High-Tech Simulations Linked to Learning
Experts say digital games can help students grasp difficult concepts, but warn against seeing them as ‘silver bullet’ solutions.
To build on classroom experiments and lectures, Daniel Sweeney has his 9th grade earth science students act out scientific concepts on a 15-by-15-foot mat on the floor of the room. Object-tracking cameras mounted on scaffolding around the space collect data based on the students’ movements while immersing them in the experience through a video projector and speakers, which provide visual and audio feedback in real time.
The Situated Multimedia Arts Learning Lab, or SMALLab , which refers to the floor mat and trussing around it, is being used only at the 1,360-student Coronado High School in Scottsdale, Ariz., for now. A second one is in the works as part of a new school, called Quest to Learn , that is scheduled to open in New York City in the fall.
The program is part of a growing movement in schools to incorporate digital games and simulations into classrooms as a tool for raising achievement and preparing students for the technological challenges ahead of them. But the jury is still out on the link between...
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