Digital Games and the New Science Classroom

Video games can unleash a learning revolution,” reports the Boston Globe. We agree. That’s why since 1994 we’ve been producing interactive digital activities—like our SPORE award-winning Molecular Workbench—in science and math for grades 4 and up. We’re tapping into the spirit of games to engage learners. And we’re excited to announce that we’ve just been awarded a new grant from the National Science Foundation. GeniGames will add game-based design elements to our Geniverse software. Students can learn about genetics by solving games of dragons and drakes.

Genetics concepts are notoriously difficult to learn and teach. But does student motivation and learning change when you add gaming features to a science curriculum? We’re delighted to collaborate with the New York Hall of Science to include the following game-based elements to Geniverse.

Conflict. Players struggle to achieve goals or outcomes of the game, often in opposition to each other, but sometimes together or in parallel. (Conflict does not mean combat.)

Narrative. A story sets the game context with plot and characters in a fictional world. Ideally, the conflict provides the opportunity for the narrative events.

Play community. Players engage in social aspects of the game play that derive not from the rules of the game, but from activities that link the game to outside contexts.

Play the beta version of the Geniverse game.