Collective Simulation Framework for Health Science Educa

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Department of Health and Human Services
Award Year:
Phase I
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Agentsheets, Inc.
Agentsheets, Inc., 6560 Gunpark Dr, Ste D, Boulder, CO, 80301
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(303) 530-1773
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(303) 530-1773
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DESCRIPTION (provided by applicant): Science apathy is growing at the K-12 education level, and represents an alarming development with potentially devastating consequences at individual, societal and economic levels. Surprisingly, this student apathy is increasing while the general public reads record numbers of popular science books and watches increasing amounts of science TV programming. In spite of the $70 billion investment in technology during the 1990s, K-12 science education fails to excite students. Technology has become prevalent in science education without fundamentally improving test scores or student attitudes. We claim the core of the problem is how technology is being used. Our main objective is to deal with the science apathy challenge by creating engaging discovery-oriented science learning modules uniquely combining social learning pedagogies with distributed simulation technology. This combination is part of a new framework that we call Collective Simulations. This framework will create extraordinary immersive, yet cost effective, learning experiences based on wirelessly connected handheld computers. For instance, in a K-12 course covering physiology, each group of students controls physiological variables of a single system/organ on their handheld computer, while a central simulation gathers all the data and projects them. Collective Simulations allow students to learn about the intricacies of interdependent complex systems by essentially becoming organs and engaging in a simulation-aided discourse with other students and teachers. In the long term, Collective Simulations would include other health education topics such as infectious diseases, nutrition, and physical education. Additionally, these simulations could also be used in medical school training, patient education, and museums. Our specific Phase I aims include designing, creating and evaluating 1 exemplary Collective Simulation physiology module. We will work with teachers and domain experts to design curriculum compliant educational content, adapt the existing C5 distributed simulation architecture to create the module, and work with education researchers and medical training experts to evaluate the module by comparing it against textbooks and simulations used in current educational practices. This research is highly relevant to general public health. Health science apathy, increasing at a societal level, is often rooted in K-12 science education failing to be of interest or relevance to everyday life. Collective Simulations, especially when exploring compelling content (e.g. connecting physiology with nutrition, physical education and substance abuse), are likely to engage students more and to turn them into better-informed, and consequently healthier citizens.

* information listed above is at the time of submission.

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