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IES Contract

Title: Go Games Civics: Meeting Common Core Standards with Tablet-Enhanced Multiplayer Role Play Games
Center: NCER Year: 2013
Principal Investigator: White, Dan Awardee: Filament Games
Program: Small Business Innovation Research      [Program Details]
Award Period: 2 Years Award Amount: $900,000
Type: Phase II Development Award Number: EDIES13C0042

Video Demonstration of the Phase I Prototype:

Purpose: In today' classroom, teachers struggle to address Common Core Standards in civics and in areas such as critical listening, thinking, and collaboration skills. Conventionally, teachers have used role play games—such as mock trials, debates, and model legislatures—to address these topics. The problem is that, while sometimes effective, these activities are difficult for teachers to prepare, administer, and grade. As such, many teachers simply cannot or will not use these powerful learning tools. To address this problem, this project will develop a suite of tablet-based games for role playing activities to enable interactive and face-to-face student interaction while reducing administrative burdens, classroom management challenges, and assessment limitations of traditional role play methods.

Project Activities: In 2012 during Phase I a prototype of one game was developed, in which students assumed the role of a legislator with a goal to pass amendments to a targeted bill. Research of this game included 8 students and one teacher and found that the prototype functioned as intended, and that students were engaged by the game. In Phase II, development work will focus on authoring content and designing role-play characters for three games, designing and developing the teacher portal, and creating formative assessments for each game. For each of the games, the researchers will use an iterative process where external experts, adults, teachers, and students will test and provide feedback to inform refinements. Once finalized, to test the usability and feasibility, the fidelity of implementation, and the promise of the games to increase student outcomes, a pilot study will include teachers and students from 30 classrooms. Half of these classrooms will use GoGames for two of three topics, then do a post-test, and then use the traditional method of a different game for the third game. A second group of classes will do the opposite. Analyses will compare pre and post scores on related civics items, and on critical listening, thinking, and collaboration skills.

Product: GoGames is a tablet-based multiplayer role-playing game for middle school social studies classrooms and will focus on topics in civics. GoGames will enable more efficient and effective implementation of traditional civics interventions by replacing static paper content and training manuals with dynamic interactive content and key information for gameplay. Modules will include LawMaker, DiscussionMaker, and TrialMaker. Each will be modeled after and will provide a new delivery mechanism for widely used civics interventions such as mock trial, model congress, and the structured academic controversy model, where small teams of students learn about a controversial issue from multiple perspectives. GoGames will use an "augmented reality" genre, where the digital game will complement and enhance real world activities by guiding students' actions and providing players with new social identities, and by facilitating interactions, teamwork, collaboration, and discussion. A teacher app will support implementation and to provide formative assessment results to guide practice. The intended outcomes of the games include students' civic speaking, listening, and reasoning skills.