STEAM Decks - Learning STEAM through a playful online platform, social learning and content co-creation

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STEAM Decks presents an online and offline card game, meant for playing and creating content related to Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) at primary and secondary schools.

STEAM Decks provides a freely accessible online platform and an app that primary and secondary school students can use to develop declarative content in a contextualised and meaningful way through a multiplayer online card game. In order to accomplish this, the project has several objectives:

  • To analyse the attitudes and skills of teachers and students in primary and secondary schools towards the subjects of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM).
  • To develop an open and freely accessible, open source and expandable platform that primary and secondary school students can use to develop declarative content in a contextualised and meaningful way through a multiplayer online card game.
  • To create initial content and activities for the platform to support its users with different levels of involvement.
  • To assess the quality and impact of the project after its implementation, in terms of both attitudes towards and skills in STEM at schools, and the quality of the methodology, platform and initial materials developed as part of the project.

Basic information

Country: France, Germany, Romania, Spain

Coordinator: University of Deusto, Spain, http://www.deusto.es

Programme: Erasmus+

Project Acronym:

Target groups: education authorities, general public, parents, primary school students, secondary school students, teachers

Topic: Biology, Chemistry, Earth science, Ecology, Energy, Geography, Technology

Start year: 2016

End year: 2018

Url: https://steamdecks.deusto.es

Contact person: Mariluz Guenaga, Email mlguenaga (at) deusto.es

The STEAM Decks platform provides valuable data about the use and creation of card decks by students and teachers. Researchers can benefit from this data, which is useful for evaluating the impact of the platform on its users. The project’s consortium publishes the results of this evaluation on the project’s online portal, related to the piloting studies carried out by the project’s partners.

The online platform provides several card decks that cover a wide variety of topics, including biology, chemistry, astronomy, arts and more. The gaming dynamics are easy to follow for primary and secondary school students. Each card in these decks has information about one part of the topic that is being covered and a list of easily comparable features, such as weight, swimming speed, longevity and others. To name an example, each animal has a unique card in the "Animals of the sea" deck of cards.

At the beginning of each game, the deck of cards is shuffled and each player takes half of the deck. During the first turn of the game, one of the players takes the top card from the deck and selects a feature to compare and how it should be compared with the other player’s. The more the better, or the fewer the better.

The other player takes the top card from the other deck and compares it by using the previously agreed criteria. If the card of the first player wins this comparison, that player earns a point. If the card of the second player is better, that player earns a point. If there is a draw, the user who selected the criterion loses.

There are several benefits from using STEAM Decks:

  • They can help develop contextualised and significant declarative knowledge: Comparisons help learners to understand the context of data, for example whether swimming at five kilometres per hour is fast or slow, and encourages them to think about generalisations. The students are able to choose from a large set of decks that covers many different topics and even create their own decks to foster significant learning.
  • They can boost creativity: Their users are not only players, but also creators of their own learning materials. Several procedural competences and soft skills are required when designing and developing a new card deck.
  • They are fun: Learning by playing supports gamification. Those techniques take advantage of fun activities to empower learning processes.
  • They can improve digital skills: Digital literacy can be significantly improved when creating new STEAM Decks, an activity that involves digital design, searching and selecting information, data management and editing.

 

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