Games to Teach and Games to Test: Developing and Assessing Innovation

David Williamson Shaffer was invited to speak for Arizona State University Learning Sciences Institute’s ALL series.

This video presents a perspective on learning and assessment suited to the realities of modern work and education in a knowledge-based society.  Shaffer explores the research behind Epistemic Games.

“The work that I have been trying to do is to develop a game-like environment, a culture, where you would actually be able to learn, to think; in the way that people in the real world who solve problems; do.”

In particular he points to Nephrotex, an Epistemic Game that teaches students to behave like engineers, and the different engineering gender gap theories. Shaffer argues that students

“…actually came into engineering so they could be engineers.  They spend the first three years of engineering doing calculus, basic science courses and they aren’t actually designing anything.”

Nephrotex lets first year students experience what it actually means to be a professional engineer by participating in authentic engineering design. Epistemic games like Nephrotex can be used to propel education forward in the 21st century.

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This work was funded in part by the National Science Foundation (DRL-0918409, DRL-0946372, DRL-1247262, DRL-1418288, DRL-1661036, DRL-1713110, DUE-0919347, DUE-1225885, EEC-1232656, EEC-1340402, REC-0347000), the MacArthur Foundation, the Spencer Foundation, the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation, and the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research and Graduate Education at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. The opinions, findings, and conclusions do not reflect the views of the funding agencies, cooperating institutions, or other individuals.