President Obama praised the virtues of educational technology during a March 8 visit to TechBoston Academy, one of six schools in the New England area piloting the Concord Consortium’s Geniverse software. Mr. Obama stressed the importance of creating engaging educational technology. “I’m calling for investments in…educational software that’s as compelling as the best video game. I want you guys stuck on a video game that’s teaching you something other than just blowing something up.” The Concord Consortium’s Geniverse software fits this description precisely, immersing students in a narrative game-like world of dragon genetics, in which they conduct virtual breeding experiments to solve problems and track down diseases in the dragon population.
Ninth grade Geniverse pilot teacher Marsha Turin says her students are deeply engaged with learning through the software. “Students are much more willing to do the work because it’s like a game and to write about the science because they blog about it,” Turin says, “This really is authentic learning.” Obama praised this type of curriculum during his remarks at TechBoston. “We’re working to make sure every school has a 21st-century curriculum like you do,” the President remarked. The Geniverse project represents one of the Concord Consortium’s many investments in building next-generation educational technology curricula.
The Concord Consortium’s Geniverse project, funded by the National Science Foundation, is a collaboration with the Jackson Laboratory, the Maine Mathematics and Science Alliance, TERC, and BSCS.