Post STEM Challenge Win
On October 26th, New York Times bestselling author of Reality is Broken: How Games will Change the World, Jane McGonigal, spoke at Marquette University, and a contingency of avid MMS 6-8th grade game designers were there to hear it. McGonigal proclaims, “Games make us better and they can change the world,” and her work is proof that it is possible to use games as a means by which to teach others.
For example, EVOKE challenged players to solve 10 of the worlds biggest problems (hunger, water security, poverty…) over ten weeks. According to McGonigal, this game taught players collaboration skills and how to be optimistic. In 2007, World Without Oil played out the reality of how the world would experience and react to an oil shortage. Many players developed coping strategies that they still practice. This kind of behavior, widespread, can change the world. In the Foldit game, “gamers unraveled the structure of a protein central to AIDS research in just 10 days--a feat made all the more remarkable by the fact that scientists had worked on the problem for a decade.”
MMS’s STEM Challenge winning student, Shireen Z., designed the game “Discover,” which teaches a player the concept of physics via an engaging storyline that lets the player have fun and explore. Taylor B.B.’s (MMS ’11) game, “Blood Sugar,” gives players a fun way to learn about the obstacles that diabetics encounter and how to overcome them. Taylor's game has piqued the interest of various organizations, as a tool to help them further their own diabetes education missions.
Right now, 81 students are actively designing and creating new learning games. For example, Samantha R. is working on a game about breast cancer, Kyra S. is developing a game to teach about deforestation, the life-cycle of a star is the focus of Rowan W.’s game, and there are many more games in the works. All of these games are being designed to teach players about a science, technology, engineering or math topic, for entry into this year’s STEM challenge. And, the educational outcome of helping others learn and solve problems through gaming is perfectly aligned with our mission and our aim to have our students provide service to their community.
Jane McGonigal could not agree more, in fact, in a recent lecture at the Detroit, MI ISACS conference she said, “I think all children over the age of 12 should be doing something to benefit others and should be actively using their minds to impact the lives of as many people possible.”
Click here to read our next article about Gaming for a Purpose at MMS and The Next Frontier for the Technology Curriculum at MMS.