Tuesday, March 31, 2009

The Moon's geology learned through gameplay

Would young people learn science better
if it were packaged in a videogame?

That's the question at the heart of the Selene project, originally funded by NASA and carried through a four-year grant from the NSF. Selene studies video game learning and the ways researchers can assess how effectively that learning takes place.

The Center for Educational Technologies at Wheeling Jesuit University created Selene as an online game to discover how organizations could best use video games to introduce important science concepts.

Selene challenges players to learn the major geologic processes scientists believe formed the modern Moon. Players create their own moon and then pepper it with impact craters and flood it with lava. It's a great opportunity for students to learn about lunar geology while helping researchers study some key videogame design principles. In addition, playing Selene offers a way to take part in the International Year of Astronomy 2009, a global celebration of astronomy and its contributions to society and culture, highlighted by the 400th anniversary of the first use of an astronomical telescope by Galileo Galilei.

CET's research project CyGaMEs uses Selene to introduce players ages 13-18 the Moon's geology and researchers track players' game-play to study how Selene helps players to pick up on that subject matter. Developers currently have the project aligned to National Science Standards and the Texas State Science Standards. Other states standards are currently being developed.

CET presents numerous opportunities for educators to become involved, including working on game design, development, collaborative research and utilizing the project with students.

The Center for Educational Technologies produced Selene to conduct its research. If you're a student between the ages of 13-18, we'd love to have you play. The game takes about an hour to complete, but you can spend more time after checking out Selene's various resources about the Moon. To play, though, you have to be enrolled by an adult recruiter to ensure parent/guardian consent for your participation.

If you're an adult who'd like to help out, click on the Recruiter button at left and help us find players to take part in the study. Being a recruiter is simple and doesn't involve a lot of paperwork. The whole process involves getting oral consent from a parent or guardian, then forwarding Selene registration access to your recruited players. It's that simple.

Join in this exciting venture and be a part of cutting-edge research sponsored by the National Science Foundation.


Tychocrater said...

Thanks, Joel, for spreading the word about our Selene game. It is a research project to better understand how kids can learn while playing a videogame. The fact that it teaches about the Moon is an added plus!
Chuck Wood

Joel Raupe said...

My pleasure, Chuck. Sorry I couldn't make it to the LPSC XL 2009, last week. Looks like I really missed out.

And I would like to write more to promote this great online teaching tool. We're looking forward to the Second Life island, as well. I understand you're helping with that, as well.

Anything I can do for someone who posts the LPOD with more dependability than the mailman...

Joel R