Learning by Playing: Development of an Interactive Biology Lab Simulation Platform for Educational Purposes

Learning by Playing: Development of an Interactive Biology Lab Simulation Platform for Educational Purposes

Vasilis Zafeiropoulos (Hellenic Open University, Greece), Dimitris Kalles (Hellenic Open University, Greece) and Argyro Sgourou (Hellenic Open University, Greece)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-8659-5.ch011
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Abstract

The practical training of students and employees in laboratories containing scientific instruments constitutes an educational challenge. Laboratory equipment is by definition sensitive, costly and requires specific safety rules for its use. Therefore, students do not have the opportunity to make improper use of the equipment and get trained by “trial-and-error”. The educational process becomes even trickier when students are many and training takes place simultaneously within the same laboratory; damages to instrumentation and accidents are possible and as a consequence, the effectiveness of learning is greatly limited. For such purposes, an adventure-style computer game -Onlabs- has been developed to provide an interactive simulation environment of a biology laboratory where students may experiment and make several harmless mistakes and where no time or space restrictions are imposed on them. This chapter describes how Onlabs was developed to serve a real need for a remote tool for familiarization and safe experimentation within the laboratory space.
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Background

Simulations and games are powerful tools for addressing many goals and mechanisms for learning science: the motivation to learn science, the conceptual understanding, science process skills, as well as the extensive scientific discourse and argumentation.

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