SURGE’s Evolution Deeper into Formal Representations: The Siren’s Call of Popular Game-Play Mechanics

Douglas Clark, Satyugjit Virk, Pratim Sengupta, Corey Brady, Mario Martinez-Garza, Kara Krinks, Stephen Killingsworth, John Kinnebrew, Gautam Biswas, Jacqueline Barnes, James Minstrell, Brian Nelson, Kent Slack, Cynthia D'Angelo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We have iteratively designed and researched five digital games focusing on Newtonian dynamics for middle school classrooms during the past seven years. The designs have evolved dramatically in terms of the roles and relationships of the formal representations, phenomenological representations, and control schemes. Phenomenological representations can be thought of as the “world” representations that depict the actual actions and motion of a game as they occur (i.e., the central representations in most recreational games). Formal representations highlight the disciplinary relationships of interest from a pedagogical perspective (such as vector arrows, graphs, and dot traces). Our initial design perspective focused on highlighting the formal physics relationships within popular game-play mechanics. This perspective prioritized a commitment to the phenomenological representations and controls of recreational games, specifically marble-genre games...
Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalInternational Journal of Designs for Learning
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 1 2016
Externally publishedYes

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