$3M gaming project could help spark STEM education

Some researchers have indicated that STEM education games might be one way to help students explore STEM topics and careers in a way that educates while also engaging students, helping them find real-world value in the subjects and developing 21st-century skills.

A U.K. study that compared the brains of teenage video gamers found that those who played video games frequently have more gray matter in the area of the brain known to be associated with rewards and decision-making, which raises the question of whether gaming is related to changes in the brain.

See an example! Maryland Public Television (MPT) and MIT Education Arcade teamed up with FableVision to create Lure of the Labyrinth, an innovative gaming-meets-storytelling approach to improve math and literacy among middle-school students.

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The most recent Horizon Report, which focuses on emerging K-12 technologies, noted that game-based learning still presents challenges, but they are mainly related to what it takes to produce good, high-quality games.

According to the report, game-based learning and task-based learning are natural partners that help students relate real-world problems and issues to what they are learning.

A small number of Boston-area teachers and students will take part in a pilot phase of the MIT project this spring, using a prototype of the game. By the end of the three-year project, the game is expected to have 10,000 users nationwide.

For more news about STEM education, see:

Inquiry-based approach to science a hit with students

Climate change skepticism seeps into classrooms

Meet six of the country’s best STEM schools

Laura Ascione

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