Dr. Young is the author of nine chapters on an ecological psychology approach to instructional design and has authored more than two dozen peer reviewed research papers. His work has appeared in many major journals including the Journal of Educational Computing Research, the Journal of the Learning Sciences, the Journal of Research on Science Teaching, Instructional Science, and Educational Technology Research and Development.
Mike's research concerns how people think and learning, and specifically how technology can enhance the way people think and learn. His NSF-funded project, GEEWIS , focuses on streaming real-time water quality pond data via the Internet and providing support for the integration of this authentic data into secondary and higher education science classrooms. His approach features the analysis of log files, "dribble files," that maintain time-stamped listing of navigation choices and lag time. This approach has been applied to hypertext reading (Spencer Foundation grant), videodisc-based problem solving (Jasper project), and online navigation (Jason project). Recent work addresses issues of common misconceptions about technology held by preservice teachers (Game in Education Teacher Survey), an ecological description of online teacher portfolios, and the assessment of situated learning of language in the context of Quest Atlantis.
An Ecological Description of Video Games in Education
Computer games, specifically massively multiplayer online role playing games (MMORPG) such as Everquest, Civilization III and Star Wars: Galaxies) provide engaging learning environments that, for some learners, compel them to spend several hours every day apprenticing themselves to more experienced players and engaging directly in activities that enhance their (or more precisely their online character's avatar) capabilities (strength, stamina, intelligence, etc.). To understand video games as learning environments, it is essential to look carefully at the qualitative descriptions of learning in video game environments and apply to it what we know from learning theory about how people think and learn. An ecological psychology view of learning from video games would highlight 9 principles focusing on the primacy of goals and intentions that guide perception-action within the constraints of the game design and user interface. From an ecological perspective, then, the task of game design becomes one of selecting goals and creating environments in which those goals can optimally be pursued, while taking into account those things that gamers tell us are keys to enjoyable, engaging experience.