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Thursday, February 12, 2009

Creating an Online Game for Middle School Kids

As part of a National Science Foundation grant with a team consisting of members from Hofstra University, Santa Barbara City College (working with Jim Kiggens and his team), Bloomsburg University, SUNY Buffalo and a independent company called Whitebox Learning I am involved with creating a game to teach middle school student math and engineering concepts and ideas.

We have spent some time struggling with creating the right concept for the game. We initially had it be a wilderness survival type of game but it was too hard and artificial to inject formulas and problems into that environment. We want the game to be multi player but had to deal with issues of what to do if a student is absent and how would he or she make up work without holding back the team. It seemed that we were at a dead end.

Finally, the team worked and came up with a solution of having the students be contestants trying out for a survival game. The one small change allowed us to make some interesting modifications that now makes the concept of the game much more fun and exciting to middle school students. Now they are competing in groups of 4 to see who will be the "host" of the survival show. As a host, they need to know a lot of information so they go through "training" which will introduce a series of mini-games and educational nuggets that they must learn and/or master to earn points toward being the host. We are still in the design phase but I feel like our re-conceptualization of the game was a big step forward.

Here is a video created by some of the team members based on our old concept but you can get an idea of the environment in which the game will take place from the video.



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2 comments:

james said...

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Centenial College said...

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