TERC Forms EdGE to Research and Design Educational Gaming Environments

March 5, 2010

‘Martian Boneyards’ game to be first release



CAMBRIDGE, MA–EdGE @ TERC is bringing together science educators, researchers, and game designers to capture the spirit of social media and use it to support STEM learning. In partnership with Virtual Space Entertainment, a Bay area-based production company, EdGE is creating the cityscape of Arcadia on Blue Mars—the high-definition, massively multiplayer online (MMO) platform developed by Avatar Reality.

“Our vision is to fill Arcadia with science mystery games that engage the public,” said EdGE director Jodi Asbell-Clarke. “We are striving to create virtual spaces where users of all ages can have a fun and challenging experience while learning collaboratively about topics like evolutionary biology and anatomy. With our first game, Martian Boneyards, we have a unique research opportunity that we hope will lead the way to identifying game elements that promote meaningful science learning.”

Due to be released in late spring 2010, Martian Boneyards will engage players in investigations of bones and other artifacts as part of solving open-ended mysteries about the conditions that led to the creation of the boneyards. Players will collect data, develop theories, and use data mapping and visualization tools to discover what may have unfolded during the early settlement of Blue Mars. During the game experience, EdGE researchers will closely examine what players do to succeed and learn, right down to studying their activity within the game and how long they spend on certain tasks to determine their interest and level of collaboration in science activities. The game development and research are funded in part by a grant from the National Science Foundation. (DRL-0917520)

Virtual learning enthusiasts can follow the development of the game at www.edgearcadia.com. The site includes an Arcadia trailer, posts from the game developers, and recent articles on virtual environments.