Research Areas

Virtual Worlds in Education

(Boechler and Carbonaro)

Researchers in TALS develop and explore the uses of 3D immersive, virtual worlds in educational settings for such purposes as student orientation, student information sessions and interactive, team-based course modules.

Virtual Worlds and Cognition

(Boechler)

Virtual worlds can be used to test cognitive processing under conditions that we can’t execute in the real-world (e.g. the instantaneous alteration of a large-scale environment across trials). This allows us to test psychological processes in controlled but modifiable settings (e.g., reorientation, place-based learning, multi-tasking, incidental learning and attention in 3D worlds). We also develop cognitive interventions for specific users, like a game-based social skills intervention for adolescents with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder.

Video Games in Education

(Boechler and Carbonaro)

Faculty members in TALS deliver the course EDIT 486 – Interactive Multimedia: Video Games or Teaching and Learning. This course teaches education students to use video game creation as a teaching tool for K-12 students. We conduct research on this course related to effectiveness for students with various individual differences (e.g. video game experience, computer experience, etc.)

Digital Literacy Measures for the Classroom

(Boechler)

The terms digital literacy, digital competence, e-literacy, information literacy and computer literacy have all been used to describe different aspects of fluency with digital material and tools. Although definitions of digital literacy share some common elements, at present, there is no overall consensus on what skill sets constitute digital literacy and how these skills should be measured. But what about the educator who just needs to quickly understand where their students are at in order to implement a technology-based assignment? This study explores three simple and short assessment tools for gauging students’ current digital literacy status: 1) The Software Recognition Test to measure general exposure to digital tools and materials, 2) the Recreational Experience Scale to measure frequency of recreational use and 3) the Educational Activities Checklist to measure experience with specific educational digitally-based activities.