Preprints
https://doi.org/10.5194/gc-2021-11
https://doi.org/10.5194/gc-2021-11

  02 Jun 2021

02 Jun 2021

Review status: a revised version of this preprint was accepted for the journal GC and is expected to appear here in due course.

Pandemic Minecrafting: An Analysis of the Perceptions of and Lessons Learned from a Gamified Virtual Geology Field Camp

Erika Rader1, Renee Love1, Darryl Reano2, Tonia A. Dousay3, and Natasha Wingerter4 Erika Rader et al.
  • 1Department of Geography and Geological Sciences, University of Idaho, Moscow, 83843, USA
  • 2STEM Transformation Institute, Florida International University, Miami, 33199, USA
  • 3College of Education, University of Idaho, Moscow, 83843, USA
  • 4Water Resources Program, University of Idaho, Moscow, 83843, USA

Abstract. To mimic the 3-D geospatial components of geologic mapping usually spotlighted by field camp, we developed a virtual course based in the sandbox videogame Minecraft. Paired with audio/video conferencing and real data, students practiced measuring strike and dip, orienteering with a compass, matching landscape features with topographic maps, and tracing geologic contacts within the team structure typically employed in field camp. Open-source programs and tutorials freely available online assisted with constructing the Minecraft worlds. Assignments were aligned to the nine learning outcomes established for geology field camps by the National Association of Geology Teachers (NAGT). A pre- and post-survey quantified students’ learning of the subject matter as well as perceptions towards Minecraft and online learning. We also held feedback sessions and conducted in-class, live observations to classify students’ reactions and experiences during virtual activities. Overwhelmingly, students indicated they would have preferred an in-person field camp, yet considered the Minecraft assignments exciting, important, interesting, and valuable. Regardless of perceived barriers, scores on subject matter questions increased from the pre- to the post-survey. Finally, observations illustrated how students’ experience in a virtual field camp recreated comparable components that students experience during an in-person field camp (e.g., students discussing career pathways, geological skills, and fostering interpersonal relationships). Because this virtual course achieved the curricular goals as well as the non-curricular goals and was relatively easy to construct, we recommend the usage of Minecraft for virtual geology courses in the future.

Erika Rader et al.

Status: closed

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on gc-2021-11', William Parcell, 28 Jun 2021
    • AC1: 'Reply on RC1', Erika Rader, 20 Jul 2021
  • RC2: 'Comment on gc-2021-11', Anonymous Referee #2, 21 Jul 2021
    • AC2: 'Reply on RC2', Erika Rader, 16 Aug 2021

Status: closed

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on gc-2021-11', William Parcell, 28 Jun 2021
    • AC1: 'Reply on RC1', Erika Rader, 20 Jul 2021
  • RC2: 'Comment on gc-2021-11', Anonymous Referee #2, 21 Jul 2021
    • AC2: 'Reply on RC2', Erika Rader, 16 Aug 2021

Erika Rader et al.

Erika Rader et al.

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Short summary
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic shut down, we designed a virtual geology field camp based in the video game, Minecraft. Students learned how to map geological features on the surface and in the subsurface using this fun and engaging platform. Students perceptions of the course were positive and they showed improvement on basic geologic skills between a pre- and post-assessment survey. students discussing career pathways, skills, and fostering interpersonal relationships.
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