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Implementing and Integrating an Engineering Video Game into a Variety of Educational Contexts

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2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Tampa, Florida

Publication Date

June 15, 2019

Start Date

June 15, 2019

End Date

June 19, 2019

Conference Session

Engineering Design Process Activities with Secondary Students

Tagged Division

Pre-College Engineering Education

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Paper Authors


Michael Briscoe American Society of Naval Engineers

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I am the Educator-in-Residence at the American Society of Naval Engineers. ASNE was founded in 1888 for the betterment of naval engineers and the field of naval engineering. Today, that means that ASNE has an active, cutting-edge STEAM program based around a free naval engineering video game called FLEET. We are beginning to publish our findings on implementing an engineering video game across a variety of K-12 educational contexts. I also am ABD in Educational Psychology at George Mason University and I am Chief Education Officer at edMe Learning, a personalized learning company.

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Leigh S. McCue George Mason University

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Leigh McCue is an Associate Professor in George Mason University's Department of Mechanical Engineering. Dr. McCue received her BSE degree in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering in 2000 from Princeton University. She earned her graduate degrees from the University of Michigan in Aerospace Engineering (MSE 2001) and Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering (MSE 2002, PhD 2004).

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Dale A. Lumme American Society of Naval Engineers

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U.S. Naval Academy B.S. in Naval Engineering.
Master of Education, University of West Florida.
U.S. Navy Pilot, 1980-2005.
Government Relations Executive, Aliant Techsystems Inc. 2005-2010.
Co-Chairman NDIA-AIA, STEM Workforce Committee, 2006-2011.
National Executive Director, Navy League of the United States, 2010-2013
Chairman, Navy League STEM Institute, 2010-2013.
Maritime & Homeland Security Advisor, The Spectrum Group, 2013-2018.
Executive Director, Naval Historical Foundation 2018-2019.
Executive Director, American Society of Naval Engineers, 2019-present.

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Future Leaders in Experience-based Engineering & Technology (FLEET) engages students in the engineering design process through shipbuilding. This program is funded by the Office of Naval Research so all components of the program are free, and yet we found numerous challenges that required we adapt our implementation strategies. School-level challenges included teacher buy in, administrative support, and limited bandwidth for new programs. Initial student usability studies identified roadblocks that hindered students’ connection to the science content and engineering challenges. These challenges were fed into our video game design process and solved in subsequent versions.

These initial studies determined qualitatively that students were engaging with the video game but not actively connecting science concepts and vocabulary. We eventually determined key instructional strategies to move students from a gaming mindset to a STEM, and later a STEAM, mindset. We formalized these approaches in our middle- and high-school curricula that align to states’ science and reading standards. The curricula first require students to work collaboratively and establish their own engineering process. Then, students engage with scientific concepts like force and energy before applying that knowledge in FLEET’s physics simulator. Finally, students use FLEET in teams to design solutions to naval challenges. These FLEET capstone experiences engage students in 21st Century Skills, like collaboration and creativity, and truly integrate STEAM disciplines.

Post-FLEET surveys include 5-point, Likert-type items that found that students strongly agree/agree with these statements: “Participation in FLEET increased my interest in pursuing STEM” (71% of students, M = 2.80, SD = 0.84), “I would recommend FLEET to a friend” (83% of students, M = 3.04, SD = 0.76), and “Overall, I am satisfied with my decision to participate in FLEET (89% of students, M = 3.24, SD = 0.71). Data showed 39% of students strongly agree/agree with “Participation in FLEET increased my interest in pursuing a naval engineering career.” This question had the lowest mean rating (M = 2.30, SD = 0.963), but we did find that there was a significant relationship between students that found the software easy to use and students identifying an increase in interest in becoming a naval engineer (r = 0.33, p < 0.05). Chi-square analyses examining whether the amount of video game missions played affected answers to the Likert-type items found no significant relationships. And, we found no significant relationship between students’ STEM exposure and their attitudes toward the FLEET program.

We distill these analyses into three key findings: 1) there is promise in utilizing video games to teach physics concepts, 2) the quality of the video game matters (especially in encouraging STEM careers), and 3) students may not be attracted to the particular field of engineering but their experiences are still important for perceptions of STEM and STEM careers.

We are reporting on results now because we want to disseminate these implementation findings. We are continuing to collect data in the Winter and Spring and will add those analyses to this presentation.

Briscoe, M., & McCue, L. S., & Lumme, D. A. (2019, June), Implementing and Integrating an Engineering Video Game into a Variety of Educational Contexts Paper presented at 2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Tampa, Florida. 10.18260/1-2--32943

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