Simulated real worlds: science students creating sustainable cities in the urban simulation computer game SimCity 4

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Simulated real worlds: science students creating sustainable cities in the urban simulation computer game SimCity 4

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Publication Conference Paper, peer reviewed
Title Simulated real worlds: science students creating sustainable cities in the urban simulation computer game SimCity 4
Author(s) Nilsson, Elisabet M.
Date 2008-07
English abstract
This paper presents an empirical study involving 42 science students playing the urban simulation computer game SimCity 4 with the mission to create sustainable cities. The aim of the study is to empirically explore a science learning context supported by SimCity 4. Focus group interviews and video recordings of interviews were used to gather data. The outcome is an analytical description based upon the students’ retrospective reflections upon their cities, and the assumptions underlying their design choices. The findings indicate that SimCity 4 did provide a fictitious urban environment where the student could experiment and make use of their scientific knowledge and experience consequences of their actions, factors that in this paper referred to as simulated real world problems. The findings also point out that restraints set by the game rules limited the students in terms of accomplishing ideas that could not be framed within the framework of the game. Instead, these ideas were expressed in other media outside the game (physical models and essays). This observation emphasises the importance of looking at the educational use of computer games as an interplay between game, student, context and teacher.
Publisher ISAGA 2008 Conference
Language eng (iso)
Subject(s) computer games
learning
Humanities/Social Sciences
science education
computer games research
Handle http://hdl.handle.net/2043/7375 (link to this page)

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