James Bower, CEO, Numedeon Inc/VWIP IncK12
Whyville.net was launched in 1999 as the first virtual game-based learning world. With 9 million cumulative registered users, and a current active user base of nearly 2,000 registered teachers worldwide, it is one of the largest game-based learning spaces for elementary children on the Internet. 70% are between the ages of 10 and 14 years. 78% are female.
Whyville is also one of the most independently studied, tested and evaluated game-based learning platforms. In this season, in addition to a general introduction to the learning pedagogy and collaborative / community structure of Whyville.net, Dr. Bower will describe two specific Whyville-based learning projects: a 15 yearlong effort to use game-based learning to help students understand the biology as well as societal impacts of pandemics, and a game-based learning approach to teaching fundamental mathematics (“Playmath”). Quantitative learning data will be presented on the outcomes of both projects, including data from a recent independent National Science Foundation Funded project related to Covid-19, and data on hybrid classroom / online use of the “PlayMath” curriculum. Both projects have classroom instruction from which evaluative data was obtained.
Dr. Bower will also present data on the effectiveness of embedding game-based learning in a virtual (meta) environment as well as our experience and approach connecting Whyville to (Note: Please add years, something like PreK- 6 or whatever is accurate) classroom instruction.
This talk will specifically describe what we have learned about successful game-based learning design over the last 24+ years, with a specific focus on classroom integration. The talk will also present the ways in which learning and student outcomes can be evaluated in the context of game based learning. Handouts will include several independent peer-reviewed publications on Whyville's effectiveness as well as a description of Numedeon's new "playMath" game-based K-8 mathematics curriculum. Educators will also receive explicit instructions as to how they can sign up and use Whyville for free.