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IES Contract

Title: Mission US: TimeSnap
Center: NCER Year: 2018
Principal Investigator: Langendoen, David Awardee: Electric Funstuff
Program: Small Business Innovation Research      [Program Details]
Award Period: 2 year (5/1/2018 4/30/2020) Award Amount: $900,000
Type: Phase II Development Award Number: 99190018C0013

Project Website:

Video Demonstration of the Phase I Prototype:

Purpose: This project team will fully develop and test Mission US TimeSnap, a game integrated within a Virtual Reality (VR) headset. This VR environment will provide an immersive exploration and analysis of events in U.S. history. In the most recent National Assessment of Educational Progress, only 17% of grade 8 students performed at or above the proficient level in U.S. history. The discipline of history goes beyond knowing what happened in the past; students must investigate why significant events occurred and form interpretations based on skilled readings of historical sources, and Mission US TimeSnap will provide students the opportunity to develop both investigative and interpretative skills.

Project Activities: During Phase I in 2017, the team developed a prototype of TimeSnap, including a VR environment where students immerse themselves in content related to the history of the Revolutionary War. At the end of Phase I, researchers completed a pilot study with 58 students in grades 9 and 11 and two teachers. They found that the hardware VR and software-based prototype operated as intended, teachers were able to integrate it within the classroom environment, and students were engaged while using the prototype. In Phase II, the team will add content modules and a gameplay narrative to the platform, build the dashboards to present results, strengthen the back-end management system, create the professional development materials, and build out the classroom activities to accompany the VR experience. After development is complete, the research team will conduct a pilot study to assess the feasibility and usability, fidelity of implementation, and the promise of the TimeSnap for improving student learning in history. Ten high school history classrooms will participate in the pilot study, with half randomly assigned to use TimeSnap and half to follow business-as-usual instructional practices. Researchers will compare students' pre-and-post scores on learning historical facts, and their ability to investigate and analyze historical events using research developed measures.

Product: This project team will develop TimeSnap, a game-based virtual reality (VR) game designed to immerse high school students in U.S. history. In the game, students travel back in time to investigate and explore historical locations, encounter people from the past, analyze artifacts, and bring back evidence to support interpretations of what happened. Each VR experience lasts about 15 minutes and is preceded and followed by classroom discussions and activities. The components of the intervention will include: a VR headset with content from the Revolutionary War in colonial Boston, the years leading up to the Civil War, the period of Western expansion, and 1900s New York; a classroom guide with briefs that provide teachers with full instruction and materials for classroom implementation; and teacher and student dashboards to track progress and a website with professional development videos. TimeSnap intends to increase students' knowledge of U.S. history, their interest and enthusiasm for studying history, and their historical thinking skills.

Related IES Projects: Mission US: TimeSnap (EDIES17C0044)