CyGaMEs, Second Life Continue Virtual Research

Videogames are serious business at the Center for Educational Technologies. We recognize their ability to ultimately transform how students learn and teachers teach. In 2006 we started our research for NASA into how students could best learn NASA science through videogames. We created the award-winning proof-of-concept game, Selene: A Lunar Construction GaME, which allowed us to test our theory that students learn best through metaphors. Our initial findings released in 2008 back up that assumption. The next step is the CyGaMEs project, which received a four-year grant in 2008 from the National Science Foundation to continue our gaming research. Led by Dr. Debbie Denise Reese, a leader in the study of metaphors and videogames, CyGaMEs will allow a new game developer to design and develop new game components.

After helping NASA dip its toe in the videogaming waters, the space agency has contracted with us to help it determine how to best take advantage of a different kind of virtual world. This time we’re examining the Second Life online virtual world. The project was just starting in late 2008, but we soon hope to learn more about the best way to use the myriad opportunities Second Life presents to make education better for today’s students.
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