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From Information to Experience: Place-Based Augmented Reality Games as a Model for Learning in a Globally Networked Society

by Kurt D. Squire - 2010

Background/Context: New information technologies make information available just-in-time and on demand and are reshaping how we interact with information, but schools remain in a print-based culture, and a growing number of students are disaffiliating from traditional school. New methods of instruction are needed that are suited to the digital age.

Purpose/Objective/Research Question/Focus of Study: The purpose of this study is to explore how curricula that are designed to capitalize on the affordances of mobile media might be employed in schools.

Population/Participants/Subjects: The study took place during a 2-week unit in a poor urban school district with roughly 50 at-risk middle school students. The partnering teacher adapted the model curriculum, which involved students investigating a rash of illnesses originating from a popular local beach. This qualitative case study, derived from field notes, videotapes, interviews, and document analyses, describes the practices that emerged and the strengths and limitations of the curriculum. From a classroom management perspective, the narrative elements of the unit enabled teachers to create a dramatically different classroom culture, one that was built around students performing as scientists. Students’ performance was heavily dependent on the kinds of inscriptions that they made to organize data, suggesting the importance of designers developing tools to scaffold learning, but also suggesting trade-offs in having students struggle to organize information versus doing it for them. Most noteworthy to teachers was how the technology-enhanced curriculum enacted students’ identities as problem solvers and knowledge builders rather than as compliant consumers of information, reinforcing for them the schism between what is expected of students in school and how they interact outside of school. Teachers and students lamented the lack of opportunities to actually participate in community issues beyond the classroom, suggesting that the future of such curricula may reside in building community-school-home partnerships.

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Cite This Article as: Teachers College Record Volume 112 Number 10, 2010, p. 2565-2602
https://www.tcrecord.org ID Number: 15930, Date Accessed: 3/1/2021 8:32:43 PM

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About the Author
  • Kurt Squire
    University of Wisconsin-Madison
    KURT SQUIRE is an associate professor of educational communications and technology and an associate director of educational technology and development at the Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery. He is author of over 60 scholarly articles and chapters, including “From Content to Context: Video Games as Designed Experiences” (published in Educational Researcher) and Video Games in Education (forthcoming). Squire’s current interests are in using video games to increase public understanding in science, and the design of game-based assessment systems.
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