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Researchers Eye Gaming as Tool For Boosting Computer Science Skills, Diversity in Middle Schools

Screenshot from the game Engage.

Researchers plan to use a custom-designed video game to boost computational thinking in middle school science classrooms.

Credit: Bradford Mott

Researchers from North Carolina State University (NCSU) and the University of Florida plan to use a custom-designed videogame to improve educational outcomes in middle schools.

The team has used a three-year, $2.49-million grant from the U.S. National Science Foundation to test and develop the game, called Engage, and its related educational curriculum.

The team says the game can boost computational thinking in middle school science classrooms. The researchers say Engage also will include life science elements.

The team also wants to use Engage to improve diversity in computer science and other science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields. For example, the team says they will design Engage to create experiences that are effective in connecting with young girls. "We will be working to ensure that the game and related resources resonate with all students--not just advantaged ones," says NCSU researcher Bradford Mott.

The researchers plan to test the game and the related curriculum on 5,000 middle school students in North Carolina and Florida.

From NCSU News
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