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First Multiplayer, Interactive Science Video Game in Development

by Rainier on Aug. 29, 2008 @ 4:42 a.m. PDT

To address the growing demand for up-to-date curriculum materials that stimulate student interest in learning science, the Monsanto Fund has partnered with developer Tabula Digita to create an immersive video game that teaches standards-based, fundamental science concepts.
Under the partnership, Tabula Digita will develop and market the software to educators and consumers globally, using its expertise gained in developing the award-winning DimensionM™ algebra and pre-algebra video games. ISTE will provide content-rich curriculum for the Web-based, interactive science games and disseminate the game to its worldwide network of educators. The highlight of the new solution will be a multiplayer component that will allow students to safely compete against one another or form teams and compete and collaborate with students in local communities or around the globe. With a target release at ISTE’s annual meeting, National Education Computing Conference, in Washington DC, June 28-July 2, 2009, this multi-million dollar, dual-phase venture supports Monsanto Fund’s vision of engaging students in science through the creation of innovative science education programs.

“Three years ago, Monsanto Fund sponsored a study that showed that student interest in science drops at the fourth- and fifth-grade levels. Monsanto Fund is committed to increasing the appeal of science as a career path, and the video game medium has demonstrated itself to be an increasingly powerful way to engage today’s digital generation,” said Deborah Patterson, president of the Monsanto Fund. “We are excited to be a part of a bold new initiative that could fundamentally rewrite the rules of student engagement.”

“The National Education Assessment of Education Progress 2005 test showed that by grade 12, only 18 percent of U.S. students scored at or above the proficient level in science,” said Ntiedo Etuk, chief executive officer of Tabula Digita. “With this partnership, we now have the opportunity to use the video game platform to stem the tide of apathy toward science among elementary students and make it relevant, exciting, memorable and most importantly, useful.”

Tabula Digita’s previous immersive educational video game offerings are renowned for teaching, reinforcing and creating mastery of key algebraic concepts. The simulations embed pre-algebra and algebra lessons within cutting-edge, three-dimensional settings and have proven to drive student achievement and enhance student motivation.

“ISTE has long been a proponent of game-changing applications of technology in education,” said Don Knezek, chief executive officer of ISTE. “With our expertise in curriculum and our reach into countries around the world also interested in facilitating science education in young people, we can’t think of a more innovative approach and exciting venture to drive interest in and prepare our nearly 7 million fourth- and fifth-grade students for future success in this field. We are eager to get started.”

The first phase, including product creation and testing, will begin immediately, followed by comprehensive market testing using input from school administrators, science educators, and students.

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