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IES Contract

Title: Election Lab Online
Center: NCER Year: 2023
Principal Investigator: Criley, Jasminka Awardee: Indelible Learning, Inc.
Program: Small Business Innovation Research      [Program Details]
Award Period: 2 years (07/17/2023 – 07/17 /2025) Award Amount: $1,000,000
Type: Phase II Development Award Number: 91990023C0034

Purpose: This project team is developing an online game for students to learn about the electoral college by using data from actual elections to create an authentic civic data literacy experience.

Project Activities: Through a prior project, the team developed a physical board game for students to learn about the electoral college, called Election Lab, which uses data from actual elections to create an authentic civic data literacy experience. During Phase I in 2022 the team developed a prototype of an online game to be played with a live opponent (a fellow student) so that students can apply critical thinking skills in evaluating political or historical claims. At the end of Phase I project, a pilot study with four educators and 53 high school students demonstrated that the prototype functions as planned, educators believed that the game can be integrated within classroom practice, and students increased in knowledge of the electoral college on researcher-developed measures from pre- to post-test. In addition, the majority of students who played the game indicated they were likely or very likely to vote in the next presidential election.

In Phase II of the project, the team will fully develop the product, including finalizing the back-end data base and the data visualization dashboard, improving the game functionality, and creating instructional modules to connect gameplay to different units within a standard civics curriculum. Iterative refinements will be conducted with feedback from educators and students at major production milestones until the product is fully functional. After development concludes, a pilot study will test the feasibility and usability, fidelity of implementation, and the promise of the product for improving knowledge of the electoral college. Researchers will collect data from 36 high school civics classes with approximately 1000 students, with half of classes randomly assigned to use the product and the other half to use business-as-usual activities for the same course content. Researchers will compare pre-and-post scores for civic items from NAEP Grade 12 Civics, CCSS Math, and AP U.S. Government. Researchers will gather cost information using the "ingredients method" and will include all expenditures on things such as personnel, facilities, equipment, materials, and training.

Product: Election Lab Online (ELO) will be a fully digital online learning strategy game about the electoral college, based on an extensively play-tested physical board game. The game will engage grade 12 students in U.S. government and civics courses to examine how campaigns view the electoral map and use the electoral college and how they use (and misuse) data to form strategies to win elections. The game will run on school devices and student smartphones, in-class or remotely. Outcomes from playing these scenarios will be shared in class, discussed, and compared to historical outcomes for these election years. This cross-disciplinary approach will encourage students to structure arguments based on evidence and will use statistical literacy, data visualization, and ethical data use to inform historical understanding.

Related IES Projects: Election Lab Online (91990022C0034)

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