Presented By CyGames
Selene: a lunar construction game

Disney Challenge Proves Big Honor for Selene

Date Posted: Jun 29 2010

The Selene educational videogame created by the Center for Educational Technologies was awarded finalist honors by the Disney Research Learning Challenge. The competition seeks to show that motivating interactions on computers can convey sophisticated concepts. Entrants developed an engaging learning widget to delight, inspire, and reveal key learning concepts for children ages 7-11. Disney showcased its 15 international finalists at SIGGRAPH 2010.

NASA funded Selene: A Lunar Construction Game, to study how to best use videogames to teach NASA science concepts. The game is now part of the National Science Foundation-funded CyGaMEs project, an approach to instructional game design and embedded assessment.

an image from the Selene videogame.
In Selene players learn difficult geological concepts like accretion, differentiation, impact cratering, and volcanism by applying these science concepts to reach the game goal of building the Earth's Moon. Players construct the Moon, then pepper it with impact craters and flood it with lava to experience how our Moon formed and changed over time. All through the game Selene tracks each player's behavior to measure learning and the player's response to the game environment.

"Being named one of the 15 finalists is an honor," said Dr. Debbie Denise Reese, senior educational researcher and CyGaMEs principal investigator. "Disney’s recognition attests to the quality of both Selene and the CyGaMEs approach to instructional game design and embedded assessment." SIGGRAPH industry professionals praised the game's educational element, the gameplay, the quality of the graphics and animations, the game concept, and the physics engine.

The CyGaMEs research team has successfully used gameplay data and embedded assessments to identify and measure learning. This advance is required to accomplish the national vision of learner-centered education through cyberlearning. The CyGaMEs research has demonstrated that Selene players can learn challenging science concepts through a videogame. Even young players ages 7-11 can learn fundamental geological principles by playing Selene, Reese said.

Youth ages 9-18 can play Selene for free, 24/7. And adult recruiters who confirm players' ages, get parental consent and gather other players are always needed to help with the CyGaMEs research. To sign up as a recruiter or play Selene, visit the Selene website and contact Lisa McFarland at 304-243-2479 or