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ERIC Number: EJ837794
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009-Apr-8
Pages: 4
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-0277-4232
High-Tech Simulations Linked to Learning
Ash, Katie
Education Week, v28 n28 p20-23 Apr 2009
To build on classroom experiments and lectures, Daniel Sweeney has his 9th grade earth science students act out scientific concepts on a 15-by-15-foot mat on the floor of the room. Object-tracking cameras mounted on scaffolding around the space collect data based on the students' movements while immersing them in the experience through a video projector and speakers, which provide visual and audio feedback in real time. The Situated Multimedia Arts Learning Lab, or SMALLab, which refers to the floor mat and trussing around it, is being used only at the 1,360-student Coronado High School in Scottsdale, Arizona, for now. A second one is in the works as part of a new school, called Quest to Learn, that is scheduled to open in New York City in the fall. The program is part of a growing movement in schools to incorporate digital games and simulations into classrooms as a tool for raising achievement and preparing students for the technological challenges ahead of them. Although incorporating digital simulations and games into curricula is far from the norm in K-12 schools, educators, researchers, and game developers agree that attitudes toward using those media as teaching tools are changing. Proponents say progress is being made toward a meaningful integration of games and simulations into mainstream classrooms. Even so, experts caution against using such media for learning simply because those new tools seem like an exciting way to teach or learn. Digital games and simulations, they say, should be used to improve the learning of academic concepts. Tests before and after using SMALLab have found that students who use it have shown statistically significant gains in their overall comprehension of subject matter. However, some educators contend that because games take longer to incorporate into curricula, this approach should be reserved for areas in which other teaching tools have not been successful.
Editorial Projects in Education. 6935 Arlington Road Suite 100, Bethesda, MD 20814-5233. Tel: 800-346-1834; Tel: 301-280-3100; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Grade 9; High Schools
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Arizona