Maria Solomou

"The aim of education should be to teach us rather how to think, than what to think - rather to improve our minds, so as to enable us to think for ourselves, than to load the memory with thoughts of other men."  ~Bill Beattie















1. Virtual Geocaching for learning

Geocaching is a "real-world treasure hunting game where players around the globe use GPS devices to discover hidden containers" (caches, also known as geocaches). Adopting the particular gaming context, and transferring it in a virtual experience, I seek to describe how scaffolding contributes in learners' virtual performance. This work is an exploration of how learning can be scaffolded and enhanced effectively in a a 3D virtual gaming environment (Quest Atlantis). Through a mission regarding a fictional narrative involving the Mayan civilization and Ancient Greece, and with geocaching practices, players/learners embark on a journey to discover the final geocache that will resolve the dilemma. This project describes a small part of the mission, where Questers (the players in Quest Atlantis) decrypt a Mayan script.


2. The WebQuest Model

This website is a worked example of the WebQuest model, developed by Dr. Bernie Dodge. From the plethora of resources on the internet I have chosen the most informative and illuminating instances to describe the course of the model, its evolution throughout the years and its impact on learning.


3. The Model-IT Project

This site is a worked example of the Model-It™ project, developed at the University of Michigan. It provides information around development of the Model-It™ software and the theoretical perspectives around it and around learner-centered scientific design. This worked example also describes the theoretical advancements and implications in learning and educational research. The content was retrieved mainly from relevant websites and academic articles related to the Model-It™ project.


4. Same Content, Different Context

This project highlights importance and value of contextualizing content in ways that afford agency, and the differences in the quality of participation that the design of a virtual gaming context affords.This study compares two designs in the multi-user virtual gaming environment of Quest Atlantis (QA) and identifies the conceptual changes and the effects on teachers’ leaning.


5. Building Creativity

Architecture is a Unit developed in Media world to highlight how creative ideas emerge within a community and spread amongst its members. This worked example showcases findings from a recent investigation by Peppler and Solomou, (2011) that outlines principles for applying Csikszentmihalyi's model to the design and study of a virtual gaming environment, and pushes back on the particular framework, in a virtual environment where we can track the domain, the field and the individuals over time.