MAPIT (codename) is a visual narrative style game being developed by the SAGA Lab. We have been involved from the beginning, starting with ideation and design, and now nearing completion of the game. The game is targeted for high school deaf children to help them understand the challenges they face and feel empowered to do the choices that are best for them under the circumstances. MAPIT is being collaboratively developed between the SAGA Lab and National Deaf Center, which is located on the UT Austin campus.
Middle Galaxy is a game designed to teach middle school children about careers and help them select a focused area of study in high school. The SAGA Lab has been involved in testing of the game, development of a dashboard, and in development of a mini-game within Middle Galaxy. Middle Galaxy is a collaboration between The University of Texas at Austin, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and the Institute for Applied Neuroscience.
Cliovis is a history concept mapping timeline tool that was developed in collaboration with a history professor for her course. The tool allows students to create events and connect them to provide a graphical view of the times and causality of history. The tool was found to be very engaging in the classroom and helpful for students’ understanding.
Based on the success of Environ, Diamond Tree LLC engaged the SAGA Lab to partner on an NSF STTR grant (Phase I). In collaboration with Diamond Tree, SAGA designed and developed a web-based platform that will allow students to easily create and share educational simulation-style games. Assimbly has two primary components. The first component is a web application that allows students to easily create and share educational games on a wide variety of subject matter. The second component is the simulation platform, which generates unique simulation-based games that are based on the data input by students, and that are playable in a web browser. The promise of Assimbly is that it puts students in the role of a simulation designer, but without the need for the extensive technical knowledge that creating a simulation game typically requires. The game mechanic of Assimbly is simple and flexible enough that it can be used to create learning games on a wide variety of subject matter, and the authoring tools take only minutes to learn.
Environ is an educational game that puts students in the role of a decision maker. The game is set in near-future Earth, and the player must make difficult and complex choices to improve the Earth’s environment while increasing economic prosperity. Resources are limited, so the player must deeply analyze different courses of action while creating a more sustainable world. Environ is still in development, but you can download and play the Alpha version by clicking the link below:
Heart failure (HF) affects 6 million Americans today, with the proportion rising to 11% in those who are 80 years or older. HF costs the nation an estimated $32 billion each year. The inability of persons with HF to self-manage their conditions has contributed to poor outcomes of HF, resulting in more visits in hospitals. We are developing a game for cultivating HF individuals’ self-care knowledge and efficacy using iPads and improve their engagement in HF self-management activities.
The College of Fine Arts offers “Visual and Performing Arts” (VAPA) courses required for all undergraduate majors, resulting in large class sizes. Some of these classes, including ARH 303, require visits to sites such as museums so that students can experience art and artifacts in situ. The iBeacons: Scaling and Enhancing Location-Based Learning and Aesthetic Experiences project investigates the use of iBeacons, low cost Bluetooth emitters, mobile app technology and the Canvas LMS to solve the problem of humans required to be docents for students in the Blanton Museum. The goal of the project is to evaluate the amount of time spent by students in the museum each week, what they see in the museum, and maximize the instructor’s ability to push contextually appropriate content to students while visiting. The project also provides valuable data to instructors, allowing them to learn about students’ museum experience using the combined data of the entire class.
A series of interactive activities for the edX course Effective Thinking Through Mathematics taught by UT Austin professor Michael Starbird. Additionally, we created the animations for the course’s trailer video: