Using computer game to reinforce Museum-Based Field Trips during a Preservice Elementary Science Methods Course

Museum-based field trips are a sort of experiential learning with roots that go back to educational pioneers like Dewey (1900). Yet, despite being a mainstay in education, the amount of excursion visitors to museums has substantially declined over the past decade, largely thanks to the lasting impact of budget cuts from the good Recession (Ellerson, 2015). for instance , in 2010 field trips accounted for 195,000 visitors to the sector Museum of explanation in Chicago (The Field Museum, 2012), down from an annual peak of over 300,000 (Greene, Kisida, & Bowen, 2014). Although the broader economy had since recovered, attendance further declined to 160,000 excursion visitors in 2017 ( . Galaboff, personal communication, May 26, 2018).

This trend toward fewer museum-based field trips is happening nationally, as demonstrated by a 2015-16 report from the American Association of faculty Administrators which found that only 12% of administrators surveyed were implementing field trips at prerecession levels (Ellerson, 2015). The decline in field trips has also been attributed to the shifting of monetary and time resources toward high-stakes testing (Behrendt & Franklin, 2014; Whitesell, 2016) and therefore the increasingly complex logistics of designing such trips (Adedokun et al., 2012). As a result, many students are being denied these museum-based field trips as a part of their formal educational experience.

Field trips to science museums and museums of explanation are shown to extend students’ interest, motivation, and attitudes toward science (Potvin & Hasni, 2014), positively affect students’ science test scores and proficiency (Whitesell, 2016), and supply social learning experiences that students find enjoyable (Gutwill & Allen, 2012; Sample McMeeking, Weinberg, Boyd, & Balgopal, 2016).

Furthermore, participation in self-paced education schemes at science museums are shown to reinforce K-12 students’ motivation and program-related content knowledge in comparison using pre/posttest design (e.g., health awareness during a life science museum; (Martin, Durksen, Williamson, Kiss, & Ginns, 2016). In contrast to the decline of field trips, evidence remains strong that science museum-based experiences are beneficial tools to reinforce student learning.

Researchers are seeking alternative solutions to recapture these benefits of museum-based field trips within the budget, time, and high-stakes testing constraints of the present educational environment. One possible solution has been to implement virtual field trips (VFTs) within the classroom (e.g., Adedokun, Liu, Parker, & Burgess, 2015; McKnight et al., 2016; Morgan, 2015). Enabled by increased access to multimedia-rich technologies, like laptops, tablets, and smartphones, VFTs allow students to interact with text, audio, images, video, and/or immersive 3D environments while exploring real-world locations. newer advances in technology have made it possible to use mobile devices, like smartphones, for computer game (VR) as a way of happening VFTs.

Rather than using VR as a replacement for in-person, physical field trips, we were interested to research VRFT experiences as a way of enhancing and amplifying existing field trips. VR holds promise as a cognitive tool for improving student learning while on field trips.

Consistent with the cognitive load theory of learning (Sweller, 1994), VR may ameliorate the consequences of novelty (Falk, Martin, & Balling, 1978) when students enter the museum and consider its collections for the primary time. it’s going to also reduce the burden of logistics by helping to familiarize students and teachers with the layout and physical features of the museum (Anderson & Lucas, 1997). By diminishing procedural impacts of an initial visit, VR may enhance opportunities for student learning. VR can also serve to reinforce recall by extending the opportunities for college kids to be fully immersed with the sector trip experience without having to physically revisit the destination.

In this paper, we report findings of a study using student mobile devices for a computer game excursion (VRFT), that’s a VFT that uses VR, in conjunction with a separate in-person excursion to a museum of explanation as a part of a preservice elementary science method course.

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