Learning About Ecosystem Services with PEWI: Student Reflections

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2022-10
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Natural Resource Ecology and Management
Abstract
People in Ecosystem/Watershed Integration (PEWI; https://www.nrem.iastate.edu/pewi/) is an online teaching and learning tool designed to help students learn the relationships between land management, land cover, watershed hydrology, and ecosystem outcomes (Chennault et al., 2020; Anderson et al., 2020). PEWI features a 2,383 ha (6,000 acres) virtual watershed based on real-world locations. PEWI is both a simulation and game-based learning tool. As a game, PEWI is designed with goal orientation, constraints, feedback mechanisms, and gameplay features, as described in Becker (2021). The gameplay design is technically passive — the stu-dent plays with the computer, which provides feedback during and at the end of the play. The tool lets users discover causal relationships between ecosystem service outcomes and allows participants to assume roles and decision-making responsibilities. As a computer model that allows students to test out their hypotheses related to land use, PEWI qualifies as a simulation tool (Gredler, 1996; O'Neil et al., 2005).
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