Middle School Children Participation in an Immersive Virtual Game Environment, Presence, and Piaget's Stages of Development
Abstract: In this paper we explore definitions of presence put forth over the last 20 years, and how these apply to middle school students. These students were engaged in an immersive virtual environment (SAVE Science) designed to assess their knowledge and use of scientific inquiry through several modules planned around curriculum being taught in middle schools in Pennsylvania, U.SA. This paper presents early findings in looking at 154 middle school students’ perceived sense of presence in one of two virtual games developed through the SAVE Science research project as demonstrated through a post module survey and a post module discussion with their teacher. We use Piaget’s child development stages theory as a lens to understand whether these students achieved presence in the modules. In the end, the seventh grade students seemed to achieve some level of presence, while the sixth grade students did not.