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Breaking SPORE: Aligning Video Game Affordances to Science Pedagogy

, , University of Nevada, Las Vegas, United States ; , Alexander Dawson School, United States

Society for Information Technology & Teacher Education International Conference, in Austin, Texas, USA ISBN 978-1-880094-92-1 Publisher: Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education (AACE), Chesapeake, VA


This study aimed to address the general concern that games and simulations are not necessarily linked to scientific content, nor do they necessarily promote scientific understanding. In the worst case, games or simulations like Spore may be based on flawed assumptions and may promote misconceptions. As a result, we examine how a pedagogical adjustment to using Spore in a middle school science class may yield learning benefits. Specifically, we examine the influence of this adjustment on students’ conceptual understanding of natural selection when compared to a control group. Ultimately, this study addresses the general questions of whether or not it is possible to exploit a game intended to entertain as a simulation that promotes scientific understanding. Based on the findings, we believe that it is possible to make judicious use of games and simulations like Spore for content learning.


Schrader, P., Deniz, H. & Keilty, J. (2012). Breaking SPORE: Aligning Video Game Affordances to Science Pedagogy. In P. Resta (Ed.), Proceedings of SITE 2012--Society for Information Technology & Teacher Education International Conference (pp. 2618-2625). Austin, Texas, USA: Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education (AACE). Retrieved March 19, 2019 from .


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Cited By

  1. Evolution and natural selection: learning by playing and reflecting

    David Herrero, Hector del Castillo, Natalia Monjelat, Ana Garca-Varela, Mirian Checa & Patricia Gomez, Department of Educational Sciences, University of Alcal

    Journal of New Approaches in Educational Research (NAER Journal) Vol. 3, No. 1 (Jan 15, 2014) pp. 26–33

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