No Magic Bullet: 3D Video Games in Education

AquaMOOSE 3D is a graphical environment designed to support the exploration of 3D mathematical concepts. One of the underlying motivations for the AquaMOOSE project is to leverage the entertainment value of video games to provide a learning environment that engages students in more meaningful ways than are typically seen in the classroom. In this quasiexperimental comparison class study at a suburban high school, we compared the AquaMOOSE intervention to instruction using the traditional curriculum. Our results were disappointing, and call into question our underlying assumptions. In this paper, we will describe factors that contributed and discuss broader implications. Student expectations for the software were high due to the production values seen in commercial video games. In addition, the 3D aspect of the AquaMOOSE software introduced usability concerns and increased content complexity. We also encountered many classic problems of research in the classroom that affected the outcome of the study.


Jason Elliott, Lori Adams, Amy Bruckman


Elliott. Jason, Lori Adams, and Amy Bruckman (2002). "No Magic Bullet: 3D Video Games in Education." Proceedings of ICLS 2002, Seattle, WA, October 2002.