STEM Educational Gaming Research Group

Mission

Traditional methodologies of delivering instruction have been going through a technological revolution, due to the rise of computer-based technology. One technology in particular, serious games, has shown great potential in enhancing the learning of dynamic science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) concepts traditionally acquired through practical experience. In particular, serious and educational games have shown to not only engage and motivate students but also allow them to acquire complex problem-solving skills. Another way to engage students is by immersing them inside of virtual reality (VR) environment. VR has shown immense potential in having users establishing emphatic connections with the virtual environment.

To support the interaction of STEM education and innovative pedagogical technology I have started the STEM Educational Gaming Research Group. Its goal is to support Cal State East Bay students in gaining competitive technical and problem-solving skills, stimulate student’s involvement in research, and promote new internal and external research.

Current Efforts

CSUEB and Mission College - Curricular Implementation of VR in Engineering Curriculum

The mission of this collaboration is to grow the adoption of innovative technology in higher education engineering curricula and assess and evaluate its impact on the students’ learning. The team has the following goals to drive their mission: 1) expand the Introduction to Engineering and Design course and two other courses through additional curricular development and our innovative VR technology, 2) evaluate students’ problem-solving and work-ready skills, self-efficacy, motivation, sense of belonging, and engagement, and analyze the impact of the designed course through student perception and achievement with an emphasis on traditionally underserved populations; 3) disseminate the findings through journals, conference proceedings, and open-source online outlets; and 4) continuously improve the course content and implementation based on the findings.

Table 1 Activities Alignment to Class Lectures and Labs

Enhancing Students' Design Review Skills with Educational Games

Performing a design review, whether on paper drawings or in VR environments requires essential and strong problem-solving, critical thinking, analysis, and communication skills. The objective of this study is to support the development and education of such design review skills in undergraduate construction students through the use of virtual reality simulation games. To achieve this objective, undergraduate construction management students were asked to use the Design Review Simulator, an educational virtual reality game designed with the learning objective of teaching design review skills. Based on the analysis of the results, the authors could conclude that the students gained problem-solving skills, critical thinking, analysis, and communication skills.

Can Game Performance Indicate Learning Gains?

Research in educational gaming and learning performance has focused on the impact that gaming has on the engagement levels of students. While engagement is critical for the delivery of instruction, the STEM Educational Research Group is interested in further investigating the link between gaming performance and educational gains. In particular, the team is interested in evaluating if gaming performance can be an indicator of learning gains in undergraduate construction students.

Attack of the Recyclops

Attack of the Recyclops, is an educational gaming developed by undergraduate computer science and engineering students. The learning objective of the game is for freshman college students to learn how to properly dispose of waste, such as composting and recyclable materials, within a virtual model of a local college campus. Allowing students to learn, in a virtual reality educational game, how to properly dispose of waste could have tremendous impacts on society and the environment.

Sustainable East Bay Campus

Sustainable East Bay Campus, is an educational gaming developed by undergraduate computer science and engineering students. The learning objective of the game is for freshman college students to learn how to redesign the Cal State East Bay campus using active and passive architectural sustainable solutions. Allowing students to learn, in a virtual reality educational game, how to properly retrofit and renovate buildings could have tremendous impacts on society and the environment.

Evaluating Cognitive and Metacognitive Processes While Playing an Educational Construction Game

The research group is strongly interested in understanding the cognitive and metacognitive process that take place when solving complex construction problems while playing a serious game. With this project the group is analyzing over 15 hours of game play recording while students engage in Think-Aloud protocols. By using a coding scheme, aligned with the most current educational psychology research, the groups is hoping to shed light on what do students think while playing a serious game.

PAST Efforts

Design Review Simulator

The research team aimed at designing and developing an educational virtual reality game to support students in evaluating and reviewing design models of residential buildings. The team has developed the Design Review Simulator, a virtual reality educational simulation game. The learning objectives of the game are to support students in developing evaluation and reviewing skills of mistakes in construction projects through the use of virtual reality. The researchers designed and developed the game in the Unity 3D game engine. The next phase of the study is to implement and evaluate the educational impact of the game on construction engineering students.

DOWNLOAD THE GAME HERE - PC VERSION

DOWNLOAD THE GAME HERE - MAC VERSION

Virtual Construction Simulator 4

The ability to solve complex problems is an essential skill that a construction project manager must possess when entering the architecture, engineering, and construction industry. However, introducing students to such complex problems can be a challenge in a typical construction educational program. To support this challenge, the traditional methodology of delivering design, engineering, and construction instruction has been going through a technological revolution, due to the rise of computer-based technology. This study presents evidence to support the contention that educational simulation games can help the learning and retention of transferable higher-order thinking skills, which are crucial to solve complex construction problems.

DOWNLOAD THE WOOD MODULE HERE

DOWNLOAD THE CONCRETE MODULE HERE

DOWNLOAD THE STEEL MODULE HERE

Earth Avenger

This is a fun desktop video game concept developed by Penn State students. The concept of the game is to teach elementary students the benefits of sustainable practices in building design. The user is challenged to add and edit building elements of a residential house to save energy and reduce greenhouse gasses. The game is free to download for any one that wants to implement it in their classroom.

DOWNLOAD THE GAME HERE