Presented By CyGames


Selene Featured RecruiterNASA Features CyGaMEs Selene Videogame Is Finalist for Disney Award
Watch TV report on YouTube.

Game-based, Metaphor Enhanced design is a way of applying cognitive science metaphor theory toward the design of computer-mediated learning environments. It's not as complicated as it might sound.

Think of it like this. When a toddler burns a finger, the child's senses of sight and touch connect the flame with the pain. Scientists call this embodied understanding, and it's the basis for human learning and metaphor making.

At the Center for Educational Technologies® we believe that people learn science easier when their own embodied experiences help them better understand the physical world around them. In other words, when people can relate a science concept to something they've experienced or already understand, they are more likely to grasp the new or challenging concept.

We're applying that approach to the design of serious educational videogames. Backed by a grant from the National Science Foundation, our CyGaMEs project—Cyberlearning through Game-based, Metaphor Enhanced Learning Objects—works to make hard science concepts more intuitive to learners.

The CyGaMEs approach employs cognitive science, informatics science, and analysis methods to help game designers have more control over what games do—that is, to help players learn by doing, discovering, and inquiring. CyGaMEs creates environments in which each player's idiosyncratic route through a game still moves toward the game's learning goal. All the while, CyGaMEs helps learners grasp challenging science concepts by spurring them to build metaphors.

CyGaMEs also is developing and refining new ways to assess and report learning that can be applied to other cyberlearning activities.

We're using a videogame we've already created to help in our research. Selene: A Lunar Construction GaME, is a prototype online videogame in which players learn how Earth's moon was formed as they create their own moon and then pepper it with impact craters and flood it with lava flows. We're looking for players between the ages of 9-18 (previously 13-18), along with adult recruiters to confirm players' ages, get parental consent, and gather other players. To sign up as a recruiter or play Selene, visit the Selene website.

Contact us to learn more about the CyGaMEs project and theory and to take part in the research or to study the data.