The IU School of Education’s Center for Research on Learning and Technology received a $1.23 million to fund the use of a video game to allow students in small groups to collaborate on solutions, according to a Thursday press release.
The game will help teachers provide adaptable support and will foster collaboration by using big data generated by student group users.
The project is titled “Collaborative Research: Big Data From Small Groups: Learning Analytics and Adaptive Support in Game-Based Collaborative Learning.”
Cindy Hmelo-Silver, director of the Center for Research on Learning and Technology and the Barbara B. Jacobs chair in education and technology, is directing the project. Her research team will use a video game called “Crystal Island: Ecosystems,” which will teach environmental science to middle school students, according to the release.
The students will use the game to work together and find solutions to complex science problems. At the same time, their teachers will support them. The researchers will then use the data to learn how support affects collaboration and learning.
Looking at the data will also help researchers see how teachers use data to help improve small-group instruction, according to the release.
Hmelo-Silver said in the release they are excited about the potential of the project for use of problem-based learning on a larger scale in K-12 classrooms.
Their goal is to encourage the creation of solutions to complex problems of varying scope and structure, she added.
“This project will bring together game-based learning featuring engaging activities and learning environments that focus on collaborative problem-solving,” Hmelo-Silver said in the release.
The grant was given by the National Science Foundation to be used during the next five years. NSF has given several grants to the School of Education this year.