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Immune Defense Evaluation is NOW!

Immune Defense is a cool video game.  The title is blue, the white blood cells are blue, too. And they are eating green e coli bacteria.

Join the oldest battle on Earth.

If you are a teacher of kids ~12-18 years old, you are invited to participate in our evaluation!  We warmly, eagerly and happily invite you!  We have an Amazon gift certificate to pay you back for your time.

We will happily discuss the experiment and results with you and your students after the evaluation.  Please sign up!   (www.surveymonkey.com/s/LearningGame)

Federal Funding for Science Education at NASA, NIH, NOAA and many other places you love!

The Federal Government is making moves to change how science education is funded at the federal level.

Read this article AAAS article- June 13, 2013

Read this article and email your Congress People! Do you want NASA to have an outreach program? Do you think the Department of Education wil do as good a job teaching kids about space, biomedical science or the oceans as well as NASA, NIH and NOAA do now?

Think and then act, quickly!

Call and write your Congressional representatives today!!! Especially if they are on the committee that is deciding this:
Representative

House Science & Technology Committee
Lamar Smith, TX
Dora Rohrabacher CA
Ralph Hall CA
F. James Sensenbrenner WI
Frank Lucas OK
Randy Neugebauer TX
Michael McCaul TX
Paul Broun GA
Steven Palazzo MI
Mo Brooks AL
Randy Hultgren IL
Larry Buchson IN
Steve Stockman TX
Bill Posey FL
Cynthia Lummis WY
David Schweikert AZ
Thomas Massie KY
Kevin Cramer ND
Jim Bridenstine OK
Randy Weber TX
Chris Stewart UT
Eddie Bernice Johnson TX
Zoe Lofgren CA
Dan Lipinski IL
Donna Edwards MD
Frederica Wilson FL
Suzanne Bonamici OR
Eric Swalwell CA
Dan Maffei NY
Alan Grayson FL
Joe Kennedy MA
Scott Peters CA
Derek Kilmer WA
Ami Bera CA
Elizabeth Esty CN
Marc Veasey TX
Julia Brownley CA
Mark Takano CA
Robin Kelly IL

House Appropriations Health and Human Services subcommittee
Jack Kingston GA
Rodney Alexander LA
Mike Simpson ID
Steve Womak AR
Chuck Flesichmann TN
Dave Joyce OH
Andy Harris MD
Rosa DeLauro CT
Lucille Roybal-Allard CA
Barbara Jean Lee CA
Mike Honda CA

Immune Defense–the game that has it all–needs you!

Almost readyTEACHERS!   Ever wished someone had asked for your opinion, or your kids’ opinions, while they were developing an education tool?  Well, here we are asking!  We need teachers of students aged 14-16.  Any subject!  Read about our game and see below to get involved in our evaluation.

Immune Defense has everything you could want in a video game.  It’s catchy, fun to play and full of drama:

There are Good Guys   Neutrophil and Macrophage, two Phagocytes!

and Bad GuysEcoliSingle BAD GUY

Natural Killer Cells NaturalKillerA

and cells you need to train…. to make antibodies: AntibodiesA.

 

Pathogens are tracked, caught and destroyed.  Death and Destruction

 

We know that kids remember what they use (from our research on Immune Attack).  So we gave Immune Defense players lots of things to use and lots of reasons to use them….  Good game design runs parallel to this:  More interesting decisions for the player keeps the player engaged.  One type of decion is which surface proteins you wish to express on each cell.

 

There are tough puzzles to solve.  Player use the tools they have to stop many kinds of pathogens, including E. coli, Strep, Staph, Listeria, TB and AIDS.  The tools players have are the cells of the innate and adaptive immune system.   

fun decisions

 

Immune Defense is like a moving, living textbook…. it should make teachers happy, too.   We have schematics and multiple models of various molecules:

This is the Green LPS Receptor binding the E. coli pathogen.... signaling the phagocyte that this is something to eat and kill.

This is the Green LPS Receptor binding the E. coli pathogen…. signaling the phagocyte that this is something to eat and kill.

This is what the Green LPS Receptor looks like... if you show the boundaries of its cloud of electrons around each of its atoms.

This is what the Green LPS Receptor looks like… if you show the boundaries of its cloud of electrons around each of its atoms.

We have more information in our DATA-base for curious students:

Strategic game tips as well as links to more information are in the DATA-base.

Strategic game tips as well as links to more information are in the DATA-base.

