PRESS-NEWS.org - Press Release Distribution
PRESS RELEASES DISTRIBUTION

Game on! Instructional design researcher works to make learning fun

2011-02-16
(Press-News.org) It's a frustrating problem for many of today's parents: Little Jacob or Isabella is utterly indifferent to schoolwork during the day but then happily spends all evening engrossed in the latest video game.

The solution isn't to banish the games, says one Florida State University researcher. A far better approach, advises Valerie J. Shute, is to make the learning experience more enjoyable by creating video games into which educational content and assessment tools have been surreptitiously added — and to incorporate such games into school curricula.

To Jacob and Isabella, such games would remain a pleasant diversion — but to Mom and Dad, they would provide reassurance that their child is acquiring the knowledge and skills needed to excel in an increasingly competitive world.

"The concept is known as 'stealth assessment,'" said Shute, a professor of instructional systems at Florida State. "Essentially what we try to do is disguise educational content in such a way that kids aren't even aware that they're being assessed while they're engrossed in gameplay."

To accomplish that, Shute employs video games that have been specially designed to give educators a means of reviewing how students solve complex tasks while immersed in virtual (computer-generated) worlds. How students react to new challenges and put evidence together — without the pressure of having to remember a large body of information and then take a paper-and-pencil exam — can reveal a great deal about creative problem-solving skills and other important "21st-century competencies" that traditional testing cannot.

"Everybody likes to play," Shute said. "And so much could be done to support learning using games."

Stealth-assessment technologies also have several other advantages over more conventional teaching and testing methods.

"Based on a student's responses to various situations that come up during the course of playing a video game, the game itself can be programmed to assess where that student might be especially strong or weak in core competencies," Shute said. "The game can then adapt its content so that the student is exposed to more or less information in that area. And it continues to assess the student's progress to determine how well he or she is learning the embedded concepts and skills.

"So in theory, not only can these stealth-assessment games measure a student's current level of knowledge in a given area, they can also determine areas where that student needs to improve and then help him or her to make those improvements, using feedback, maybe easier problems, and so on," Shute said. "In that sense, it can be a fantastic learning tool as well as an assessment tool."

Still other important features of such games, adds Shute:

They can be used to assess a student's knowledge on a specific topic both at the beginning and at the end of the game, thus providing numerical data that illustrate how much the student has learned. They can be easily customized to meet the educational strengths and weaknesses of individual students. In this manner, each student can learn at his or her own speed and be appropriately challenged.

In a related area involving computerized learning, Shute and two colleagues have received a U.S. patent for a "method and system for designing adaptive, diagnostic assessments."

"Essentially, the patent is for a computer algorithm that we developed," she said. "The algorithm applies 'weights' to a student's responses to specific tasks within a game, then uses those weights to measure proficiency levels. With that information, the game knows whether to assign additional tasks to the student in a particular area or move on to another area."

Shute was the lead researcher on the adaptive-algorithm project. Her fellow researchers were Russell G. Almond, now an associate professor in FSU's Department of Educational Psychology and Learning Systems, and research scientist Eric G. Hansen. All three worked at Educational Testing Service in Princeton, N.J., when the patent application was filed in 2006.

Shute's work has been receiving national attention of late. The Chronicle of Higher Education, considered the major source of news for U.S. colleges and universities, recently featured her research prominently in an article (http://chronicle.com/article/A-Stealth-Assessment-Turns/125276/) on the use of video games to measure thinking skills. She also was interviewed by National Public Radio (http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=128081896) on Quest to Learn, a unique public school in New York City that has taken the video game as its model for how to teach. Shute has been conducting research at the school.

"After almost 25 years of working on ways to use computers to enhance learning, I'm delighted to see that the concept of stealth assessment appears to be making some serious headway," Shute said. "It's important that we change the way education thinks about what competencies are important to support in students (that we're not currently doing) to yield excellent global citizens. We also need to develop new kinds of assessments to capture and make sense of this new information.

"Stealth assessment within engaging learning and gaming environments might be one of the key tools we can use to improve the way we teach our children and the way they learn," she said.

