Thursday, January 21, 2010

The Jason Project Update

Wow - what a difference a year makes.
I blogged about the Jason Project last year and decided to revisit the site to see what progress had been made. My original post was entitled Ocean Explorer Brings Undersea Science to Life where students at Internet2 connected schools would be able to view the remote camera images from the sea floor and listen to live conversations among the scientists.

Fast forward to January 2010 and let’s check out the site. It’s called Jason Science and you will need to create a free account to have access to everything in the site.

Let’s take a quick tour. Here is an image outlining the teachers tools availabe.  Teachers can use the Jason Lesson Plans and they can customize those lessons to better fit the needs of their students.

Currently three curriculums have been created for the Jason Project – Monster Storms, weather curriculum, Resilient Planet, ecology curriculum and Infinite Potential, energy curriculum. Each lesson has a syllabus, five lessons and a final project for the students. Teachers can download the curriculums or use the online curriculum. A new geology curriculum will be released later this year. There are also 3-D games, roller coaster creator, lab kits, and professional development for teachers.

The philosophy behind the Jason Project is to immerse students in challenging, real-world situations where students are mentored by scientists from NASA, NOAA, the U.S. Department of Energy and the National Geographic Society.

The Jason Project was founded in 1989 and was redesigned in 2007 to include a new curriculum of educational games, videos, live interactivity and social networking that has won five national technology awards. All of the Jason offerings are classroom ready and fully scalable and aligned to national and state standards.

To check out the Jason Science site please go to:

Create an account and get started.
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Thursday, January 7, 2010

Video Games Take Bigger Role in Education

Children today grow up playing lots of video games. To get students interested in world cultures, molecular biology and space, educators are partnering with game developers and scientist to create interactive games for students.

The Federation of American Scientist (FAS) and Escape Hatch Entertainment created “Immune Attack” for 7th – 12th grade students to explore the microscopic world of immune system proteins and cells. According to the game developer students need to save a patient suffering from a bacterial infection as they learn about cellular biology and molecular science. Tad Raudman, a science instructor at University Preparatory School, thinks that if the games are designed to be engaging, exciting and competitive then the games can be tailored for educational purposes.

The (FAS), UCLA's Cuneiform Digital Library Initiative and the Walters Art Museum created “Discover Babylon” for 8 to 12 year olds to explore Mesopotamia in world culture using library and museum objects.

January 18, 2010, is the release date for “MoonBase Alpha” from ARA/Virtual Heroes, a downloadable prototype game that was developed with NASA engineers and astronauts to teach STEM (Science, Technology Engineer and Math) to students. “MoonBase Alpha” is a predecessor to a new multiplayer online game called, "Astronaut: Moon, Mars & Beyond," that will be released later this year. The goal of “Astronaut: Moon, Mars & Beyond,” is to provide an immersive platform that will have multiple curriculum modules for teachers to incorporate gaming into science, technology, engineering and math for school and to home according to Jan Heneghan, founder and CEO of ARA/Virtual Heroes.

Why such interest in educational gaming? Currently there are approximately 55.7 million children between the ages of two and seventeen that are gamers. That’s 82% of the children in the United States. The goal is to create educational, interactive experiences to more actively engage students in the learning process. According to Tad Raudman, only “10 percent of lifetime learning happens in the formal educational setting” so if students are playing games several hours a week think about the overall learning outcomes and benefits to students who are playing educational games.

To read the entire article go to:
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