What do we need from you?  Class time and feedback both now and next Fall.  We need answers to these education research questions:

…….Do your 14-16 year old students enjoy playing Immune Defense?
…….Do your 14-16 year old students learn useful things by playing Immune Defense?
…….Can a game provide an introduction to molecular cell biology

To answer these questions we need large numbers of 14-16 year old students to play Immune Defense in their classroom. The next day they will hear short video lectures and the next day they will take our survey of what the think about the game and what they learned from it and the lecture. Other students will see the lecture first and play the game second. It may be that the lecture make the game easier to play, we don’t know yet.

NOW, this Spring, we are conducting two and three day tests. We are asking your students to play the game OR hear the video lecture and the next day take our survey.  This three day testing protocol will start in the Fall 2013.  We hope that you will participate this Spring with 1, 2 or 3 days, give us your feedback and then in the Fall conduct the full three day protocol in your classroom.

Teachers will work with the Maine International Center for Digital Learning.  www.MICDL.org.  Please register there.  Additionally, your students ate taking part in an experiment.  I, Melanie Stegman, will be very happy to Skype/Google hangout with your classes and talk about the design of our experiment and what we have demonstrated but only after your students have participated, we don’t want to affect their experience of the learning process.

Who should participate?  Well, science teachers, any kind!  Biology, chemistry, physics, anatomy, technology teachers, engineering teachers, art teachers, English teachers, Communication teachers, social studies teachers.  Thought provoking questions can come from any field:  Social studies teachers can say, If you want to sway people’s opinion about an issue, is a game a good way to do so?  What kinds of information do people need to make a decision?  Compare and contrast iCivics and Immune Defense.  Art teachers can ask their students, “Do you think the graphics in the Immune Attack game make the game easy to understand?  Do you have graphic art ideas that might make the game easier to understand?”  And if they do, please send them to us!

If  you do not teach >25 students, if you do not teach in the US, if you cannot follow the 3 day protocol in the Fall you may still evaluate the game and your students can give us some feedback: just not as much as our official evaluation.  So contact MICDL.org to register, and tell them in your first email that you just want to evaluate the game informally.  Thank you!

Here is a Maine Teaching Standard Alignments (we have not yet aligned Immune Defense to the new Common Core standards.  Anyone want to lend a hand?)

DC STEM FAIR!

I will be demonstrating Immune Attack and Immune Defense at the DC STEM Fair.  I will also teach some more professional Development classes on using games in your science classroom, so keep your eye out for that.

Right now, however, the STEM Fair needs some judges!  Are you a scientist?  Like kids?  Well, come help out and join the fun!  Register here!  Below is a description of what you will do as a judge at the DC STEM Fair:

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Are you interested in encouraging young students’ appreciation for science? Do you work as a scientist, mathematician, engineer, or do you have a STEM-related degree? Are you looking for an opportunity to mentor young students in STEM?

If so, please volunteer as a judge at the DC STEM Fair!

 

The 2013 DC STEM Fair will be held on Saturday, March 23, 2013, at Wilson Senior High School. The DC STEM Fair is the annual citywide science fair for DC’s public, public charter, parochial, private, and home-schooled students in grades 6-12! The DC STEM Fair provides student participants with an opportunity to showcase their research skills and share their findings with local professionals and otherstudents in the city. Participants also have the opportunity to compete for a variety of awards and prizes offered by various government agencies, businesses, and professional associations.

As an affiliate of the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (Intel ISEF), the first and second place overall winners at the high school level will represent the District of Columbia at Intel ISEF 2013, May 12-17, in Phoenix, AZ, with all expenses paid.

The judging period is between 9 am to 12 pm on Saturday, March 23, at Wilson Senior High School. Wilson is located at 3950 Chesapeake St NW, Washington, DC 20016, next to the Tenleytown Metro on the Red Line. We ask you to arrive at 7:45 am for orientation with a continental breakfast provided. You will be provided with clear rubrics forscoring projects that follow the Intel ISEF Guidelines.  (Rubrics can be found here: http://www.dcps.dc.gov/DCPS/Beyond+the+Classroom/DC+STEM+Fair/Resources.)

You will judge display boards and interview students in grades 6 through 12 in various categories in science,technology, engineering, and mathematics. When you register, you will have the option to give your category preferences, as well as the division (grades 6-8 or 9-12) you prefer to judge.

The deadline to register is Friday, March 1, 2013. Register to be a judge here http://dcps.dc.gov/DCPS/Beyond+the+Classroom/DC+STEM+Fair/Volunteer+to+Be+a+Judge.

