Research Portfolio :: Comparative Media Studies
What can a game do about climate change?
A New Genre of Game
The Education Arcade, a research group of the School's Comparative Media Studies program (CMS), planned to find out, using a "curated game"—a new genre of game that combines gameplay with museum-going and social networking.
With major funding from the National Science Foundation, The Education Arcade and the Smithsonian Institution collaborated on the development of a new curated game about climate change. Called "Mass Extinction," this innovative new game is designed for middle school students.
Playing for Real
Over 8 weeks in the spring of 2011, the young "Mass Extinction" players explored a series of web pages, simulations, and live events at the Smithsonian and affiliate museums around the country. Together, players solved puzzles, collected data, did web searches, and engaged n on-line debate, all in the process of unraveling a mystery that blended a science-fiction scenario with the all-too-real issue of climate change.
Engaging Children with Science
The scientific process is a mystery to too many children, and they don't always receive the inspiration they need to try to learn. Games, particularly those played online, are a powerful way to re-engage kids with science.
"Mass Extinction"—and other curated games to be developed within CMS—are designed to demonstrate the educational power of games for incorporating museum collections, research, and expertise in reaching this young audience—a group whose passion for learning in both the sciences and the humanities is vital to the world's well-being.
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