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Gestural Articulations of Embodied Spatiality: What Gestures Reveal about Students’ Sense-Making of Charged Particle Dynamics in a 3D Game World

Lai Har Judy Lee and Yam San Chee
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Lai Har Judy Lee: National Institute of Education, Singapore
Yam San Chee: National Institute of Education, Singapore

International Journal of Gaming and Computer-Mediated Simulations (IJGCMS), 2013, vol. 5, issue 4, 17-47

Abstract: The work described in this paper is part of a design-based research involving the use of a game-based learning curriculum to foster students' understanding of physics concepts and principles governing the motion of charged particles in electric and magnetic fields. Students engaged in game-play and discussed the dynamics of the charged particles within the 3D game environment. The discussion sessions were video-recorded and an analysis was carried out on the gestures used by a group of students attempting to generalize their observations of the phenomena. The students’ gestures were analyzed to gain insights on their embodied sense-making of charged particle dynamics. The analysis showed that the students used gestures to (1) establish a shared frame of reference, (2) enact embodied game experience, and (3) enable the development of new understanding that surpasses their own existing vocabulary. Implications are discussed with regard to how teachers may take students’ gestures into account when facilitating the development of concepts with a strong visuo-spatial core.

Date: 2013
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