Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Video games could dramatically streamline education research

19.09.2014

“Seeking educational curriculum researchers. Humans need not apply.”

A Washington State University professor has figured out a dramatically easier and more cost-effective way to do research on science curriculum in the classroom – and it could include playing video games.


Richard Lamb, right, discusses artificial neural networks with WSU College of Education colleague Andy Cavagnetto.

Called “computational modeling,” it involves a computer “learning” student behavior and then “thinking” as students would. Rich Lamb (http://education.wsu.edu/

directory/faculty/rlamb), who teaches science education at WSU’s College of Education, said the process could revolutionize the way educational research is done.

Lamb’s research has just been published in Computers & Education journal. The article describes how computers examine student responses to science tasks – such as comparing liquid volumes – and thereafter mimic the way students think.

“Traditionally, we’d be confined to a classroom to study student learning for virtually every potential theory we have about science education and curriculum implementation,” Lamb said. “But now, instead of taking a shotgun approach, we can test the initial interventions on a computer and see which ones make the most sense to then study in the classroom.”

So in-person research becomes more finely targeted and requires fewer student subjects. It requires less time from researchers and costs less money.

“In the current model of research, we go into a classroom and spend months observing, giving tests and trying to see if changes to a specific model work and how to best implement them,” Lamb said. “It will still be necessary for researchers to go into the classroom; hopefully that never goes away. This just gives us more flexibility.”

Video games method

An artificial neural network is basically artificial intelligence that simulates the human brain. Lamb and his fellow researchers, including college colleagues Tariq Akmal and Kathy Baldwin, use an artificial neural network they named the Student Task and Cognition Model.

Students were given tasks to complete in an electronic game. The tasks were scientific in nature and required students to make a choice. The researchers used statistical techniques to track everything and assign each task as a success or failure.

“The computer is able to see what constitutes success, but it’s also able to see how students approach science,” Lamb said.

Because the computer is learning an approach to science, rather than just how to do a specific task, it will later try to solve a different problem the same way a student might.

“I’ve enjoyed this research in particular because it’s opening new understandings of learning and new avenues of teaching and assessment as a result,” said David Vallett, one of Lamb’s co-researchers from the University of Nevada Las Vegas. “It’s a novel yet practical blend of cognitive science and education.”

Testing multiple models at once

Lamb said most entertainment video games have the same characteristics as educational videos games. So long as it asks a singular task of the students, any game would suffice – Halo, Call of Duty, Mario Kart and more.

“The computer is learning to solve novel or new problems, which means we can test different educational interventions before ever getting to a classroom,” he said.
He said those initial tests will not only tell researchers if a specific educational model will work, but will give a specific percentage of success.

“Even with a large research team, it’s usually too difficult to test more than one intervention at a time,” he said. “Now we can run multiple interventions, choose the one that looks like it will work the best and then just test that one.”

Significant cost savings

And that will help the bottom line.

“For me to get 100,000 students, teachers to administer tests, professors doing research and all the rest, we could easily look at about $3.5 million,” Lamb said. “We can now get those 100,000 students for the cost of running software off a computer.”

It’s definitely a novel approach. And it is sure to get a few raised eyebrows. But Vallett said he wouldn’t expect any less from Lamb.

“Rich is an enthusiastically creative researcher and statistician,” Vallett said. “That creative spark is what sets him apart from most of the field; he’s not satisfied with merely adding a sliver of understanding to our existing knowledge of a topic.”

Contacts:
Rich Lamb, WSU College of Education, 509-335-5025, richard.lamb@wsu.edu
C. Brandon Chapman, WSU College of Education communications, 509-335-6850, b.chapman@wsu.edu

Rich Lamb | idw - Informationsdienst Wissenschaft
Further information:
https://news.wsu.edu/2014/09/18/video-games-could-dramatically-streamline-educational-research/#.VBvvaGEcTcs

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht Reusable carbon nanotubes could be the water filter of the future, says RIT study
30.03.2017 | Rochester Institute of Technology

nachricht Pan-European study on “Smart Engineering”
30.03.2017 | IPH - Institut für Integrierte Produktion Hannover gGmbH

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: A Challenging European Research Project to Develop New Tiny Microscopes

The Institute of Semiconductor Technology and the Institute of Physical and Theoretical Chemistry, both members of the Laboratory for Emerging Nanometrology (LENA), at Technische Universität Braunschweig are partners in a new European research project entitled ChipScope, which aims to develop a completely new and extremely small optical microscope capable of observing the interior of living cells in real time. A consortium of 7 partners from 5 countries will tackle this issue with very ambitious objectives during a four-year research program.

To demonstrate the usefulness of this new scientific tool, at the end of the project the developed chip-sized microscope will be used to observe in real-time...

Im Focus: Giant Magnetic Fields in the Universe

Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.

The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.

Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...

Im Focus: Tracing down linear ubiquitination

Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.

Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...

Im Focus: Perovskite edges can be tuned for optoelectronic performance

Layered 2D material improves efficiency for solar cells and LEDs

In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...

Im Focus: Polymer-coated silicon nanosheets as alternative to graphene: A perfect team for nanoelectronics

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

International Land Use Symposium ILUS 2017: Call for Abstracts and Registration open

20.03.2017 | Event News

CONNECT 2017: International congress on connective tissue

14.03.2017 | Event News

ICTM Conference: Turbine Construction between Big Data and Additive Manufacturing

07.03.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

'On-off switch' brings researchers a step closer to potential HIV vaccine

30.03.2017 | Health and Medicine

Penn studies find promise for innovations in liquid biopsies

30.03.2017 | Health and Medicine

An LED-based device for imaging radiation induced skin damage

30.03.2017 | Medical Engineering

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>