June 26, 2011
June 26, 2011
June 29, 2011
22.940.1 - 22.940.7
Empowering Students with Engineering Literacy and Problem-solving through Interactive Virtual Reality GamesABSTRACT “What does this problem ask” is an oft-repeated phrase of engineering students given a problem to solve. Although engineeringfaculty always strives to effectively teach problem solving, it seems that a deeper and underlying cause of the inefficacy is students’reading comprehension. Reading is a critical skill for students to perform well academically. However, many students are poorreaders, or have difficulty understanding expository texts . The serious problems in students’ comprehension ability pervadecontent areas like engineering. Indeed, the fact that the United States lags behind the world in technological innovation  mayreflect students’ limitations in reading as much as their knowledge of engineering and scientific contents and procedures. Researchhas shown that providing students with explicit reading strategy instructions improves their comprehension and learning . Over the past several years, cyber-infrastructure has emerged as an important framework for the current and future conduct ofscience and engineering, improving scholarly productivities and enabling breakthroughs not otherwise possible . In particular,collaboration and communication in a visualization environment, including VR based games, simulations and modeling, provide aubiquitous virtual learning environment for students. The pervasiveness of these technologies, coupled with informal educationinitiatives, has positively impacted where and how individuals learn. Through networked educational environments, individualscan now obtain 24/7 learning on-demand. VR-based games clearly motivate users in ways that much conventional instruction,including online non-routine challenge problems, does not . Virtual reality can help transform negative or fearful perceptionsof science and engineering, helping learners to reason scientifically about naturally-occurring and human influenced events. Somehave observed  that game players learn implicitly in the context of playing games, and are motivated to continue learningoutside of the game in order to improve their game play. Simulations and models help provide insights into scientific conceptsand phenomena [7, 8]. Difficult abstract concepts and large data sets can be accessed in ways that are more visual, interactive, andconcrete. As such, simulations and models, and the games that incorporate them, have much to offer throughout a student’slearning experience. Motivated by these general remarks, the work presented in this paper designs a VR game system that infuses meta-cognitivereading strategies into fully packed Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) curriculum, particularly in the context of morespecific ECE knowledge domains: digital design and circuit analysis. The overarching goal of the work is to provide students anattractive and motivating environment for tackling engineering design in general, and to impart essential reading and reasoningstrategies in promoting improved problem-solving skills, in particular. The details of the meta-cognitive reading interventions andthe VR game modules are presented as a work in progress. REFERENCES Bowen, B. A., “Four puzzles in adult literacy: Reflections on the national adult literacy survey,” Journal of Adolescent and Adult Literacy, 42, 314-323, 1999. http://www.engineeringk12.org/Engineering_in_the_K-12_Classroom.pdf. Stothard, S. E. and Hulme, C., “A comparison of reading comprehension and decoding difficulties in children,” Cornoldi C. and Oakhill J. (Eds.), Reading Comprehension Difficulties, pp. 93-112, 1996, Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum. Atkins, D. E., K. K. Droegemeier, S. I. Feldman, H. Garcia-Molina, M. L. Klein, D. G. Messerschmitt, P. Messina, J. P. Ostriker and M. H. Wright, 2003. Revolutionizing Science and Engineering through Cyberinfrastructure: Report of the National Science Foundation Blue-Ribbon Advisory Panel on Cyberinfrastructure. Arlington, VA; National Science Foundation, 84 p. Yee, N. (2006). The Demographics, Motivations and Derived Experiences of Users of Massively-Multiuser Online Graphical Environments. PRESENCE: Teleoperators and Virtual Environments, 15, 309-329. Salen, K., & Zimmerman, E. (2003). Rules of play: Game design fundamentals. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. DiSessa, A. (2000). Changing minds: computers, learning, and literacy. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. Frederiksen, J. R., White, B.Y., & Gutwill, J. (1999). Dynamic mental models in learning science: The importance of constructing derivational linkages among models. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 36(7), 806-836.
Tang, Y., & Shetty, S., & Chen, X. (2011, June), Interactive Virtual Reality Games to Teaching Circuit Analysis with Metacognitive and Problem-Solving Strategies Paper presented at 2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Vancouver, BC. 10.18260/1-2--18299
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