In an attempt to make cell biology a bit more intuitive for modern teenagers, the Federation of American Scientists has developed a freely downloadable video game that simulates some of the processes going on in the body. The FAS has even initiated a study to see whether kids become more receptive of the relevant concepts.
The mission in Immune Attack is to save a patient suffering from a bacterial infection. In the game environment, proteins, molecules and cells behave as they do in nature… Melanie Ann Stegman, PhD, a program manager at FAS will discuss the results from the ongoing evaluation of Immune Attack.
Stegman will discuss her collaboration with teachers to conduct controlled evaluations. The evaluation tests students’ knowledge of biology and immunology, their comprehension of game dynamics, and their confidence in the material. For example, results find that students who play the game show significant gains in confidence with the molecular science-related material and gains in their knowledge of cell biology and molecular science.
“Our most exciting results demonstrate that Immune Attack players appear more confident in their abilities to understand a diagram about white blood cells than students who did not play Immune Attack,” said Stegman.
Hmmm… We’re not sure why they’re reporting results in terms of “player confidence” rather than “student learning” — unless for some reason they didn’t examine the student knowledge or performance, or they did and players didn’t do better than traditional learners.
Still, confidence is a valuable commodity, shown to improve health and fight off infection. Maybe Dr. Stegman is subtly giving clues on how to win the game.
Free game download : Immune Attack…
Press release: Immune Attack Sheds Light on the Molecular World…