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Physics and Playstation too: Learning physics with computer games

Stapleton, A.J. and Taylor, P.C.S. (2002) Physics and Playstation too: Learning physics with computer games. In: 15th Biennial Congress of the Australian Institute of Physics (AIP) 2002, 8 - 11 July 2002, Sydney Convention & Exhibition Centre, Darling Harbour, Sydney



Computer games seem to captivate the imagination and attention of contemporary teenagers. If only the energy, motivation, fun and exhilaration they enjoy from playing games on their PC, or on consoles such as PlayStation 2, GameCube, XBOX, and Dreamcast, could be captured in learning physics! Andrew Stapleton, a doctoral student under Dr. Peter Taylor's supervision at Curtin University's Science and Mathematics Education Centre, believes it can and explores how in this paper. The paper discusses both the use of games and simulations in physics classrooms and their design as legitimate means for learning physics. Based on theoretical and methodological insights Andrew gained from his doctoral research into the design of multimedia for conceptual learning of physics, the paper considers the role of design in the physics curriculum. Physics, education and design are brought together in dialogue in an endeavour to provide physics educators with new perspective and opportunities for their students to learn physics. To illustrate the possibility of learning physics with computer games, the presentation will include examples from SR Voyager, a multimedia prototype Andrew developed for his research, which aims to promote conceptual learning of the physics of special relativity.

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