Promoting embodied learning through virtual and real world gaming experiences

Aronowsky, Audrey; Sanzenbacher, Beth; Childs, Mark; Peachey, Anna; Villanosa, Krystal; Thompson, Johanna and Angielczyk, Kenneth D. (2013). Promoting embodied learning through virtual and real world gaming experiences. In: Proceedings GLS 9.0 Games + Learning + Society Conference, Madison, Wisconsin, June 12 - 14, 2013 (Williams, Caroline C.; Ochsner, Amanda; Dietmeier, Jeremy and Steinkuehler, Constance eds.), ETC Press, pp. 68–74.



Embodied experiences can be important for changing attitudes, deepening understanding, and increasing science process skills. The Field Museum is interested in best practices for using and combining digital and analog moments for STEM learning. Recent studies support the use of digital tools, particularly virtual worlds, for embodied learning. Other studies show that physical role-playing activities can lead to embodied learning. The choice of virtual or physical experiences to trigger embodied learning should tie directly to learning goals. Here we highlight two activities from “I Dig Tanzania” that facilitated embodied learning: one that was most effective as a role play and the other as a virtual world activity. External analysis documents the affective and content gains made by our teen participants. These results and participant feedback will be used to initiate a conversation about the importance of embodiment in achieving learning goals, particularly those that relate to attitudes and process.

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