DOE Funds Video Game Research for Middle School Science

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The United States Department of Education has awarded $9.2 million to the Education Development Center, a non-profit education research organization, to study how video games can be used in middle school science instruction in the classroom. For the program, EDC will serve as a "National R&D Center on Instructional Technology," developing software and curricula focused on educational video games.

In this role, EDC will develop and pilot four "modules" designed for the Nintendo DS handheld designed to supplement traditional instruction. The software will include animations, team play, problem-solving games, and features that allow students to use the Nintendo DS "as a combination portable lab, field notebook, scientific instrument, and communicator."

EDC will also develop a year-long curriculum, called "Super Sleuths," for science students in grade 7. According to EDC, the curriculum will "offer teachers and students in-depth explorations of scientific problems, countering students' scientific misconceptions, reading difficulties, and lack of motivation that often complicate science teaching."

"We see a lot of excitement around this technology for use in classrooms," said Shelley Pasnik, director of EDC's Center for Children and Technology, in a statement released this week. "We see educational potential in the experience of gaming as students test strategies, discover mistakes and successes, and then use that experience to make progress."

Besides designing the gaming software and supporting materials, EDC will also conduct research into the effectiveness of video games in education and said it will share its findings with educators and game developers.

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About the author:David Nagel is the executive editor for 1105 Media's online education technology publications, including THE Journal and Campus Technology. He can be reached at dnagel@1105media.com.

Proposals for articles and tips for news stories, as well as questions and comments about this publication, should be submitted to David Nagel, executive editor, at dnagel@1105media.com.

About the Author

David Nagel is the executive producer for 1105 Media's online K-12 and higher education publications and electronic newsletters. He can be reached at dnagel@1105media.com. He can now be followed on Twitter at http://twitter.com/THEJournalDave (K-12) or http://twitter.com/CampusTechDave (higher education). You can also connect with him on LinkedIn at http://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=10390192.

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