INFORMATION:

END



ELSE PRESS RELEASES FROM THIS DATE:

Scott & White Healthcare -- Round Rock performing surgery without incisions for heartburn

2011-02-16
Millions of Americans, or 10 percent of the population, suffers from daily heartburn or other symptoms of reflux such as regurgitation, chronic cough, hoarseness and dental erosions. Until recently, many of these patients faced either a lifetime of daily medications, incomplete resolution, or worsening of their symptoms while treatment options were often limited to surgery. Scott & White Healthcare – Round Rock is offering a new procedure to patients who meet specific requirements and are generally not doing well on daily medications known as Proton Pump Inhibitors (PPIs). ...

International team of scientists says it's high 'NOON' for microwave photons

International team of scientists says its high NOON for microwave photons
2011-02-16
(Santa Barbara, Calif.) –– An important milestone toward the realization of a large-scale quantum computer, and further demonstration of a new level of the quantum control of light, were accomplished by a team of scientists at UC Santa Barbara and in China and Japan. The study, published in the Feb. 7 issue of the journal Physical Review Letters, involved scientists from Zhejiang University, China, and NEC Corporation, Japan. The experimental effort was pursued in the research groups of UCSB physics professors Andrew Cleland and John Martinis. The team described how ...

Science investments in Obama's 2012 budget request endorsed by Earth and space scientists

2011-02-16
WASHINGTON -- The American Geophysical Union (AGU) today endorses President Barack Obama's 2012 budget request, specifically noting its recognition of the critical impact scientific research has on economic competitiveness, national security and public health. AGU is the world's largest organization of Earth and space scientists. "While the need to reduce the national debt is real, support for scientific research and engineering is absolutely critical to U.S. innovation and job creation," said Michael J. McPhaden, AGU's President. "As we search for the solutions ...

Ben-Gurion U. researchers develop techniques to manipulate plant adaption in arid climates

2011-02-16
BEER-SHEVA, ISRAEL, February 15, 2011 – Ben-Gurion University of the Negev researchers have developed techniques to manipulate root development functionality that can help plants better adapt to hostile growing environments. In a recent paper published in the prestigious journal The Plant Cell, BGU researchers were able show that by manipulating a specific gene they could impact lateral root growth. Lateral root (LR) development is a highly regulated process that determines a plant's growth and ability to adapt to life in different environmental conditions. The researchers ...

APS concurs with science emphasis in President Obama's Fiscal Year 2012 budget

2011-02-16
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The American Physical Society (APS) agrees with President Obama's emphasis on science in his proposed Fiscal Year 2012 budget. His priorities keep the nation on a path of scientific advancement, technological innovation and economic growth. APS is pleased that the President's budget maintains a doubling path for the three scientific agencies that are crucial to our nation's future competitiveness – the Department of Energy's Office of Science, the National Science Foundation and the National Institute of Standards and Technology. Scientists, who receive ...

Extinction predictor 'will help protect coral reefs'

2011-02-16
More than a third of coral reef fish species are in jeopardy of local extinction from the impacts of climate change on coral reefs, a new scientific study has found. (Local extinction refers to the loss of species from individual locations, while they continue to persist elsewhere across their range.) A new predictive method developed by an international team of marine scientists has found that a third of reef fishes studied across the Indian Ocean are potentially vulnerable to increasing stresses on the reefs due to climate change. The method also gives coral reef ...

Scientists discover cell of origin for childhood muscle cancer

2011-02-16
PORTLAND, Ore. — Researchers at Oregon Health & Science University Doernbecher Children's Hospital have defined the cell of origin for a kind of cancer called sarcoma. In a study published today as the Featured Article in the journal Cancer Cell, they report that childhood and adult sarcomas are linked in their biology, mutations and the cells from which these tumors first start. These findings may lead to non-chemotherapy medicines that can inhibit "molecular targets" such as growth factor receptors, thereby stopping or eradicating the disease. Childhood muscle cancer, ...

