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Impact of an Engineering Design Serious Game on Student Learning in a K-12 Curriculum

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2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Indianapolis, Indiana

Publication Date

June 15, 2014

Start Date

June 15, 2014

End Date

June 18, 2014



Conference Session

K-12 and Precollege Engineering Curriculum and Programming Resources, Part 2 of 2

Tagged Division

K-12 & Pre-College Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

24.694.1 - 24.694.12



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Paper Authors


Pramod Rajan Laboratory for Innovative Technology & Engineering Education (LITEE)

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Pramod Rajan got his bachelor's in mechatronics engineering from Bharathiar University, India, in 2004 and is pursuing his Ph.D. in mechanical engineering at Auburn University, where he is working with the Laboratory for Innovative Technology and Engineering Education (LITEE). His research focuses on the development and testing of innovative instructional materials such as case studies, smart scenarios, and serious games to improve student learning in engineering classes.

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P.K. Raju Laboratory for Innovative Technology & Engineering Education (LITEE)

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Dr. Raju is the Thomas Walter Distinguished Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Auburn University. He is the co-founder and director of the NSF-funded Laboratory for Innovative Technology and Engineering Education (LITEE). LITEE recently has been recognized by the National Academy of Engineering for successfully infusing real-world experiences into undergraduate engineering education. He is also the founder and director of the Auburn Engineering Technical Assistance Program (AETAP).
Dr. Raju has made significant research contributions in engineering education and innovations in acoustics, noise control, nondestructive evaluation, and technology transfer, resulting in award-winning and significant breakthroughs. He has received a total of $12 million in funding, including grants from industries, the United Nations, the National Science Foundation, NIST, NIH, EDA, and other U.S. and international agencies. He has published 24 books, eight book chapters, and 200 papers in journals and conference proceedings. He has received several awards for his teaching, research, and outreach work from INEER, NASA, NSF, ASME, ASEE, Auburn University, and others. He served as an United Nations and UNDP expert, and held invited professorships at the Université Bordeaux I, Talence, and Université Du Havre, Le Harve, France, Purdue University, and Technical University of Berlin,Germany. He is Fellow of ASEE, the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, the Institution of Engineers (India), and the Acoustical Society of India. He is the editor-in-chief of the Journal of STEM Education: Innovations and Research.

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John Timothy Gill Lee-Scott Academy

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John Gill is a physics and chemistry teacher at Lee-Scott Academy in Auburn, Ala. He is pursuing a master of arts degree in teaching secondary science at the University of West Alabama, and has bachelor's degrees in chemistry and computer science from Columbus State University. Prior to teaching, Mr. Gill spent 15 years working in various roles in the chemical and IT industries.

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Impact of Engineering Design Serious Game on Student Learning in K-12 Technology EducationAbstract There is a call to significantly enhance the learning and teaching of science, technology,engineering and mathematics (STEM) by preK-12 students and teachers, through research anddevelopment of innovative resources, models and tools [1]. There is also a need to infuseengineering content and design principles for student learning into diverse K-12 technologyeducation [2, 3]. Nolan Bushnell, Founder of Atari, father of the video game industry says, “Ifwe can integrate games within learning across the curriculum we can make education the propercompetition for our children’s minds.” BBC factual entertainment states that “People learnthrough games. 99% of boys and 97% of girls aged between 12-17 play video games.” In asurvey conducted in the United States with 25,544 teachers, 65% of teachers were interested inthe use of games in the classroom [4]. Serious games can be used for education at all levels, from preschool and elementaryschool, through middle school and high school, into higher education, and even into the jobmarket. This paper discusses the implementation of the engineering design serious game to agroup of senior level high school students. The main objective of the game is to teach theengineering design process to the students in a fun gaming environment. The serious game hasdifferent levels (tutorial, water tower level & train bridge level) and progressions. The game usesa tower building simulation as an example to explain the design process and to assess theirunderstanding of the game. The goals (for example: minimum height, maximum cost, minimumload) of the game are clearly defined at the beginning of each level. After learning theengineering design process through the serious game, the students work on a hands-on designproject applying the design process. The effectiveness of the serious game is examined through aconvergent parallel mixed methods approach [5]. The quantitative data will be analyzed using anexpanded 3P model [6], the 4P model (presage, pedagogy, process, and product). This modelprovides a theoretical framework for the evaluation questions that guide the qualitative study.The questions focus on students’ perceptions of the value and nature of serious game and theeffectiveness of the serious game in achieving student-learning outcomes. A team of externalresearchers will collect qualitative data from students through open-ended surveys and focusgroups. Analysis of the data from both a quantitative and qualitative perspective is expected toprovide a set of findings. The results of this project can contribute to understanding whetherserious games facilitate students’ deep learning about the concept of design process.References 1. National Science Foundation, (2013). 2. Gattie, D. K., & Wicklein, R. C. (2007). Curricular value and instructional needs for infusing engineering design into K-12 technology education, Journal of Educational Technology, Vol. 19 no.1. 3. Hailey, C., Erekson, T., Becker, K., & Thomas, M. (2005). National Center for Engineering and Technology Education. The Technology Teacher. 64(5) 23-26. 4. Project Tomorrow, (2008). Speak Up 2007 for Students, Teachers, Parents & School Leaders Selected National Findings - April 8, 2008. Retrieved from 5. Creswell, J. W. (2013). Research design: Qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods approaches. Sage Publications, Incorporated pp 219-224. 6. Biggs, J.B., Moore, P.J. (1993). The process of learning (3rd edition). Prentice Hall, Sydney.

Rajan, P., & Raju, P., & Gill, J. T. (2014, June), Impact of an Engineering Design Serious Game on Student Learning in a K-12 Curriculum Paper presented at 2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Indianapolis, Indiana. 10.18260/1-2--20586

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