Digital Media and Learning Competition Announces Winners at Games4Change Festival
5.26.10 | The Digital Media and Learning Competition announced awards for new game play experiences this week at the seventh annual Games for Change Festival in New York City. Winning projects developed new levels and adventures for the popular video games LittleBigPlanet and Spore Galactic Adventures using principles of science, technology, engineering and math.
“We have to take full advantage of what entrepreneurs and innovators are doing if we are to meet the administration’s new initiatives,” Aneesh Chopra, the first-ever federal chief technology officer told the crowd Tuesday at Games4Change.
Those initiatives include Educate to Innovate, which inspires educators and those who work with children to foster 21st-century skills. The initiative is based on a simple premise: to be globally competitive, we need an all-hands-on-deck approach so kids can build a new economy that leads to long-term sustainable economic growth.
In that spirit, Chopra said, HASTAC sponsored the Game Changers competition to unleash the best ideas for advancing science, technology, engineering and math through digital media and games. HASTAC awarded $250,000 to nine teams that developed innovative levels and new adventures for LittleBigPlanet and Spore Galactic Adventures.
“The efforts of Games4Change and the HASTAC winners are opening up opportunities for my kids to learn, live in safer and healthier communities and in a more robust world,” Chopra told the audience.
Check back at Spotlight over the next few weeks for more in-depth coverage of these winning projects:
Scott Comstock, Woodland Hills, CA
In Aeon Quest, LittleBigPlanet players are enlisted by a mechanical being from outer space to help save the planet Earth. Players must prove their worthiness for the mission by traversing different planets while completing a series of missions and puzzles that test an array of STEM skills—from simple math problems to complex logic puzzles.
Creatures Classified! An exploration of cataloging creatures across the galaxy
Mathew Powers, Indiana University, Indianapolis, IN
In this Spore adventure, fifth and sixth graders, acting as “intergalactic speciologists,” learn how to collect and organize scientific data and employ the scientific method to classify living things. Armed with a science field journal, players must navigate progressively more complex and challenging planets, collecting data, and classifying the myriad species they encounter based on the evolutionary and physical characteristics of the creatures.
A Day in the Life of a Computer
Gemma McLean, Gemixin Limited, Coventry, West Midlands, United Kingdom
A Day in the Life of a Computer introduces middle school and high school students to key concepts of computer science using LittleBigPlanet. Players must navigate the inner workings of a computer, solving puzzles that convey computing principles of increasing difficulty—from simple binary code to more complex programming concepts.
Digitally Integrating the Academics of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math
Patrick Keller, Albuquerque, NM
Leveraging Sporeʼs powerful ability to personalize gameplay, DIASTEM targets STEM-related content that applies directly to digital game development. Within the Spore interface, players will complete challenges—from simple math and logic puzzles to more complex physics and engineering construction projects—that are specifically developed and created to elicit player understanding of game design theory and application.
: A Whole New Spin on Science and Engineering
Joshua Hughes, Add-A-Tudez Entertainment Company // Team KAIZEN, Great Falls, MT
In Discover Pier, LittleBigPlanet players are immersed in the high-octane world of an amusement park. While interacting with a variety of thrill rides, in-game lessons teach players the critical principles of physics and engineering that are at work in each ride, as well as offering simple computer programming lessons on how the ride was created. Players can then use what they have learned to design and build their own fully rendered and animated amusement park rides.
Mark Matthews, Chapel Hill, NC
LittleBigChemistryLab immerses players in worlds based around real-world chemistry experiments and classroom demonstrations, including the classic “baking soda and vinegar volcano,” combustion reactions, and the “glowing pickle” demo. In these LittleBigPlanet levels, players interact with their environment and participate in the experiments, exploring chemistry and chemical concepts through engaging gameplay.
Jennifer Biedler, Blacksburg High School, Blacksburg, VA
In Mission: Evolution, high school students thoroughly analyze the evolutionary science driving the Spore game engine and investigate the scientific accuracy of the game. Working together to identify principles of evolutionary change that are absent from the off-the-shelf version of Spore, students collaborate to introduce these principles into their own missions in Spore Galactic Adventures.
Sackboys and The Mysterious Proof
Kan Yang Li, New York City, NY
In Sackboys and The Mysterious Proof, LittleBigPlanet players must escape from the Proof family’s century-old mansion by solving a series of puzzles using geometric reasoning. With puzzle mechanics driven by geometric theorems, students will convert geometric concepts from the classroom into active knowledge through collaborative play inspired by precision learning.
Stem Cell Sackboy
David Dino, Azusa, CA
Stem Cell Sackboy takes LittleBigPlanet gameplay to the cellular level. Using “SackCell Technology,” players shrink to microscopic sizes to take part in the growing field of stem cell research and therapy. Players learn about the processes of cell growth and reproduction while exploring the importance of stem cell research and the ethical issues that surround it.
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