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How Universities are Advancing Game-based Learning Research (Part 2)

Universities are leading the way in researching and advancing new approaches to education, like game-based learning! As industry-leading educational game developers, we are honored to be a part of all sorts of game-based learning projects going on at universities across the US. 

Together with universities, we are finding creative ways to incorporate game-based learning into their research and outreach efforts! Here’s a look at some of our current and ongoing projects with universities, from exploring the benefits of using zombies to teach quantum concepts to using mobile gaming to teach proper animal handling techniques. 

Before we give you all of the details, check us out on Facebook and Twitter for all of the latest and greatest game-based learning news. This post is full of all sorts of exciting upcoming games, so be sure to bookmark it so you can return to it later!

University of Chicago – Quander

A group led by the University of Chicago has teamed up with us to develop a game called Quander, aimed at introducing elementary and middle school-aged learners to the fundamentals of quantum computing. The game takes place in the fictional Quander Realm, an overworld containing five mini-games and a reward area, which players must navigate to collect the parts of a quantum computer that have been scattered throughout.

Each mini-game focuses on a different aspect of quantum computing, including quantum entanglement, the superposition principle, and quantum logic gates. The mini-games, titled “Buried Treasure,” “Queue Bits,” “Qupcakery,” “Twintanglement,” and “Tangles Lair,” each have a series of collectibles that the player can earn by completing levels that go more in-depth on each of the quantum topics.

“Buried Treasure” is a new mini-game created by Filament, whereas the rest of the game incorporates student-created mini-games. The ultimate goal of Quander is to help children understand the basics of quantum computing in a fun and accessible way, and to encourage them to pursue further studies in science, computing, and technology! If you would like to play their experimental game, check it out here!

University of Wisconsin Madison – Mooving Cows

We’re also excited about this project that’s very close to home! Every day in our home state of Wisconsin, millions of interactions occur between humans and cows on dairy farms. Handling cows is essential for milk production and animal care, but it also carries a risk of injury for personnel. Moreover, improper cow handling can lead to reduced milk production and animal welfare, as well as erode public trust in the dairy farming industry. Adequate training in proper cow handling is crucial, but current resources have significant limitations and lack evidence of effectiveness. That’s where educational games come in.

Created in collaboration with researchers at UW-Madison, Mooving Cows is a 3D isometric mobile game that allows players to assume the role of a cow mover. The game features different scenarios within a dairy farm, providing players with a range of challenges to navigate. By playing this game, players can learn how to handle cows to maximize milk yield and minimize stress for the cows. Additionally, the game focuses on regulating player frustration levels, thereby improving players’ decision-making skills and overall approach to animal handling. Trainees have the opportunity to practice proper techniques in a simulated setting that is safe for both people and cows!

Jennifer Van Os, an Extension Specialist and Assistant Professor at the Department of Animal and Dairy Sciences at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, is leading this project and is one of our principal collaborators on the game. Dr. Van Os’ lab at UW-Madison is dedicated to researching and improving the welfare of dairy animals, utilizing both biological and social science perspectives. Her extension program strives to promote best practices in management and housing within the dairy industry as scientific knowledge about animal welfare advances, ensuring the industry can adapt and evolve to provide the best possible animal care. 

Interested in learning more about Mooving Cows and Dr. Van Os? Don’t miss this episode of the Filament Games Podcast!

University of Minnesota and University of Oregon – CASA

Lastly, we’re currently collaborating with the University of Minnesota and the University of Oregon to create CASA (Computer Adaptive Storybook Assessment), a game that will monitor the progress of 3-5-year-old children with disabilities or otherwise demonstrate limited language and early literacy skills

The game is delivered via tablet application and features engaging content, art, music, and sound effects to keep young children with short attention spans interested. The main task of the game involves assisting characters with grocery shopping for a party and then attending a community festival. 

CASA provides stories in both English and Spanish, with Mexican and Puerto Rican dialects available. This project prioritizes equity in the design process to benefit children who have been marginalized, and will also offer a robust teacher dashboard to make it easy for educators to assess student responses, review student progress, and determine any educational interventions necessary for individual students. 

Filament will also support the researchers as they put their question pool through a rigorous calibration process via the game and other research supports. Overall, CASA is thoughtfully designed with careful consideration for young children, their teachers, and the researchers.

These university-led initiatives highlight the potential of engaging learners through game-based learning, allowing them a deeper understanding of complex topics. Games offer a unique way to learn – they allow learners to explore, experiment, and fail in a safe environment. Games can also provide researchers with valuable data on the effectiveness of different teaching methods and the impact of game-based learning on students.

As game-based learning continues to evolve, universities will undoubtedly play a critical role in advancing this field! By exploring new approaches, engaging learners in unique ways, and gathering data on the effectiveness of game-based learning, universities are helping to shape the future of education and create innovative solutions to some of the most pressing challenges facing learners today.

Interested in creating an educational game to further your research goals? We’re the educational game developer for you! Our studio is dedicated to learning games, and with 18 years of expertise, we’re here to help you leverage the power of game-based learning. Contact us for more information and a free consultation. 

More on games we’ve created with university researchers:

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