Asee peer logo

Board # 117 : Developing a Framework to Better Engage students in STEM via Game Design: Findings from Year 1

Download Paper |

Conference

2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition

Location

Columbus, Ohio

Publication Date

June 24, 2017

Start Date

June 24, 2017

End Date

June 28, 2017

Conference Session

NSF Grantees Poster Session

Tagged Topic

NSF Grantees Poster Session

Page Count

10

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/27702

Download Count

132

Request a correction

Paper Authors

biography

Rachael Paige Shemran Arizona State University

visit author page

Rachael Sherman is a graduate student in the Sustainable Engineering program in the School of Sustainable Engineering and the Built Environment. She graduated from Clemson University in the Spring of 2016 and joined ASU to pursue her PhD in August 2016.

visit author page

biography

Renee M Clark University of Pittsburgh

visit author page

Renee M. Clark serves as research assistant professor focusing on assessment and evaluation within the University of Pittsburgh’s Swanson School of Engineering and its Engineering Education Research Center (EERC), where her interests focus on active and experiential learning. She has 25 years of experience as an engineer and analyst, having worked most recently for Walgreens and General Motors/Delphi Automotive in the areas of data analysis, IT, and manufacturing. She received her PhD in Industrial Engineering from the University of Pittsburgh and her MS in Mechanical Engineering from Case Western while working for Delphi. She completed her postdoctoral studies in engineering education at the University of Pittsburgh.

visit author page

biography

Melissa M. Bilec University of Pittsburgh

visit author page

Dr. Bilec is an associate professor in the Swanson School of Engineering’s Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. Dr. Bilec’s research program focuses on the built environment, life cycle assessment, sustainable healthcare, and energy impacts. She is interested in improving system-level environmental performance of buildings, while developing a deeper understanding of indoor environmental quality, occupant impacts, and energy use. She is the Principal Investigator of a multi-disciplinary and multi-institutional research project, NSF EFRI-Barriers, Understanding, Integration – Life cycle Development (BUILD). As the associate director of education outreach in the Mascaro Center for Sustainable Innovation, Pitt’s center for green design, she translates research to community outreach programs and develops sustainable engineering programs for K-12 education.

visit author page

biography

Amy E. Landis Clemson University

visit author page

Dr. Landis joined Clemson in June 2015 as the Thomas F. Hash ’69 Endowed Chair in Sustainable Development. Previously, she was an Associate Professor at Arizona State University in the School of Sustainable Engineering and the Built Environment. She began her career as an Assistant Professor at the University of Pittsburgh, after having obtained her PhD in 2007 from the University of Illinois at Chicago under the supervision of Dr. Thomas L. Theis. She has developed a research program in sustainable engineering of bioproducts. Her research ranges from design of systems based on industrial ecology and byproduct synergies, life cycle and sustainability assessments of biopolymers and biofuels, and design and analysis of sustainable solutions for healthcare. Since 2007, she has lead seven federal research projects and collaborated on many more, totaling over $7M in research, with over $12M in collaborative research. At ASU, Dr. Landis continues to grow her research activities and collaborations to include multidisciplinary approaches to sustainable systems with over 60 peer-reviewed publications. Dr. Landis is dedicated to sustainability engineering education and outreach; she works with local high schools, after school programs, local nonprofit organizations, and museums to integrate sustainability and engineering into K-12 and undergraduate curricula.

visit author page

biography

Kristen Parrish Arizona State University

visit author page

Kristen Parrish is an Assistant Professor in the School of Sustainable Engineering and the Built Environment at Arizona State University (ASU). Kristen’s work focuses on integrating energy efficiency measures into building design, construction, and operations processes. Specifically, she is interested in novel design processes that financially and technically facilitate energy-efficient buildings. Her work also explores how principles of lean manufacturing facilitate energy-efficiency in the commercial building industry. Another research interest of Kristen’s is engineering education, where she explores how project- and experience-based learning foster better understanding of engineering and management principles. Prior to joining ASU, Kristen was at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) as a Postdoctoral Fellow (2009-11) and then a Scientific Engineering Associate (2011-2012) in the Building Technologies and Urban Systems Department. She worked in the Commercial Buildings group, developing energy efficiency programs and researching technical and non-technical barriers to energy efficiency in the buildings industry. She has a background in collaborative design and integrated project delivery. She holds a BS and MS in Civil Engineering from the University of Michigan and a PhD in Civil Engineering Systems from University of California Berkeley.

visit author page

Download Paper |

Abstract

Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) teaching strategies that engage students and create an atmosphere of community are desperately needed to recruit, retain, and best prepare students in STEM fields to address challenges facing the 21st Century. Research shows that student performance and persistence in a STEM degree is associated primarily with three aspects of their experience: intellectual engagement and achievement, motivation (e.g., having role models), and identification with a STEM field (e.g., developing meaningful relationships, being part of the community). While there is a large body of work about pedagogies and strategies that address these needs (e.g., active learning, experiential learning, service learning, flipped classrooms, etc.), the majority of university instructors are slow to adopt new teaching strategies. Most STEM faculty were never trained to be teachers, and there are many well documented reasons that faculty are slow to change teaching habits (e.g., Frederick, 1986). According to Sarason and Banbury (2004), “many faculty accept the premises of active learning but do not have adequate tools to bring active learning techniques into the classroom.”

Games and game-based learning have been used in many classrooms as an active learning strategy. Game-based learning is a well-documented method to engage and motivate students with course material in order to improve student-learning outcomes. One very successful and popular game is Clarkson University’s Energy Choices board game (see box on p. 3). This award-winning board game teaches concepts of energy; research shows that when game play was integrated into the curriculum, this game was shown to increase desired cognitive (e.g., documented improvements to math and science achievement scores) and affective (e.g., student interest and confidence in STEM) outcomes. In addition, the Energy Choices board game is widespread. Using Energy Choices as inspiration, we are developing a framework for integrating game design into civil engineering and construction management curriculum that makes it easier to develop and publish games like Energy Choices.

We are developing a set of game design approaches for use in the classroom that promote high levels of student engagement, create a sense of community, improve student metacognition, increase student retention in STEM, all the while being easily transferable and scalable. This poster describes how we have piloted game design in our courses and elucidates characteristics of successful approaches to game design and game play in civil engineering and construction courses. By involving students in game play and game design, we not only better engage students, we also create community and drive students to higher levels of metacognition. We have also found that following game play with game design easily moves students up the cognitive dimension of Bloom’s taxonomy, from merely understanding, to reflection, creation, and evaluation. Board games and role-playing games are formats that create community; students interact with one another over intellectual, enjoyable, and memorable shared experiences. We have found that board game play engages 100% of students in our classroom compared to other types of active learning strategies. And finally, board games and role-playing games are an ideal format because any faculty or student can easily modify them. This poster presents our project results to date and provides recommendations and resources to adopt game design in civil engineering and construction courses nationwide.

Shemran, R. P., & Clark, R. M., & Bilec, M. M., & Landis, A. E., & Parrish, K. (2017, June), Board # 117 : Developing a Framework to Better Engage students in STEM via Game Design: Findings from Year 1 Paper presented at 2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Columbus, Ohio. https://peer.asee.org/27702

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2017 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015