WALTHAM, MA | June 19, 2013
EDC is part of the winning team to receive a two-year, $1 million Fast Track Award from the U.S. Department of Education’s Institute of Education Sciences to create and study a tablet-based interactive digital game for middle school history classrooms. The award was announced on the White House Blog.
Mission US is a game series that enables middle school students to take on the roles of young people during pivotal events in U.S. history. The project is a collaboration of game developers Electric Funstuff, producer WNET/Channel Thirteen (NYC public television), and the American Social History Project at CUNY.
The new Fast Track award will support the development of a prototype to bring the popular games to tablets for the first time and will support the creation of “California or Dust!,” the fifth new Mission US game that places students in the roles of 14-year-old twins during the Great Depression. EDC’s Center for Children and Technology will perform formative research on the tablet version of the game as well as conduct a classroom pilot study examining the game’s success in teaching history and literacy and analytic skills.
“Kids and teachers instantly recognize that a role-playing game is a serious way to learn history, and it’s fun,” said EDC’s Bill Tally. “Now more kids in more settings will be able to play the games using tablets, and we’ll be examining the effectiveness of this new medium for learning. It’s an exciting project, and EDC is pleased to be part of this collaboration.”
Designed for use by students in grades 5–9, Mission US games have been played online by approximately 500,000 registered users in all 50 states. The website also includes a comprehensive collection of resources and materials to help educators integrate the game into the curriculum and the scope and sequence of their lesson plans.
A major research study conducted in 2011 examined the use of Mission US by 1,118 seventh- and eighth-grade students in 50 schools across the country. The study found measurable gains in students’ historical knowledge and analytical skills, and yielded positive feedback from teachers. A summary of the study’s key findings is available at cpb.org/features/missionus.
Education Development Center, Inc. (EDC), is a global nonprofit organization that addresses urgent challenges in education, health, and economic development. EDC manages 250 projects in 30 countries. Visit edc.org.