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Dec 02 2014 - 07:00 PM
A Magic Table for Science Learning

Virtual worlds, touch screens, video games, and programmable or manipulative blocks are all engaging pedagogical tools for learning about science and technology on their own. What kinds of learning experiences could a combination of all these innovative elements offer? Oztoc is a rich learning environment that demonstrates the potential of integrating all of these technologies for STEM learning.

The gameplay features an expedition in Mexico around a mysterious lagoon where various sea creatures reside. In this hybrid game, students move physical blocks on the multi-touch tabletop display to create virtual in-game circuits and learn about circuit prototyping. The combination of tangible blocks, touch screen, and a virtual world facilitates a cycle of prototyping and testing for effective science learning.

Oztoc not only aims to be a great learning platform but also a powerful research tool. All moves on this hybrid platform are recorded so researchers can determine what aspects of the environment facilitate collaboration and effective strategies in students’ gaming activities.

What do you think about this innovative technology for science learning? What are some other educational uses for a multi-functional learning platform like this? Share your thoughts with other educators on Vialogues.

Excerpts from the discussion

@00:08 johnlee: This multitouch tabletop and blocks look intuitive to use and welcome collaboration!

@00:27 johnlee: Real time data collection through these innovative data entry points is powerful. This is similar to what SimCityEdu has been doing to explore users' learning in a virtual gaming environment through analyzing gameplay movements and decisions, but Oztoc seems to extend this process to the physical world movements.

|By: Ching-Fu Lan|718 Reads