Study: Native Hawaiians at higher risk of hemorrhagic stroke at younger age

2011-02-16
ST. PAUL, Minn. – Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders may be at higher risk for hemorrhagic stroke at a younger age and more likely to have diabetes compared to other ethnicities, according to a study released today that will be presented at the American Academy of Neurology's 63rd Annual Meeting in Honolulu April 9 to April 16, 2011. "Racial differences in stroke risk factors have been well-studied in Hispanic and African-American populations, but this is the first study to address people of Native Hawaiian ethnicity," said study author Kazuma Nakagawa, MD, with ...

How genetic variations in neuroactive steroid-producing enzymes may influence drinking habits

2011-02-16
Contact: Jonathan Covault, M.D., Ph.D. jocovault@uchc.edu 860-679-7560 University of Connecticut School of Medicine A. Leslie Morrow, Ph.D. morrow@med.unc.edu 919-966-7682 University of North Carolina School of Medicine Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research How genetic variations in neuroactive steroid-producing enzymes may influence drinking habits Alcohol dependence (AD) may develop through alcohol's effects on neural signaling. Researchers have found that neuroactive steroids may mediate some of the effects of alcohol on γ-aminobutyric ...

Why problem drinking during adolescence is never a 'phase'

2011-02-16
Contact: Richard J. Rose, Ph.D. rose@indiana.edu 812-855-8770 Indiana University Matt McGue, Ph.D. mmcgue@tfs.psych.umn.edu 612-625-8305 University of Minnesota Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research Why problem drinking during adolescence is never a 'phase' The Rutgers Alcohol Problem Index (RAPI) is widely used to assess adolescent drinking-related problems. Researchers used adolescent RAPI scores to
examine diagnoses of alcohol dependence during young adulthood. More drinking-related problems experienced at age 18 were associated ...

LAST 30 PRESS RELEASES:

The research was wrong: study shows moderate drinking won’t lengthen your life

Save your data on printable magnetic devices? New laser technique’s twist might make this reality

Early onset dementia more common than previously reported – the incidence of Alzheimer’s disease seems to be on the rise

Pesticides potentially as bad as smoking for increased risk in certain cancers

NUS researchers develop new battery-free technology to power electronic devices using ambient radiofrequency signals

New protein discovery may influence future cancer treatment

Timing matters: Scripps Research study shows ways to improve health alerts

New gene therapy approach shows promise for Duchenne muscular dystrophy

Chemical analyses find hidden elements from renaissance astronomer Tycho Brahe’s alchemy laboratory

Pacific Northwest launches clean hydrogen energy hub

Tiny deletion in heart muscle protein briefly affects embryonic ventricles but has long-term effects on adult atrial fibrillation

Harms of prescribing NSAIDs to high risk groups estimated to cost NHS £31m over 10 years

Wearing a face mask in public spaces cuts risk of common respiratory symptoms, suggests Norway study

Some private biobanks overinflating the value of umbilical cord blood banking in marketing to expectant parents

New research in fatty liver disease aims to help with early intervention

Genetics reveal ancient trade routes and path to domestication of the Four Corners potato

SNIS 2024: New study shows critical improvements in treating rare eye cancer in children

Wearable devices can increase health anxiety. Could they adversely affect health?

Addressing wounds of war

Rice researchers develop innovative battery recycling method

It’s got praying mantis eyes

Stroke recovery: It’s in the genes

Foam fluidics showcase Rice lab’s creative approach to circuit design

Montana State scientists publish evidence for new groups of methane-producing organisms

Daily rhythms depend on receptor density in biological clock

New England Journal of Medicine publishes outcomes from practice-changing E1910 trial for patients with BCR::ABL1-negative B-cell precursor acute lymphoblastic leukemia

Older adults want to cut back on medication, but study shows need for caution

Nationwide flood models poorly capture risks to households and properties

Does your body composition affect your risk of dementia or Parkinson’s?

Researchers discover faster, more energy-efficient way to manufacture an industrially important chemical

[Press-News.org] Game on! Instructional design researcher works to make learning fun