Spatial reasoning is an important skillset that is malleable to training interventions. One possible context for intervention is the popular video game Minecraft. Minecraft encourages users to engage in spatial manipulation of 3D objects. However, few papers have chronicled any in-game practices that might evidence spatial reasoning, or how we might study its development through the game. In this paper, we report on 11 middle school students’ spatial reasoning practices while playing Minecraft. We use audio and video data of student gameplay to delineate five in-game practices that align with spatial reasoning. We expand on a student case study, to explicate these practices. The identified practices may be beneficial for studying spatial reasoning development in game-based environments and contribute to a growing body of research on ways games support development of important and transferable skills.
Minecraft as a Generative Platform for Analyzing and Practicing Spatial Reasoning
As excitement for Minecraft continues to grow, we consider its potential to function as an engaging environment for practicing and studying spatial reasoning. To support this exposition, we describe a glimpse of our current analysis of spatial reasoning skills in Minecraft. Twenty university students participated in a laboratory study that asked them to recreate three existing buildings in Minecraft. Screen captures of user actions, together with eye tracking data, helped us identify ways that students utilize perspective taking, constructing mental representations, building and place-marking, and error checking. These findings provide an initial impetus for further studies of the types of spatial skills that students may exhibit while playing Minecraft. It also introduces questions about how the design of Minecraft activities may promote, or inhibit, the use of certain spatial skills.
- Award ID(s):
- Publication Date:
- NSF-PAR ID:
- Journal Name:
- Spatial Cognition XII. Spatial Cognition 2020. Lecture Notes in Computer Science
- Sponsoring Org:
- National Science Foundation
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