NARST News I: Supercharged for Pre-service Teachers

| May 19, 2010

Today I am blogging from the National Association for Research in Science Teaching (NARST) conference in Philadelphia. I am at a presentation by Janice Anderson and Mike Barnett which deals with a pre service teacher experience to develop physics content knowledge using the game Supercharged! So the pre service teachers are acting as students learning physics.

A summary of what gameplay provided as seen by their results includes:
-allowed students to be in charge and experience force they showed while playing the game as well as in their writing (showed by saying using ‘i’ in reference to experiencing things)�
-gameplay supported student conversations related to physics content ( i.e.- force v distance)
-a possibility space to work through their misconceptions through experimenting within game.

Additional results of the participants Included:

-regardless of the activities both groups learned that the students with the game showed more significant gains.
– the experimental group (used game) performed better on post assessments and were better at explaining and discussing physics content�
– despite the experimental group out-performing the control group they rated what they knew lower than what the control group indicated.
– struggle to  see the game as an educational tool -just tell me the answer mentality. Use technologies in everyday life but miss seeing them as tools for learning— how do we fix this????

This last finding is very interesting to me and leads to ideas of potential opportunities for creating experiences for teachers to aid them in understanding how informal tools such as games can be learning applications.