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Filament Games Podcast | Season 4 Episode 2: Mooving Cows with Jennifer Van Os

Welcome back to the Filament Games Podcast! If you read our post on educational video games, farming, and agriculture, you know we are working with our friends at the University of Wisconsin – Madison to create an educational cow-handling game. 

If you didn’t know, now you do! The project is aptly called Mooving Cows, and it is a game-based learning experience that teaches players how to interact properly with cattle in a risk-free virtual environment. 

One of our key collaborators is Jennifer Van Os, the project’s director as well as Assistant Professor and Extension Specialist of Animal Welfare at UW Madison. In this episode of the Filament Games podcast, Brandon and Dan ask Jennifer about how the project came to be, her career in animal welfare, and why game-based learning is a particularly useful tool for teaching cow-handling best practices. 

Oh, and Jennifer may also mention that cows can play video games too.

Tune into the episode below, or listen on Soundcloud, Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or Stitcher! We behoove you to take a listen, it’s quite a moo-ving installment of the show!

Episode outline:

[0:00-3:16] Intro

[3:17-8:40] Jennifer’s background in animal and dairy sciences

[8:41- 15:50] Why use a game to educate people on cattle handling?

[15:51-20:45] UW’s Research Forward Grant Program and conceptualizing the game

[20:46-24:39] Potential expansions for the game on the horizon

[24:40-27:38] Mooving Cows’ current state of development

[27:39-30:40] How to realistically simulate cow behaviors in a game

[30:40-33:20] Logistics of the game’s testing phase 

[33:21-39:08] The longterm vision for Mooving Cows

[39:09-42:21] Game-based learning and transferable skills

[42:22-43:24] Jennifer’s colleagues and collaborators

[43:25-54:00] Game Design Rarities segment on Cow Clicker, cows playing video games, and outro 

We owe a massive thanks to Jennifer Van Os for grazing – ahem – gracing us with her insight on dairy sciences, animal behavior, and the present and future of Mooving Cows. We appreciate you listening to the Filament Games Podcast. Have thoughts on this episode? Tag Filament Games on Twitter or Facebook to join the conversation!

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