Our thanks to Stephanie Pappas of LiveScience for covering the story behind VANISHED, an augmented reality game for science students, developed by our research group The Education Arcade:
President Barack Obama may have urged Americans to celebrate science fair winners as if they were Super Bowl champions during his 2011 State of the Union address, but American students still struggle with science. Now, researchers hope to ignite kids’ interest in science by drawing them into an activity long loved by children: computer games.
On April 4, scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the Smithsonian Institution plan to launch a first-of-its-kind “curated game”—funded by the National Science Foundation—that’s designed to give middle-school students a peak into the process of science. The game, called “Vanished,” is an environmental mystery game with a science-fiction twist, said Scot Osterweil, a game developer and creative director of MIT’s Education Arcade. It’s also an “augmented reality” game, meaning kids will do real-world experiments and activities that mesh with the fiction of the game.
“It is both a development and a research project,” Osterweil told LiveScience. “What we want to see is whether, through this type of activity, kids evince real scientific reasoning.”