DOE Funds Video Game Research for Middle School Science
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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