Salt Lake City, Utah
June 23, 2018
June 23, 2018
July 27, 2018
Pre-College Engineering Education
This paper will present the implementation of Imaginative Education (IE) pedagogy for creating a transmedia learning environment that engages children in engineering design. Cited in How People Learn and the literature on supporting transfer, IE uses narrative to engage learners’ imaginations; helps them master the cognitive tools necessary for progressing to higher levels of understanding; and helps them structure what they learn in meaningful ways.
Included in the paper will be an overview of the online learning environment that we have developed for middle school children. Funded by the National Science Foundation, all elements of the website were developed using IE pedagogy. The website includes an illustrated young adult novel and an audiobook in which fictional characters learn about engineering concepts while solving a mystery. It also includes interactive, multimedia learning adventures that tie into the novel.
The focus of the paper will be showing how IE pedagogy was used to create the "Trapped in Time" learning adventure. In this adventure users accompany characters from the novel who are trapped in a cave below a spooky house. Here they meet a time machine that transports them back in time. During their travels, they learn about the design cycle by interacting with Edison and Tesla as they debate the electrification of Chicago and by helping NASA engineers save the Apollo 13 astronauts. Finally, the users help the characters apply what they have learned to design a creative way out of the cave. Included in the adventure are an interactive graphic novel that frames the story, numerous videos, an online journal and several games and puzzles that the users need to solve to complete the story. Throughout the adventure the terminology and engineering content are carefully aligned with the Next Generation Science Standards.
During the 2016-17 school year 14 middle and elementary schools and 30 afterschool programs used the website. Data collected by an external evaluator examining the impact of this approach on student attitudes and learning will be presented in the paper. Surveys and focus groups indicated improved attitudes towards engineering and increased STEM identify. Matched pre- and post-tests indicated an improved ability to apply engineering design concepts after completing the adventure.
Ellis, G. W., & Huff, I., & Rudnitsky, A., & McGinnis-Cavanaugh, B., & Ellis, S. K. (2018, June), Engaging Children in Design Thinking Through Transmedia Narrative (RTP) Paper presented at 2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Salt Lake City, Utah. https://peer.asee.org/30395
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