Science Scribe: "Games for Science Engagement and Education," from the ScienceOnline2013 Conference
Posted February 27, 2013 in The Media and the Environment
The session I attended at ScienceOnline 2013 that most embodied the essence of ScienceOnline- passion for science communication, irreverence in the form of entrepreunerialism, and innovation in tool use-was the Gamechangers session. It encapsulated preaching beyond the choir, engagement, use of narrative, genre as a frmaing device, STEM, and using visuals all in one addictive bundle: video games for learning. Or also known as: how to dupe students into learning physics.
Earthworm Jim by Maki Naro
Perhaps it was the youthful enthusiasm and open mindedness of the presenters: Erik Martin, former Stacy Baker student and teenage blogger for Scitable, now a game designing freshman in college and co-coordinator of ScienceOnline Teen, teamed up with Cameron Pittman, a Nashville, Tennessee-based physics teacher who helps design games that teach the principles of physics. The pair led those of us still lecturing from textbooks and praising the written word as a teaching device into the seemingly dark, elusive tunnel that is the world of video games, and brought us through it to a bright, rosy future where students understand physics without even knowing they are learning, while collecting bags of virtual gold along the way.
Lots of great questions came up: how do you balance making a good game with conveying good science? How do you really use these games to evaluate understanding of core concepts?
Don't forget to play! Make sure your game is fun. As writers/communicators/gamers/teachers let's look beyond communicating the science and view our work, as we design it, through the lens of what we would want as audience members or consumers.
Apparently 90% of people are gamers in some way, shape or form. I think the other 10%, minus the presenters, were in that room. We had a lot of questions... and a lot of enthusiasm for this trend.
#SciGames in Tweets
Jessica Rohde wrapped up the session with this Storify collection of tweets and media: