Friday, May 4, 2012

Students Test Educational Games for UW-Madison's Discovery Institutes (Guest Post by David Bell)

Recently, our middle and high school science students participated in important educational gaming research for UW-Madison researchers. Meagan Rothschild and Michael Beall of the Morgridge Institute for Research had students play the educational game Progenitor X. Progenitor X is a game developed to teach players about the relationships between cells, tissues, and organs, including the basic scientific principles of Induced Pluripotent Stem Cell research. While the researches have spent countless hours developing the game, they also need middle and high school students to beta-test these games. The goal for their visit was to collect very specific data. Prior to playing the game, students took a short pretest to determine their background knowledge on the subject. While students played the game, analytics software monitored each movement that students made in order to better understand the choices students make while playing the game.  Following the game, students took a post test and were able to give feedback directly to the researchers.  The research collected will  help developers create a final version of the game that enhances the learning experience. Our students were able to learn about cells, participate in applied-science research, and discuss the elements of game design with professional game designers.  Later this month, intermidiate elementary students will be beta-testing Citizen Science, another applied-science, contextualized game. We are excited for the opportunity to partner with UW-Madison's award-winning educational gaming department (including gaming rock-star, Kurt Squire) and to participate in other play-testing projects in all content areas. 

Thank you to middle school science, high school science, and high school science/special education teachers for coordinating the experience.

Pictures courtesy of Kim Fanning

If you are interest in learning more about the Educational  Research taking place at the Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery a few resources are available below:

This is a guest post by David Bell. It is originally posted here

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