Game will take learning to new depths
A game that combines the scientific exploration of the JASON Project with the realistic gameplay and graphics of Filament Games will take middle-school science students on missions to explore and maintain healthy ecosystems in distinct bodies of water.
With Kauffman Foundation funding, the JASON Foundation for Education, a nonprofit subsidiary of the National Geographic Society, is developing the game. A pilot project of Kauffman's Future of Learning initiative, Operation: Resilient Planet will debut in classrooms in Greater Kansas City where it will be tested for potential replication in other communities.
In the game, which is available as a free Mac and PC download at the site, students will enter an authentic, underwater environment to collect data and make observations. As they investigate and evaluate the ecological roles of plants and animals, ecosystem management techniques, public policies, and commercial uses of the oceans, they will experience how ocean ecologists answer questions about the natural world.
Supplementing JASON’s aquatic ecology curriculum with a video game is backed by extensive research in the fields of cognition, learning, and interactive design, which is summarized by the Federation of American Scientists, contemporary learning scholars, and leading game designers. The game design will:
- Connect with learners through a medium they are comfortable with and excited by;
- Ground learners’ understanding of scientific concepts in contextually rich hands on experiences ;
- Instill in learners the confidence they need to produce (as opposed to just consume) scientific knowledge; and
- Engross learners in a physically accurate, yet simulated world that would be otherwise inaccessible to them in the real world (i.e., the ocean depths).