EAGER: Mixed Reality for Improved Science Reading Comprehension
EAGER: Mixed Reality for Improved Science Reading Comprehension is a unique partnership between East Carolina University (ECU), Spark Plug Games, Cumberland County Schools, and Teresa C Berrien Elementary School that will develop and perform preliminary testing of mixed reality (MR) to improve comprehension of academic language in elementary science text. Mixed Reality for improved science reading comprehension promises to develop and test the use of mixed reality (MR) to improve comprehension of academic language in elementary science text. Working with educators at T.C. Berrien Elementary School in Fayetteville, NC, the team will ascertain curriculum aligned learning objectives and collect and analyze student reading comprehension data to inform the creation of an MR enhanced version of a 5th grade science module. Sparkplug Games will create the MR experience and work with educators to ensure classroom usability of the prototype experience. The project aims to develop skills that are fundamental to success in future STEM learning. By designing MR experiences that foster reading, visualization, and scientific thinking, it is hoped that this project will lead the way for future development of quality MR learning experiences and eventually for affordable accessible products suitable for a broader implementation in elementary schools, libraries, and homes across the world.
Annetta, L.A. (2019-2021). Mixed Reality for Improved Science Reading Comprehension.
Our long-term goal is to improve students’ comprehension of science text by using MR to develop engaging personalized learning systems. EAGER funding is an appropriate fit for this exploratory study to develop and conduct preliminary tests of a prototype system to demonstrate feasibility and potential efficacy.
Significant Results & Impact
This project has created proof-of-concept technology that activates virtual content in science texts at the appropriate time to assist the learner in reading and understanding new vocabulary. The XR technology makes the science content of a science reading module come alive with 3D images, moving diagrams, and sound. The goal is to improve students’ comprehension of science text by using mixed reality (XR) to develop engaging personalized learning systems. A total of 15 fifth grade students participated in the first phase of this study; 5 students were boys, and 10 students were girls while 53% were white, 33% were African American, and 13% were Hispanic. Students demonstrated a positive change in their reading interest and science interest; there was also positive growth in their understanding of key concepts such as photosynthesis and chemical potential energy. The project is an exploratory study to develop and conduct preliminary tests of the prototype system meant to demonstrate its usefulness and effectiveness. It will be determined what is needed to design and develop XR learning environments, specifically focused on improving upper elementary grade students’ science reading comprehension. The project will lead the way for development of quality XR learning experiences and eventually for affordable accessible products suitable for a broader implementation in elementary schools, libraries, and homes across the world.
Broader Impacts: This project is expected to have a broad societal impact in three ways. First, it will contribute foundational knowledge to the development of XR materials that bridge science learning and interest into effective elementary literacy practices and supplement traditional science instructional tools which have been difficult to implement effectively for some learners. Second, this project aims to develop classroom tools for teachers to use emerging technology in exciting ways, increasing engagement and improving learning outcomes for diverse students. Third, by participating in this project, students will develop skills that are fundamental to success in future STEM learning.
Bressler, D.M., Annetta, L.A., Johnson-Holder, A., & Dunekack, A. (submitted March 30, 2020). Enhancing elementary science text with mixed reality: Exploring changes in students’ reading performance and interest. International Journal of Science and Mathematics Education
Annetta, L.A., Bressler, D., Holder, A., & Dunekak, A. (January, 15, 2021). Investigating the influence of mixed reality on elementary schools students’ science reading performance. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the Association for Science Teacher Education (ASTE). Salt Lake City, UT
Bressler, D.M., Annetta, L.A., & Shapiro, M. (March 14, 2020). Preservice science teachers’ perceptions of teaching and learning after using augmented reality applications. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the National Association for the Research in Science Teaching (NARST). Portland, OR (Online)
For More Information
For more information, please contact:
Len Annetta, Ph.D.
Taft Distinguished Professor of Science Education
Senior Editor-International Journal of Science & Mathematics Education
East Carolina University
Flanagan 307, MS 566
Greenville, NC 27858
National Science Foundation
Robust Intelligence, Cyberlearning & Future Learn Tech
This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. 1940809. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.