Sasha Barab
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Sasha Barab is an Associate Professor in Instructional Systems Technology and Cognitive Science at Indiana University. His current work involves the design of rich learning environments, frequently with the aid of technology, that are designed to assist children in developing their sense of purpose as individuals, as members of their communities, and as knowledgeable citizens of the world. His research has resulted in dozens of peer-reviewed articles, chapters in edited books, and he is currently editor of the book Designing for Virtual Communities in the Service of Learning to appear in Cambridge University Press.


The Quest Atlantis Project: A Socially Responsive Play Space for Learning
Workshop, Friday (10:45-12:15) in Hall of Ideas E

This hands-on, Interactive Workshop will involve 4 components: Hands-On Exploration 25 min., Debriefing Discussion 15 min, Research Presentation 15 min., Q & A 10 min. First, attendees will be immersed within a 3D water quality simulation designed to foster an appreciation for the nature of complex systems and how real-world problems have causes and solutions that involve non-linear dynamics and multi-causal interactions, and whose properties-as-a-whole do not derive from the simple combination of constituent parts. The simulation takes place in a computer-based, simulated aquatic habitat, where participants use an avatar to explore the Kangakut Forest and determine the cause of a decline in fish numbers. Participants will use different versions of the software, after which we will collectively deconstruct the experience. From here, I will describe the broader NSF-supported Quest Atlantis project, a learning and teaching project that uses a 3D multi-user environment to immerse children, ages 9-12, in educational tasks. Building on strategies from online role-playing games, QA combines strategies used in the commercial gaming environment with lessons from educational research on learning and motivation. I will use quantitative and qualitative data to illuminate the multiple affordance structures leveraged by Quest Atlantis, to discuss the challenges of supporting a school-based multi-user virtual environment accessed by over 4000 children from four continents, and to illuminate the tensions of bringing together the fantasy with the real. More generally, this session will discuss video games as offering a significant space for participation, and demonstrate that it is possible to develop a play space that shares common design features with video games but with the goal of supporting academiclearning and advancing a critical social agenda.

Laptops with a wireless connection recommended.


Games In/and Education
Respondent, Thursday (10:45 - 12:15) in Hall of Ideas F

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