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1 January 2018 Shroomroot: An Action-Based Digital Game to Enhance Postsecondary Teaching and Learning about Mycorrhizae
Julia Amerongen Maddison, Maja Kržić, Suzanne Simard, Christopher Adderly, Samia Khan
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Abstract

The majority of terrestrial plants associate with fungi in symbiotic resource-exchange relationships called mycorrhizae. Because of the importance of these mycorrhizal systems to ecosystem functioning, it is crucial that future resource managers and scientists have a solid understanding of mycorrhizal ecology. Limited interest of postsecondary students in plants and fungi compared with animals, combined with difficulties visualizing below-ground processes, present challenges for learning mycorrhizal concepts. To address this, we created the digital, plant-ecology-centric, action-based game Shroomroot for use in a second year, postsecondary Introduction to Soil Science course. We then assessed effects of Shroomroot on students' knowledge acquisition and engagement with the topic of mycorrhizal ecology using a pre- and post-test evaluation. Students' knowledge of mycorrhizal ecology increased significantly after playing Shroomroot, and tended to increase more for items related to Shroomroot gameplay than in rewards-based game content. Student engagement with mycorrhizal content tended to increase after gameplay. These results suggest positive potential for action-based, plant-ecology-oriented digital games in a postsecondary science curriculum. Furthermore, greater understanding of mycorrhizae has the potential to improve our multifaceted relationships with the ecosystems upon which we depend.

© 2018 National Association of Biology Teachers. All rights reserved. Please direct all requests for permission to photocopy or reproduce article content through the University of California Press's Reprints and Permissions web page, www.ucpress.edu/journals.php?p=reprints.
Julia Amerongen Maddison, Maja Kržić, Suzanne Simard, Christopher Adderly, and Samia Khan "Shroomroot: An Action-Based Digital Game to Enhance Postsecondary Teaching and Learning about Mycorrhizae," The American Biology Teacher 80(1), 11-20, (1 January 2018). https://doi.org/10.1525/abt.2018.80.1.11
Published: 1 January 2018
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