Video Game Genre Affordances for Physics Education

Video Game Genre Affordances for Physics Education

Kostas Anagnostou, Anastasia Pappa
Copyright: © 2011 |Pages: 16
DOI: 10.4018/ijgbl.2011010105
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In this work, the authors analyze the video game genres’ features and investigate potential mappings to specific didactic approaches in the context of Physics education. To guide the analysis, the authors briefly review the main didactic approaches for Physics and identify qualities that can be projected into game features. Based on the characteristics of the didactic approaches each video game genre’s potential for narration and simulation and affordances for reflection and assessment are evaluated, providing examples of specific games that adhere to those requirements and ways they can be utilized in educational contexts. The paper concludes by discussing the implications on serious game design and integration of games for Physics education in school environments and suggests topics for future research.
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Didactic Approaches For Physics Teaching

Teaching Science is considered by the majority of school children as a difficult subject. According to a report by UK’s NESTA (Sandford et al., 2006), pupils in the UK are losing interest in science because too often the subject is being taught as just facts and formulas on a blackboard. Similar results in the USA were documented in the Smithers and Robinson (2005) report.

In an investigation assessing the underlying reasons why students do not engage with science in schools, Lyons (2006) conducted a meta-analysis of the findings of three studies which explored the issue. The studies were conducted in the UK (Osborne & Collins, 2001), Australia (Lyons, 2003), Sweden (Lindahl, 2003). Lyons grouped his findings into three major themes: the one-way transmissive approach of science teaching, the decontextualised content that fails to engage students, and the unnecessary difficulty of science.

Indeed, it appears that the prevalent approach in delivering physics knowledge across all levels of education (primary, secondary and university level) is by instruction in a lecture-based format. Occasionally, this approach is supplemented by the addition of laboratory work and ICT elements. However the main idea firmly remains learning through instruction and textbook.

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