Faculty Publications

Mobile Gaming And Student Interactions In A Science Center: The Future Of Gaming In Science Education

Document Type



Gaming education, Informal science education, Technology education

Journal/Book/Conference Title

International Journal of Science and Mathematics Education



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Last Page



This article explores the impact of an augmented reality iPad-based mobile game, called The Great STEM Caper, on students’ interaction at a science center. An open-source, location-based game platform called ARIS (i.e. Augmented Reality and Interactive Storytelling) was used to create an iPad-based mobile game. The game used QR scan codes and a challenge-based game structure to encourage engagement in science. Participants wore head-mounted GoPro cameras to record interactions within the physical and social environment. The purpose of this research was to study the impact of a mobile game on student interactions in a science center. Gender differences in gameplay behaviors and perceptions were compared. The study included a quasi-experimental design with two groups: one group that played the iPad mobile game during their science center visit, and one group that explored the science center in a traditional free exploration manner. Video data from the GoPro cameras provided examination of the different ways students interacted with the science center. The female students outperformed the male students on every measure of the iPad game achievement. Lazzaro’s (2004) four types of fun was used to describe the gender differences in game perceptions and interactions. Females tended to enjoy hard fun and collaborative people fun, while males enjoyed easy fun and competitive people fun. The females tended to be more goal-oriented, persistent in the face of difficulty, and appreciative of hard fun. The results of this study have implications for the design of mobile-based gaming technology to encourage interaction in an informal science center setting.


Department of Curriculum and Instruction

Original Publication Date


DOI of published version



UNI ScholarWorks, Rod Library, University of Northern Iowa