The goal of this project is to make use of Minecraft to cultivate interest in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics among Filipino students. It leverages on Minecraft, specifically the project “What-If Hypothetical Implementations in Minecraft”(WHIMC) from the University of Illinois Urbana Champaign. WHIMC immerses learners in researcher-built Minecraft exoplanets and challenges them to offer scientific explanations for the phenomena that they observe. Learners also need to build habitats that would allow human beings to survive, using the materials available in these planets. To this end, the project team hopes to work with STEM teachers to integrate the use of WHIMC in their classes. From the data collected from student interactions with WHIMC, the project team hopes to determine what triggers interest, what factors are most important to supporting interest, and what are most effective for learners who are underrepresented in STEM. It builds on work on the use of bouncy castle games for education as well as learning analytics to study learner affect and behavior. The research questions we hope to answer include:
- (RQ1) What features of learning experiences best frame science learning and encourage re-engagement with content over time?
- (RQ2) What pedagogical strategies are most effective in promoting STEM interest and learning?
- (RQ3) How can a technology infrastructure be used to monitor and track changes in STEM interest over time?
The project will make use of Minecraft to cultivate interest in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics among Filipino students. It leverages on Minecraft, specifically the project ?What-If Hypothetical Implementations in Minecraft? (WHIMC) from the University of Illinois Urbana Champaign. This project has two main foundations: the games for STEM education and the use of learning analytics to study learner affect and behavior. The project team will work with STEM teachers to integrate the use of WHIMC in their classes. As students use WHIMC, the system will collect data regarding their interactions with the system. The project team will then analyze the data to arrive at insight regarding student behavior, affect, and achievement.
This project is significant in two ways: It provides an engaging way in which technology can be used to further achievement in STEM and it presents an alternative set of activities that students can use even from home.
On furthering achievement in STEM. Addressing STEM achievement in the Philippines is an acute need. The PISA National Report on the Philippines painted said that, compared to the OECD average of 489 in math and 489 in Science, Filipino students scored a low 353 and 357 respectively. Only 1 out of 5 attained the minimum proficiency level in math. These results are corroborated by students’ performance in the National Achievement Test, where only 25% demonstrated mastery levels in math and only 5% of test takers demonstrated mastery levels in science. One of the strategies being employed to cultivate student interest in STEM is the use Minecraft. We hope that the use of this engaging game platform and this deliberately-crafted environment helps develop STEM interest in more young Filipinos.
On providing a remote platform for learning. COVID-19 forced schools to deploy distance learning solutions in order to reach approximately 1.5 billion students affected worldwide (UNESCO, 2020). The move to emergency remote teaching (Milligan, 2020) was unprecedented in scale, with both teachers and students employing a trial-and-error strategy to muddle through the uncertainty (Burgess & Sievertsen, 2020). Many teachers resorted to emergency remote teaching (Hodges, Moore, Lockee, Trust, & Bond, 2020), where they simply continued to lecture to their classes using conferencing software such as Zoom. This strategy, diminishes the quality of the courses in the longer term. Hence, the challenge to educators is to provide learners with rich educational experiences that are engaging and encourage deep thinking. The use of Minecraft is one example of such an experience.
Funded by: Philippine Council for Industry, Energy and Emerging Technology Research and Development (PCIEERD)