices, such as modeling. However, model-based instruction is often hindered by teachers’ limited understanding of and lack of experience with modeling and model-based reasoning. This three-paper dissertation investigates one possible way to address these challenges by using educational technologies, such as digital games, computational programming platforms and videos of real-world events, to promote the development of the epistemic and representational practice of modeling in K-12 science classrooms. The first paper addresses this issue by exploring how high-school physics teachers reason about non-traditional representations of physics phenomena through videos of real-world events and how they may use these representations in their instruction for modeling purposes. The second paper traces a student’s processes of knowledge construction as he played a conceptually-integrated digital game designed to support learning about Newtonian mechanics. It demonstrates how his developing understanding of deflections involved iterative refinement of conceptual understanding through a process known as distributed encoding and examines how students learned to reason about deflection by modeling trajectories in a game. The third paper examines how a disciplinarily-integrated game can be integrated with complementary model-based inquiries to support the development of modeling in science classrooms. It investigates some of the challenges associated with this pedagogical approach and identifies ways in which these types of modeling activities can enrich students’ conceptual development. As a set, this work contributes to the agenda of engaging and supporting students and teachers in the representational practice of scientific modeling though use of non-traditional representations. It explores how teachers make sense of and use such representations as tools to engage students in modeling through their instruction, illustrates how conceptual change can occur during through an iterative process of model development, evaluation, and revision during game play, and offers insights into the design of multiple complementary modeling activities, and their accompanying representational tools, that support productive student learning.
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