Please distribute this information to scientists who may be interested.  It will be a wonderful experience both for you and your colleagues, and for our DC students, to meet each other and discuss your mutual interests in STEM as you encourage DC students in STEM!

Please also mark your calendars for the Elementary DC STEM Fair, which is scheduled for Saturday, May 18, at a location to be determined. More information about both fairs can be found at the DC STEM Fair website (http://www.dcps.dc.gov/DCPS/Beyond+the+Classroom/DC+STEM+Fair).

Science fair participation is often the first experience that inspires students to take steps to becoming professional scientists. Come see what interests the scientists of tomorrow! Please contact Sydney Bergman at sydney.bergman at dc.gov with any questions.

STEM Video Game Challenge and Teaching Youngsters to Program

Hi.  Do you have a kid at home who is 8?  Or are you a kid who is 8?  Perhaps you are a kid who is 14, or 34.   What would you like to do when you grow up?  Would you like to help the environment, work for major league baseball, or discover something about the human body that helps everyone live longer and happier?  Well, what could you learn to do that would help you with any of those goals?

Programming.

Programming computers is necessary for everything, from the giant scoreboard at the ballpark to discovering which mutated gene a group of cancer patients have in common.  Computer programmers help make weather stations function more effectively, help us analyze data more completely, and they can also program video games!

So, why doesn’t everyone program?  For the same reasons that not everyone plays the guitar:  Not everyone has a computer, or a guide to programming (book or person) and not everyone will look at moving pixels on a computer screen and think, “I want to learn how to move those pixels!”  Personally, I took an informatics class in my German high school, in 1988.  I took the class because all my friends were taking it: yes, I hung out with, and really enjoyed the company of a crowd of geeky boys.  But the class was boring, I didn’t like the projects we did and so I did not try to understand how to program.  We were making a receipt.  So that a store clerk could use a computer to type in the prices, and the receipt software would calculate a total, tax and put it all into a printable format.  OMG is was so boring!

When you are 17 (and when you are any age) it is very easy to get discouraged and think, “I don’t need to understand this, I will never use it.”  Learning anything always takes some effort.  Making an effort is always risky, because you may not triumph!  You may find out that you can’t figure out whatever it is, and 90% of the time you will be sitting next to someone who looks at you funny because you aren’t figuring it out!

The magic happens when your interest and curiosity wins out over your fear of failure.  So we all need interesting songs to play on our guitar, and we all need cool things to program!  Cool is defined by the user, so there is really no telling what will inspire each person to program or learn guitar…  we can just listen to as many songs as possible and check out as many computer programs as possible!

So what can you do to get your 8 year old to learn how to program?  What can you do as a 14 year old who would like to become a valuable crew member on a marine life observation station in the Pacific Ocean?  How can you learn to program?  You do the same as if you wanted to learn guitar.  Find a guitar you like, find a book or a mentor you like (or both) and practice.  Some mentors will be smart but not polite, some mentors will be nice but not smart, and your best mentors will be the mean kids who brag about how great they are and act like you don’t know anything.  Listen to what everyone tells you and then make your own decisions.  Let everyone talk, don’t waste time arguing with them about whether you are smart.

And then practice.  Make things.  Join a Game Jam, join a computer programming class or club, talk to your local biology lab and see what kinds of programs they need.Ask your teacher if she needs a spreadsheet that can calculate grades.  Make Things!

The STEM Video Game Challenge was started by a bunch of nice folks who wanted to give you all something to make. Next year in February there will be another chance to compete for prizes with kids all over the country (USA).  There are also likely competitions you can enter in your own country, or local city or state.  Enter all kinds of competitions!  Even if your thing is awful.  Enter!

The http://www.stemchallenge.org/

And then come back and tell me how you did it!  Did you use GameMakerSmall BasicScratch?  These are all good ways to start programming, with GameMaker being the most advanced.

You could also write your game designs on paper, and collaborate with your friends (or enemies) who know how to program.  They may show you a few programming details to get you started.  The STEM Video Game Challenge has a Design Category, too.  Not all winners have playable games, yet!  There are programs (Commercial = not free): Gamestar Mechanic, Little Big Planet, etc. for making games without programming.  Maybe you all know of some others?

OK.  Get busy!  And show me what you make!  Send me your links!  Share your triumphs.  Let me see how you made programming your thing.  Let me see what FUN you had!

 

Upcoming Event: What Can a Video Game Teach?

