ASU Online to pilot environmental science games

These game-based simulations, developed by Toolwire, contain a variety of interactive features, including the ability to download informational Digital Learning Objects, take notes and respond to reflection questions using “day-in-the-life” tools in the game, such as mobile phones and emails.

The interactive games use a sophisticated software that was co-created with ASU’s Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering to challenge students to think critically about a series of real-life environmental dilemmas. As in real life, there are no “right” or “wrong” answers, so students must make choices that balance what’s best for the environment and the community.

At the end of each module, students and instructors receive a “performance summary” dashboard with a “resources viewed” metric. These indicators show both students and their instructors the quality of student decisions based on how they impacted environmental, economic and social sustainability, as well as how motivated students were to explore and find resources to inform their decisions.

“We put a great deal of consideration into our online courses to ensure they’re interesting and engaging for online learners,” said Frank Timmes, professor in the School of Earth and Space Exploration. “ASU is committed to integrating experiential learning opportunities into our online programs through game-based learning and simulation tools that provide students with real-world, hands-on skills.”

Game-based learning, among the top developments in education technology, involves immersing students in games where content and curricula are experienced in contextual simulations.

Benefits of game-based learning include providing scalable, engaging and personalized student experiences; holistic interdisciplinary learning; real time assessment; dynamic remediation; and performance analytics.

Material from a press release was used in this report.

Laura Ascione

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