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Research Spending & Results

Award Detail

Doing Business As Name:New York University
  • Kayla DesPortes
  • (443) 538-6399
Award Date:09/17/2020
Estimated Total Award Amount: $ 149,999
Funds Obligated to Date: $ 149,999
  • FY 2020=$149,999
Start Date:10/01/2020
End Date:09/30/2023
Transaction Type:Grant
Awarding Agency Code:4900
Funding Agency Code:4900
CFDA Number:47.070
Primary Program Source:040100 NSF RESEARCH & RELATED ACTIVIT
Award Title or Description:CHS: Small: Collaborative Research: Learning Maker Skills By Building Game Props
Federal Award ID Number:2008028
DUNS ID:041968306
Parent DUNS ID:041968306
Program:HCC-Human-Centered Computing
Program Officer:
  • Andruid Kerne
  • (703) 292-8574

Awardee Location

County:New York
Awardee Cong. District:10

Primary Place of Performance

Organization Name:New York University
Street:82 Washington Square East
City:New York
County:New York
Cong. District:10

Abstract at Time of Award

Fabrication devices, such as laser cutters and 3D printers, enable ordinary people to fabricate their own physical objects. These tools are driving innovation and entrepreneurship. However, rising availability of fabrication devices does not correlate to a rise in education. Many designs that makers are creating suffer from practicality, durability, and reliability issues. One promising group for addressing this problem is young learners who have the potential to become the next generation of engineers and innovators. This project explores teaching skills for fabrication to high school and undergraduate learners through games. Recent advances in virtual-physical game play enable players to use physical props in a game. For instance, a physical fishing rod made from cardboard and sensors is cast by the player to acquire virtual fish in the game. While today these physical props are used to increase immersion, they are not yet used for teaching. With the funding from this award, the team of researchers investigate how the act of building a physical game prop can be used to teach players fabrication, electronics, and programming skills. This research will provide insights into what skills can be effectively taught through games and how designers can leverage game mechanisms to create immersive game play to facilitate learning. The project will develop and release as open source a suite of games for acquiring fabrication skills. It will engage diverse high school students, undergraduate students, and fabrication lab and makerspace communities as co-developers and users of the educational games. As games are developed, the researchers will use their network within the fabrication and educational communities to publicize and integrate the games into additional environments, from schools to summer camps to community organizations. By combining methods from the learning sciences, educational game design, human-computer interaction, and design-based research literature, this research will conduct an iterative design process to investigate: (1) knowledge maps connecting skills and concepts that can be integrated with game mechanics to teach new fabrication tasks, through conducting interviews, contextual inquiries, and landscape analyses; (2) theory and principles for designing and evaluating maker-learning games, including mechanisms for recording user interaction with the game, such as click analysis, time between tasks, and in-game user feedback; (3) implications for evaluating learners’ increases in knowledge and experiences, through mixed methods user studies that compare pre- and post-training learning gain and result in qualitative and quantitative findings; and (4) a game-fabrication infrastructure to facilitate the transfer of activities from one game to another and broaden the applicability of the maker-learning concept. This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.

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