Discipline: Computer Sciences and Information Management
Subcategory: Computer Science & Information Systems
Christian Aaron Murga - University of Texas at El Paso
Co-Author(s): Angel U. Ortega, University of Texas at El Paso
Technology in our society has been advancing at an incredible rate. This has created a great demand for careers in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM). However, the United States has fallen behind in producing a workforce that is skilled in STEM fields, especially those from underrepresented groups, despite the demand . The Sol y Agua project consists of the development of an educational video game suitable for middle-school students. The game has a theme of water sustainability and stewardship with components that highlight data acquisition, chemistry laboratory simulation, water resource negotiation activities, and data management. The effort reported in this poster, referred to as Data VizION (Visualization Igniting Original iNsights), is focused on the data management component of the Sol y Agua game. The goal of the Data VizION effort is to integrate visualization into the game to assist students’ ability to negotiate knowledge of complex problems and integrate STEM concepts across disciplines. This is done through the use the immersive and the exploratory abilities of data visualization through themes of water sustainability and data literacy. The research question being addressed by the work presented in this poster is: can data visualization augment learning environments in the context of an educational video game? Data visualization is a way to explore and present meaning in data  so that people can surpass typical limitations of thinking and handle complex ideas . The use of visualizations in Sol y Agua aims to prompt students to ask probing questions about global problems, improve students’ abilities to comprehend data and problem solve. The Data VizION effort resolves to inspire young minds to think in new ways; the effort has five major components that aim that aim to assist in the augmentation of Sol y Agua, i.e. real world data, negotiation, interdiscipline, knowledge, interest. The process of creating visualizations keeps these components in mind. This process cycles though exploring relationships in the data, implementing a candidate visualization, and evaluating the visualization. Future research will involve evaluation of student interaction with the produced visualizations.
References:  Games, A. (Michigan S. U., & Kane, L. (Michigan S. U. (2011). Exploring adolescent’s STEM learning through scaffolded game design. Proceedings of the 6th International Conference on Foundations of Digital Games – FDG 11, 1-8. Retrieved September 22, 2016 from http://dl.acm.org/citation.cfm?id=2159366.
 Yau, N. (2013). Data points: Visualization that means something. John Wiley & Sons, Inc., Indianapolis, Indiana.  Cmielewski, L., Finnegan, a N. N., & Starrs, J. (2009). Meaningful Data: Seeker’s Slow Technology Approach. Computers in Entertainment (CIE) – SPECIAL ISSUE: Media Arts and Games, 7(1), 1-8.
Funder Acknowledgement(s): Funding was provided by the NSF Centers of Research Excellence in Science and Technology (CREST) program. The project team would like to thank the Smithsonian Latino Center and the following UTEP contributors: Ann Gates project supervisor and Director of CYBER-ShARE Center of Excellence Monika Akbar, Kay Roy, and Victor Reyes from the CYBER-ShARE Center Jesse Tellez, Ivonne Lopez, Kevin Lanahan, Lennox Thompson, Orlando Gordillo, and Jamila Walton from the Sol y Agua Project.
Faculty Advisor: Monika Akbar, firstname.lastname@example.org