Only one phase of the counterbalanced design has been completed, using embedded and non-embedded versions of RoomQuake in two classrooms. It is important to note that the embedded condition is confounded with the teacher/classroom at this point in the study; subsequent counterbalancing of classrooms and conditions will ameliorate that confounding.
Significant conceptual learning occurred under both treatments F(1, 64) = 129.9, MSE = 3.54, p <.001, partial eta-squared = .67. There was a significant interaction between conceptual learning gain and embedded condition F(1, 64) = 5.63, MSE = 3.54, p <.05, partial eta-squared = .08, with greater gains in embedded class. There was also a trend (p=.19) toward greater gains for lower knowledge students in the embedded class.
No significant changes were found in science-related attitudes; strongest changes and interactions with embedding condition on “enjoyment” and “science as leisure activity” subscales. Post-test scores on conceptual tests predicted skill acquisition, but in the embedded class all students had better skill acquisition regardless of level of concept understandings. Significant effects were found for treatment (F (1, 62) = 7.33, MSE = .92, p< .01) and post-test score (a significant covariate, F (1, 62) = 5.41, MSE = .92, p< .03). Skill acquisition did not predict concept learning (but may be due to limited range of skill acquisition measure). Analysis of other data sources is in progress.
Reports of work related to the project (extensions to the embedded phenomena framework, system development, pilot interventions) include:
Uphoff, B., Bhatt, D., Lopez Silva, B., Frack, M., Malcolm, P., Cain, V., and Moher, T. (2008). WallCology: Studying Ecology using a Distributed, Persistent Virtual Ecosystem in the Classroom. Paper presented at the Annual Conference of the American Educational Research Association (March 2008, New York, NY).
Moher, T., Uphoff, B., Bhatt, D., Lopez Silva, B., and Malcolm, P. (2008). WallCology: Designing Interaction Affordances for Learner Engagement in Authentic Science Inquiry. Proceedings ACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI 2008) (April, 2008, Florence, Italy), 163-172.
Moher, T. (2008). Learning and participation in a persistent whole-classroom seismology simulation. Proceedings International Conference of the Learning Sciences (ICLS 2008) (June 2008, Utrecht, Netherlands), Vol. 2, 82-90.
Malcolm, P., Moher, T., Bhatt, D., Uphoff, B., Lopez Silva, B. (2008). Embodying Scientific Concepts in the Physical Space of the Classroom. Proceedings 7th International Conference on Interaction Design and Children (IDC 2008) (June 2008, Evanston, IL), 234-241.
In addition to research, the project is designed to generate a “Phenomenon Server,” an Internet-based facility that will allow teachers to configure and schedule embedded phenomena for “delivery” to their classrooms.