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Role of Agricultural Simulation Games to Promote Youth-Adult Discussions Related to Agricultural Sustainability

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2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access


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Publication Date

June 22, 2020

Start Date

June 22, 2020

End Date

June 26, 2021

Conference Session

Biological and Agricultural Engineering Division Technical Session 1

Tagged Division

Biological and Agricultural Engineering

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Nathan C. Rice University of Nebraska, Lincoln Orcid 16x16

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Nathan Rice is a 4-H Youth Development Extension Educator located in the Panhandle of Nebraska. Currently he helps run the 4-H program in Scotts Bluff, Kimball, and Banner Counties of Nebraska. His emphasis is in STEM and entrepreneurship program development for K-12 students.

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Jennifer Keshwani University of Nebraska, Lincoln

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Jenny Keshwani is an Assistant Professor of Biological Systems Engineering and Science Literacy Specialist in the Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. She is active in promoting science and engineering education in both formal and informal settings through her research, extension, and outreach activities. Dr. Keshwani is actively engaged in several cross-disciplinary regional and national efforts related to STEM education and outreach. Most recently, she was part of a team that received NSF funding to engage youth in STEM through wearable technologies.

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Deepak R. Keshwani University of Nebraska, Lincoln

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Dr. Deepak Keshwani is an associate professor of Biological Systems Engineering at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. In addition to research in the area of bioprocess and biosystems modeling, Dr. Keshwani is engaged in teaching and advising students across two academic colleges and is involved in numerous campus-wide student success initiatives including leading a civic-engagement program for first-year students.

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Non-traditional teaching techniques have garnered significant research focus as educators strive to reach new generations of youth. Simulation games are one such approach that have been growing in frequency due to the potential for increased engagement associated with virtual environments. This paper investigated the role of agricultural simulation games to promote youth-adult discussions. In particular, answering if the added engagement of the game experience stimulated youth to have discussions with their parents/guardians related to the intended learning objectives. During the study, youth grades 7 to 12 played an irrigation management simulation game: Agpocalypse 2050. The primary learning objectives of the simulation were to introduce youth to agricultural STEM careers and agricultural sustainability. The scenario took place in a 3D environment that allowed youth to explore an agricultural world, interact with fictional STEM professionals, and navigate agricultural decisions through a lens of sustainability. Youth took part in a focus group one week following the intervention to identify if agricultural conversations between youth and their parents/guardians occurred due to the game. The results showed that all four youth had conversions with an adult/guardian and three out of four did so due to the engagement of the simulation. The findings of this research project illustrate that agricultural video games are a potential avenue to reach agricultural decision makers with sustainability practices through youth-adult discussions. Future studies are needed to overcome the limitations of a low sample size, and to discover the adults'/guardians' perspective of the conservation.

Rice, N. C., & Keshwani, J., & Keshwani, D. R. (2020, June), Role of Agricultural Simulation Games to Promote Youth-Adult Discussions Related to Agricultural Sustainability Paper presented at 2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual On line . 10.18260/1-2--35167

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