We have created Immune Attack, a three dimensional, first person, immersive video game in which the player explores blood vessels and connective tissues and aids the body in the fight against bacteria. Immune Attack is explicitly designed to integrate the laws of molecular science into its game mechanics. One of the long term goals of this project is to increase the public's understanding of molecular biology and infectious disease. Research produced by NIAID funded scientists would be better understood by a public familiar with cellular behavior, protein function, and the molecular tricks infectious agents use to take advantage of our bodies. Video games in general are designed to maintain players'interest and motivation by offering rewards and more challenging tasks at an optimal rate. Additionally, the player determines the pace and the direction of discovery. These factors are known to be important for effective learning. Moreover, Immune Attack is designed in a three dimensional world, with high definition graphics, many objects in motion and player-driven interactions, which creates a learning environment that greatly exceeds what a text book or a lecture can deliver. Students and teachers have found Immune attack engaging and fun to play. Therefore, Immune Attack is expected to foster learning of molecular science, cell biology and immunology.
Specific aim 1) is to continue to develop the game Immune Attack. Our other long term goal is to use Immune Attack to demonstrate that innovative educational materials, such as an immersive 3-dimensional video game, teach advanced scientific concepts to a wider selection of the American public. We will use Immune Attack to demonstrate that video games can teach the rules of interaction of molecular and cellular biology.
Specific aim 2) is to evaluate the game Immune Attack as a teaching tool.
IMMUNE ATTACK! A video game in a molecular world... inside a human body. You pilot a submarine through blood vessels and connective tissue and aid the body in the fight against bacteria. A three member team of scientists describe the missions and advise you. Through videos and data you learn what should be happening, you use the submarine to gather data, decide what the problem is and fix it. You have three tools on board the submarine: Your ray gun can alter proteins, and a tractor beam lets you move proteins/molecules. A missing protein can be replaced by scanning the site where the protein should bind, constructing a mimic and shooting this replacement into the correct position. There are endless combinations of game mechanisms;highest points are awarded for the most elegant fixes.
|Stegman, Melanie (2014) Immune attack players perform better on a test of cellular immunology and self confidence than their classmates who play a control video game. Faraday Discuss 169:403-23|