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Spore: Spawning Evolutionary Misconceptions?
ARTICLE

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Journal of Science Education and Technology Volume 19, Number 5, ISSN 1059-0145

Abstract

The use of computer simulations as educational tools may afford the means to develop understanding of evolution as a natural, emergent, and decentralized process. However, special consideration of developmental constraints on learning may be necessary when using these technologies. Specifically, the essentialist (biological forms possess an immutable essence), teleological (assignment of purpose to living things and/or parts of living things that may not be purposeful), and intentionality (assumption that events are caused by an intelligent agent) biases may be reinforced through the use of computer simulations, rather than addressed with instruction. We examine the video game Spore for its depiction of evolutionary content and its potential to reinforce these cognitive biases. In particular, we discuss three pedagogical strategies to mitigate weaknesses of Spore and other computer simulations: directly targeting misconceptions through refutational approaches, targeting specific principles of scientific inquiry, and directly addressing issues related to models as cognitive tools.

Citation

Bean, T.E., Sinatra, G.M. & Schrader, P.G. (2010). Spore: Spawning Evolutionary Misconceptions?. Journal of Science Education and Technology, 19(5), 409-414. Retrieved August 19, 2019 from .

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