Sabrina Weiss

Dr. Sabrina M. Weiss

Dr. Sabrina Weiss specializes in developing theoretical models that represent the ethical and social dimensions of issues at the intersection of science, technology, and society. Topics of interest include gender and sexuality, discourse theory, bodies and cyborgs, bioethics, food ethics, and innovative pedagogies, as well as the institutional and change dimensions affecting those areas.

Dr. Weiss earned a B.S. from Stanford’s Science, Technology, and Society program, an M.S. in Bioethics from Albany Medical College, and a Ph.D. in Science and Technology Studies at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and is a former U.S. Naval Officer (ROTC) who served overseas in Japan and at the Office of Naval Research.

An interdisciplinary and international scholar, Dr. Weiss has taught at Rochester Institute of Technology, which houses the National Institute for the Deaf, and at Leuphana University in Lüneburg, Germany. Dr. Weiss is a coauthor of Worlds of ScienceCraft: New Horizons in Sociology, Philosophy and Science Studies (2009).

October 25, 2020
3:10pm EST/12:10pm PST

Let's Meet in Minecraft: Student Centered Learning for Retention and Engagement

Play is an important part of learning.  Through play, especially enjoyable play, we repeatedly attempt tasks that would be difficult, even boring otherwise, and through that repetition, we learn and grow.  While the actual activity of learning does not always have to be a game, starting a learning process through an activity that is already a part of a student’s world promotes scaffolding and engagement because it is already familiar and interesting.

Minecraft, the popular creative building game, is an excellent platform that can not only give students a practical application for algebra, geometry, and physics, but also can support ecology, geology, and economics if used creatively and with an eye toward student-centered learning.  Minecraft is an excellent vehicle for metacognitive skills like recognizing one’s own frustrations or fears, setting and meeting goals, and failing forward.

These features are not unique to Minecraft, of course. Most games can incorporate these or similar elements.  And most media, especially books, television shows, movies and musicals can be utilized in similar ways. Tabletop roleplaying games like Dungeons and Dragons (D&D) also have excellent potential for teaching through fun engagement – math, problem solving, resource use, teamwork, turn-taking, and empathy building.

The key is to engage with students/learners through their interests and as the facilitator, to draw the connections to the skills and ideas we want them to develop for future opportunities.  Because of the connection to topics the learner is already invested in, and through emotional and mental engagement, we also increase retention and memory over time.

This session will discuss some examples of using “fun” material like games and other media as an invitation for learning engagement, and I will answer questions and offer suggestions for ways that you can engage with your learner through these activities.