Conquest of the Coastlands
Conquest of the Coastlands (CoC) is an educational role-playing game (RPG) with a science fiction/fantasy setting. Pursuing larger strategic objectives, the player character is challenged with a variety of problem solving “quests,” which form the main plot lines of the interactive narrative and provide the immediate motivations for player-character activities in the game. Each quest is designed to achieve specific learning goals.
Virtual Environments for Learning
VELscience is a series of six modules that immerse middle school students in virtual environments for learning (VELs), such as a base on Mars, an international space station, or a research vessel in the Pacific. Students take on the role of a scientist engaged in a complex task. The virtual settings presented in the VELs support students in designing and carrying out their own investigations. Students use virtual scientific instruments that resemble those used by scientists in the real world, but scaled to suit their age level.
The development of these modules was supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. 0628264.
Educational robotics activities are gaining in popularity. Though some research data suggest that educational robotics can be an effective approach in teaching mathematics, science, and engineering, research is needed to generate the best practices and strategies for designing these learning environments. Our team explores how robotics can be used to teach content and inquiry in classroom settings.
The pedagogical laboratory provides education majors an opportunity to work like scientists who experiment with the latest findings in learning and instructional theories by trying them out with K-12 students recruited from local schools, observing student learning, and reflecting on the educational outcomes. Current activities include robotics challenges for grades K-8 designed to develop skills in scientific inquiry, problem solving, and mathematics.
Alien Rescue is an interactive research prototype developed by the University of Texas at Austin, Texas A&M University, and the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. This prototype has been used by about 6000+ children to learn middle school science in approximately twenty schools. Alien Rescue received First Place in the 2001 Learning Software Design Competition sponsored by the University of Minnesota and an honorable mention for ingenuity in the Best Educational Application category of Macromedia eLearning Innovation Award Program (2001).