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Can a game put engineering students in an active learning mode? A first experiment in sustainable agriculture teaching

Michelin M., Depigny S., Michelin Y.. 2006. In : Elleithy Khaled (ed.), Sobh Tarek (ed.), Mahmood Ausif (ed.), Iskander Magued (ed.), Karim Mohammad (ed.). Advances in computer, information, and systems sciences, and engineering: proceedings of IETA 2005, TeNe 2005, EIAE 2005. Dordrecht : Springer [Pays-Bas], p. 343-350. International Conference on Engineering Education, Instructional Technology, Assessment and E-Learning, 2005-12-10/2005-12-20, Bridgeport (Etats-Unis).

DOI: 10.1007/1-4020-5261-8_53

An experiment using educational games has been conducted in France with first year engineering students to develop their understanding of what sustainable farming is. We have devised a game that models the impact of grazing practices on landscape dynamics and compared a board version and a virtual one. The game appears to be more efficient in developing the desire to learn more and stimulating players' imagination than in teaching precise scientific knowledge. The game does not take the place of the classical courses. It introduces them. Finally, there is not any competition between the board game and the computerized one; the board game is more relevant to start the educational process, the second allows more possibilities to experiment different ways of management.

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