Presented By CyGames
Selene: a lunar construction game

Teacher Blazes a Recruiting Path for WJU Videogame Research

Date Posted: Wed Jul 18 2012

Read Julie Ogden's testimonial and New Jersey state standards summary.

an image of Julie OgdenFor Julie Ogden the road to becoming a featured recruiter for the award-winning Selene videogame was simply putting the game in context for her students.

"Two weeks before we started the Selene project," Ogden recounted, "I really talked it up with the kids, telling them it was a unique opportunity. They would be participating in groundbreaking research, a game designed by the top scientists in the country."

And with that sales pitch to her sixth grade science students at Woodcliff Lake Middle School in Woodcliff Lake, NJ, Ogden found an eager audience.

"The excitement level of the children as they learned was unbelievable. They raced into the room to log on to Selene, and while they were not allowed to talk about the actual game, there were excited outbursts every time they achieved a high score," Ogden said.

"Many students continued to play at home to see if they could obtain that completion card. The students loved the challenge and were super motivated to master this learning. This was a great experience!"

The CyGaMEs team at the Center for Educational Technologies, which manages the game, is recognizing Ogden as a featured recruiter for her efforts in bringing players to Selene and promoting its efforts to study how and when people learn while playing videogames. Ogden has recruited more than 100 players for Selene so far, but the recognition comes from having more than 90 percent of them complete the game. She looks forward to bringing more players aboard this school year.

Selene: A Lunar Construction Game was funded by NASA to study how to best use videogames in the teaching of 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.

The Selene game is free online and available 24-7. Players ages 9-18 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 or contact Selene.

The game, indeed, features the work of three accomplished scientists. Debbie Denise Reese, senior educational researcher at the Center for Educational Technologies and principal investigator for the project, created the assessment and instructional concepts of Selene and has earned national awards for the game's design. Chuck Wood, director of the center, is a renowned lunar scientist who spent years with NASA training shuttle astronauts on lunar observation, and he also operates the Lunar Photo of the Day website. He guides players through Selene in a series of video segments that explain the Moon's geological history. And Barbara Tabachnick, professor emerita of psychology at Cal State Northridge, has served as a consultant throughout the project. She recently earned the lifetime achievement award from the Western Psychological Association for her 40 years as a research design/statistical consultant.