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Shifts in Student Motivation during Usage of a Multi-User Virtual Environment for Ecosystem Science

Shari Metcalf, Jason Chen, Amy Kamarainen, Kim Frumin, Trisha Vickrey, Tina Grotzer and Chris Dede
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Shari Metcalf: Harvard Graduate School of Education, Cambridge, MA, USA
Jason Chen: College of William & Mary, Williamsburg, VA, USA
Amy Kamarainen: Harvard Graduate School of Education, Cambridge, MA, USA
Kim Frumin: Harvard Graduate School of Education, Cambridge, MA, USA
Trisha Vickrey: University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Lincoln, NE, USA
Tina Grotzer: Harvard Graduate School of Education, Cambridge, MA, USA
Chris Dede: Harvard Graduate School of Education, Cambridge, MA, USA

International Journal of Virtual and Personal Learning Environments (IJVPLE), 2014, vol. 5, issue 4, 1-16

Abstract: In incorporating technology in science education, some have expressed concern that the value added by technology is primarily due to the novelty or excitement about using the devices, resulting in no lasting effect on student motivation or learning in science. This research addresses this concern through evaluation of student motivation during a two-week, multi-user virtual environment (MUVE)-based curriculum for middle school ecosystems science. Analysis of multiple surveys at the beginning, middle, and end of the curriculum found that students continued to find the activity engaging from beginning to end, while student value of its utility in helping them learn science increased significantly. Furthermore, while initial student engagement resided primarily at the technology interface level, with time and experience students became increasingly engaged in the student-led, collaborative inquiry experiences afforded by the embedded scientific investigation.

Date: 2014
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