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Board 96: Designing a Middle Grades Spatial Skills Curriculum in Minecraft

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Conference

2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition

Location

Tampa, Florida

Publication Date

June 15, 2019

Start Date

June 15, 2019

End Date

June 19, 2019

Conference Session

NSF Grantees Poster Session

Tagged Topic

NSF Grantees Poster Session

Page Count

5

DOI

10.18260/1-2--32469

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/32469

Download Count

150

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Paper Authors

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Nicholas Lux Montana State University Orcid 16x16 orcid.org/0000-0002-7434-0660

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Dr. Nicholas Lux has is an Associate Professor of Curriculum and Instruction in MSU’s Department of Education. His teaching and research interests are in the area of educational technology.  He has worked in the fields of K-12 and higher education for 18 years, and currently teaches in the Montana State University Teacher Education Program. He has experience in educational technology theory and practice in K-12 contexts and teacher education, with a focus on STEM teaching and learning, technology integration, online course design and delivery, program evaluation, and assessment. Dr. Lux’s current research agenda is STEM teaching and learning in K-12 contexts, technology integration in teacher preparation and K-12 contexts, educational gaming design and integration, and new technologies for teaching and learning.

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Brock J. LaMeres Montana State University

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Dr. Brock J. LaMeres is a Professor in the Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering at Montana State University (MSU) and the Director of the Montana Engineering Education Research Center (MEERC). LaMeres is also the Boeing Professor at MSU where he is responsible for initiatives to improve the professional skills of engineering graduates. LaMeres teaches and conducts research in the area of computer engineering. LaMeres is currently studying the effectiveness of online delivery of engineering content with emphasis on how the material can be modified to provide a personalized learning experience. LaMeres is also researching strategies to improve student engagement and how they can be used to improve diversity within engineering. LaMeres received his Ph.D. from the University of Colorado, Boulder. He has published over 90 manuscripts and 5 textbooks in the area of digital systems and engineering education. LaMeres has also been granted 13 US patents in the area of digital signal propagation. LaMeres is a member of ASEE, a Senior Member of IEEE, and a registered Professional Engineer in the States of Montana and Colorado. Prior to joining the MSU faculty, LaMeres worked as an R&D engineer for Agilent Technologies in Colorado Springs, CO where he designed electronic test equipment.

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Shannon D. Willoughby

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Bryce E. Hughes Montana State University Orcid 16x16 orcid.org/0000-0001-9414-394X

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Bryce E. Hughes is an Assistant Professor in Adult and Higher Education at Montana State University, and holds a Ph.D. in Higher Education and Organizational Change from the University of California, Los Angeles, as well as an M.A. in Student Development Administration from Seattle University and a B.S. in General Engineering from Gonzaga University. His research interests include teaching and learning in engineering, STEM education policy, and diversity and equity in STEM.

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Barrett Frank

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Abstract

A large body of research indicates that spatial ability is critical to success in STEM fields, and can predict success in STEM learning. Further, previous research suggests a gap exists between boys’ and girls’ spatial abilities and skill development. Even when their academic grades are similar, spatial visualization skills can be less developed in middle school girls than in boys. In an effort to address this gap, a portable training system based in the Minecraft gaming platform has been developed for upper elementary and middle school students for increasing their spatial reasoning skills. In particular, the ongoing study is focusing on gender differences in spatial reasoning and studying how learning experiences can be designed to develop spatial skills using Minecraft as a platform. Findings from this study will be of interest to educators interested in engaging, technology-based educational experiences focused on spatial skill development and increasing student motivation for STEM. The guiding research questions for this study include: (1) Does a Minecraft-based intervention that targets specific spatial reasoning tasks improve middle grade learners' spatial ability? (2) Does spatial skills growth differ by gender? To study the influence of the of the Minecraft-based, spatial intelligence training curriculum designed on spatial skills, the research team developed spatial skills puzzles in Minecraft that specifically target the rotation and 2d to 3d transformation spatial skills. Forty upper elementary and middle school students who identified as largely beginner Minecraft players attended a summer camp in late August 2018 focused on Minecraft and spatial skill development. Students completed the spatial skills puzzles, in addition to completing Minecraft design challenges and free play. The impact of the targeted activities on students’ spatial skills was measured using pre- and posttests developed from established instruments for measuring spatial intelligence. Data analysis is still underway, but preliminary findings indicate significant positive change in students’ mean scores for rotation and 2d to 3d transformation skills following the completion of the spatial skills puzzles. Efforts to develop spatial skill puzzles to address additional skills are currently underway and will be piloted this academic year. Full findings will be included in the final poster. This project is funded by the National Science Foundation under Award DRL- 1720801.

Lux, N., & LaMeres, B. J., & Willoughby, S. D., & Hughes, B. E., & Frank, B. (2019, June), Board 96: Designing a Middle Grades Spatial Skills Curriculum in Minecraft Paper presented at 2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Tampa, Florida. 10.18260/1-2--32469

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