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 Real-time feedback helps save energy and water
08.02.2017 | Otto-Friedrich-Universität Bamberg

nachricht The Great Unknown: Risk-Taking Behavior in Adolescents
19.01.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Bildungsforschung

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: Breakthrough with a chain of gold atoms

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

Im Focus: DNA repair: a new letter in the cell alphabet

Results reveal how discoveries may be hidden in scientific “blind spots”

Cells need to repair damaged DNA in our genes to prevent the development of cancer and other diseases. Our cells therefore activate and send “repair-proteins”...

Im Focus: Dresdner scientists print tomorrow’s world

The Fraunhofer IWS Dresden and Technische Universität Dresden inaugurated their jointly operated Center for Additive Manufacturing Dresden (AMCD) with a festive ceremony on February 7, 2017. Scientists from various disciplines perform research on materials, additive manufacturing processes and innovative technologies, which build up components in a layer by layer process. This technology opens up new horizons for component design and combinations of functions. For example during fabrication, electrical conductors and sensors are already able to be additively manufactured into components. They provide information about stress conditions of a product during operation.

The 3D-printing technology, or additive manufacturing as it is often called, has long made the step out of scientific research laboratories into industrial...

Im Focus: Mimicking nature's cellular architectures via 3-D printing

Research offers new level of control over the structure of 3-D printed materials

Nature does amazing things with limited design materials. Grass, for example, can support its own weight, resist strong wind loads, and recover after being...

Im Focus: Three Magnetic States for Each Hole

Nanometer-scale magnetic perforated grids could create new possibilities for computing. Together with international colleagues, scientists from the Helmholtz Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) have shown how a cobalt grid can be reliably programmed at room temperature. In addition they discovered that for every hole ("antidot") three magnetic states can be configured. The results have been published in the journal "Scientific Reports".

Physicist Dr. Rantej Bali from the HZDR, together with scientists from Singapore and Australia, designed a special grid structure in a thin layer of cobalt in...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Booth and panel discussion – The Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings at the AAAS 2017 Annual Meeting

13.02.2017 | Event News

Complex Loading versus Hidden Reserves

10.02.2017 | Event News

International Conference on Crystal Growth in Freiburg

09.02.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

From rocks in Colorado, evidence of a 'chaotic solar system'

23.02.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

'Quartz' crystals at the Earth's core power its magnetic field

23.02.2017 | Earth Sciences

Antimicrobial substances identified in Komodo dragon blood

23.02.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>