Bridging the Digital Divide: Using Video Games to Enhance Science Learning
This paper explores the affordances of digital video games in the learning of science amid a changing learner demographic. Current research in this area is largely focused on motivational aspects of video games. It is desirable, however, to investigate the effects of video games on learning of curricular content beyond mere engagement in the science classroom. Anchoring on diSessa’s (1993) “knowledge-in-pieces” model of conceptual change, it is argued that well-designed video games are primed to provide the bridge between conceptual learning in science and the motivation to engage in scientific content. Interviews conducted with 21 students from a preliminary field study of EPIGAME – a physics video game played by Grade 9 students from a public high school that explores Newton’s laws of motion, suggest that apart from motivating students to engage in the learning of scientific content, video games can impart curricular content if designed correctly and used with appropriate instructional strategies. However, the data also suggest that the changing expectations of learners provide a design challenge to educational video game designers.