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Examining an Online Microbiology Game as an Effective Tool for Teaching the Scientific Process

    Authors: Kristi G. Bowling1,*, Yvonne Klisch1, Shu Wang2, Margaret Beier2
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    Affiliations: 1: Rice University Center for Technology in Teaching and Learning, Houston, TX 77005; 2: Rice University Department of Psychology, Houston, TX 77005
    AUTHOR AND ARTICLE INFORMATION AUTHOR AND ARTICLE INFORMATION
    • Published 06 May 2013
    • Supplemental materials available at http://jmbe.asm.org
    • *Corresponding author. Mailing address: Rice University Center for Technology in Teaching and Learning, 6100 Main Street, MS 120, Houston, TX 77005. Phone: 713-348-6197. Fax: 713-348-5699. E-mail: Kristi.bowling@rice.edu.
    • ©2013 Author(s). Published by the American Society for Microbiology.
    Source: J. Microbiol. Biol. Educ. May 2013 vol. 14 no. 1 58-65. doi:10.1128/jmbe.v14i1.505
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    Abstract:

    This study investigates the effectiveness of the online Flash game in producing knowledge gains for concepts related to the scientific process. was specifically designed to model how the scientific process is central to a variety of disciplines and science careers. An additional question relates to the game’s ability to shift attitudes toward science. Middle school classes from grades six to eight were assigned to the experimental group (n = 489) or control group (n = 367) and asked to participate in a three-session intervention. The sessions involved completing a pretest, a game play session, and taking a posttest. Students in the experimental group played while students in the control group played an alternative science game. Results showed a significant increase in mean science knowledge scores for all grades in the experimental group, with sixth grade and seventh grade students gaining more knowledge than eighth grade students. Additionally, results showed a significant positive change in science attitudes only among sixth graders, who also rated their satisfaction with the game more favorably than students in higher grades. No differences in mean test scores were found between genders for science knowledge or science attitudes, suggesting that the game is equally effective for males and females.

Key Concept Ranking

Infectious Diseases
0.74786615
Rabies
0.4140477
0.74786615

References & Citations

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/content/journal/jmbe/10.1128/jmbe.v14i1.505
2013-05-06
2017-06-22

Abstract:

This study investigates the effectiveness of the online Flash game in producing knowledge gains for concepts related to the scientific process. was specifically designed to model how the scientific process is central to a variety of disciplines and science careers. An additional question relates to the game’s ability to shift attitudes toward science. Middle school classes from grades six to eight were assigned to the experimental group (n = 489) or control group (n = 367) and asked to participate in a three-session intervention. The sessions involved completing a pretest, a game play session, and taking a posttest. Students in the experimental group played while students in the control group played an alternative science game. Results showed a significant increase in mean science knowledge scores for all grades in the experimental group, with sixth grade and seventh grade students gaining more knowledge than eighth grade students. Additionally, results showed a significant positive change in science attitudes only among sixth graders, who also rated their satisfaction with the game more favorably than students in higher grades. No differences in mean test scores were found between genders for science knowledge or science attitudes, suggesting that the game is equally effective for males and females.

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Figures

Image of FIGURE 1

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FIGURE 1

From top to bottom, screen captures from the beginning of the veterinarian, epidemiologist, and microbiologist paths in showing the problems players are asked to investigate.

Source: J. Microbiol. Biol. Educ. May 2013 vol. 14 no. 1 58-65. doi:10.1128/jmbe.v14i1.505
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Image of FIGURE 2

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FIGURE 2

Screen capture of a check for understanding during the veterinarian path of . Players are asked to identify and add experimental, positive, and negative control brain samples to microscope slides for staining to determine if a pig died from rabies.

Source: J. Microbiol. Biol. Educ. May 2013 vol. 14 no. 1 58-65. doi:10.1128/jmbe.v14i1.505
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Image of FIGURE 3

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FIGURE 3

Interaction between science knowledge scores and grade. Error bars represent standard errors. Grade six pretest: mean 6.02 (SD 2.07), posttest: mean 8.90 (SD 2.78). Grade seven pretest: mean 7.76 (SD 3.04), posttest: mean 10.30 (SD 3.93). Grade eight pretest: mean 7.42 (SD 3.38), posttest: mean 8.87 (SD 4.30).

Source: J. Microbiol. Biol. Educ. May 2013 vol. 14 no. 1 58-65. doi:10.1128/jmbe.v14i1.505
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Image of FIGURE 4

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FIGURE 4

Interaction between attitudes toward science and grade. 1 = Most Negative and 5 = Most Positive attitude toward science. Error bars represent standard errors. Grade six pretest: mean 3.93 (SD 0.96), posttest: mean 4.23 (SD 0.76). Grade seven pretest: mean 4.04 (SD 0.71), posttest: mean 4.04 (SD 0.75). Grade eight pretest: mean 3.87 (SD 0.75), posttest: mean 3.87 (SD 0.75).

Source: J. Microbiol. Biol. Educ. May 2013 vol. 14 no. 1 58-65. doi:10.1128/jmbe.v14i1.505
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