The goal of What-if Hypothetical Implementations in Minecraft (WHIMC) is to develop computer simulations that engage, excite, and generate interest in science. WHIMC leverages Minecraft as a learning environment for learners to interactively explore the scientific consequences of alternative versions of Earth via “what if?” questions, such as “What if the earth had no moon?” or “What if the earth were twice its current size?” Learners using our mods are invited to make observations and propose scientific explanations for what they see as different. Given ongoing discoveries of potentially habitable worlds throughout the Galaxy, such questions have high relevance to public discourse around space exploration, conditions necessary for life, and the long-term future of the human race. Studies in our project are occurring across three informal learning settings: museum exhibits, after school programs, and summer camps. Our research is driven by the following research questions: 1. What technology-based triggers of interest have the strongest influence on interest? 2. Which contextual factors are most important for supporting long-term interest development? 3. And, what kinds of technology-based triggers are most effective for learners from audiences who are underrepresented in STEM?
Identifying and Coding STEM Interest Triggers in a Summer Camp
Our work investigates interest triggering, a necessary component of sustaining and developing long-term interest in STEM. We gathered interview data from middle school aged learners (N = 7) at a science-focused Minecraft summer camp over a period of one week. We first identified STEM interest triggering episodes, then categorized each episode based on codes developed previously by Renninger and Bachrach (2016). Our initial findings show differences in the frequency of interest triggering episodes across individuals and suggest that personal relevance and the use of Minecraft played prominent roles.
- de Vries, E.; Hod, Y.; Ahn, J.
- Award ID(s):
- Publication Date:
- NSF-PAR ID:
- Journal Name:
- 15th International Conference of the Learning Sciences (ICLS) 2021 ©
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- Sponsoring Org:
- National Science Foundation
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