Melanie Stegman, yours truly, will be presenting her research on Immune Attack, development of the sequal and all about using game to teach and learn.  April 23, 6PM.  At the FabLab on North Capitol at P.  If you have made a game, bring it with you!  Please Register Here.

Video Games can teach science by presenting and requiring your interaction with complex 3D models of things you otherwise need to imagine because they are too small, to rare, or too far away to see.

Video games can also teach science to you if you decide to MAKE your own video game.  If you design it on paper you are doing systems thinking, planning, designing, and considering human computer interactions.  If you program a game you are learning to convert a designer’s instructions accurately, how to creatively solve programming problems, and how to optimize your system.

Video Games can also be made about science, as well.  If you make a game about science, then you are learning the science yourself and everyone who plays your game may learn, to.

Have you made a video game?  Would you like to show it off?  Have you ever submitted it to a contest, like the STEM Video Game Challenge?  Have you almost created a game and want to get some feedback?  Are you just curious about what anyone could actually be learning from a video game?
Then come out and meet game developer and many other types of design and maker people at Fab Lab DC.

Melanie will talk about Immune Attack and what students are learning.  There will be time before and after the presentation to try out some other great science games:

History of Biology
Minesweeper
Fold It
Cellcraft
You Make Me Sick
EtRNA
You Make Me Sick

Please Register here!

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This event is an official part of the month long USA Science and Engineering Festival.  The Finale Expo will be April 29-30 in the DC Convention Center April 27-29th.  Come out and meet Melanie at the FAS booth, talk with scientists in the “Encounter’s with Scientists” booth (FAS hour is 11AM Sunday the 29th) and meet the Fab Lab people in their booth #3050!

Please Register here!

 

 

 

Please register here:http://learnfromgamesstegman.eventbrite.com/  

This event is an official part of the month long USA Science and Engineering Festival.  The Finale Expo will be April 29-30 in the DC Convention Center April 27-29th.  Come out and meet Melanie at the FAS booth, talk with scientists in the “Encouter’s with Scientists” booth (FAS hour is 11AM Sunday the 29th) and meet the Fab Lab DC people at their booth (#3050)!

Teaching Science Through Video Game Design

Project Based Learning works.  A project that your students are excited about works better.  A project that allows the students to build levels of abstract and complex concepts upon a stable scaffold is even better.  And a project with a robust scaffold that can address the true complexities of a scientific system is something that many scientists would discuss with your students… and something that would generate untold number of questions from your students.

Sounds too good to be true, I realize.  But I have worked with five classes of high school students who created materials related to video game design:  paper and pen design documents, three-dimensional and two dimensional computer generated models and two dimensional video games.  The production of any of these provides a scaffold for a project that holds the student’s interests and motivates them to add to it.  Their design document or video game plan tethers a world of abstract concepts and esoteric facts to a story that they wrote.  So the concepts and facts are automatically related to their frame of view and level of understanding.

I am collaborating with professors at George Mason University.  Professors Kevin Clack and Kim Sheridan run a computer programming class.  They are interested in helping high school students feel competent in STEM fields.  They asked me to be their high school programming student’s “Client.”  I asked the students to create a Neurological Immune Attack game for me.  The game should focus on one of four molecular pathways that are core to Neurology.

Here is a link to our work on NSF page.

Here is our reference:

Students Designing Video Games about Immunology: Insights for Science Learning
Neda Khalili, Kimberly Sheridan, Asia Williams, Kevin Clark, Melanie Stegman
Computers in the Schools
Volume 28, Issue 3 pp. 228-240 | DOI: 10.1080/07380569.2011.594988

Find GameMaker Windows/Mac/Linux here!  http://www.yoyogames.com/gamemaker

Find a scientist:  www.nationallabnetwork.org  The National Lab Network is a place where you can find an expert to come to your classroom.

December 2011 Newsletter

Hi Everyone!

The The December Learning Technologies Newsletter is HERE!

I forgot to mention that the annual STEM Video Game Challenge is ON!  Middle school and High School kids can program or design on paper their own video games, about STEM or about anything at all.  Go check it out and get your kids involved!  I was one of the judges last year.  The games were fun, really innovative.  I suggest making a video game in place of a science fair project.  Go to National Lab Network and ask a scientist to come to talk to your class about their chosen video game topics while they are under development!  Deadline is in March!

Finally, most embarrassingly, the unsubscribe link in the December newsletter malfunctioned.  If you want to unsubscribe from all of my email lists, Click HERE.  *Sorry*