A video game that helps you pass your physics course

Montréal, Thursday, September 29, 2011 - The dropout problem is a major issue for the new knowledge economy. Which is why CREO has developed PHYSICA, an innovative solution to motivate students and promote school success, and the most recent addition to the GAME FOR SCIENCE virtual world.

Getting to PHYSICA is free: www.gameforscience.ca/physica/. Players first create an avatar, the character that represents them in the game, then join the adventure to accumulate neurons and become a “super genius.” They’ll have to rack their brains to solve the problems presented by Vacuum-o-matic, the quirky robot supervisor of a recycling plant. The 50 challenges presented in PHYSICA were designed to stimulate players’ intelligence and gradually improve their comprehension of mechanical physics. After solving all the puzzles, players gain access to a virtual lab where they can analyze the motion of the fascinating little robots.

Grade 11 teachers will find that PHYSICA is an incredibly effective tool for enriching their physical mechanics classes. And players of all ages will find that it holds hours of fun.

PHYSICA was developed jointly by CREO and UQAM, thanks to funding from the Fonds Inukshuk and the Canada Media Fund “Innovation is part of CREO’s DNA. That’s why it’s so important for us to work with scientists like those from LabMÉCAS. It helps us improve our methods and at the same time validates their impact on learning,” explains Caroline Julien, president of CREO.

GAME FOR SCIENCE, CREO’s platform, won a bronze medal at the 2011 International Serious Play Awards and a Numix prize in 2010.

Data collected by researchers working in the field of science didactics at the Université du Québec à Montréal have demonstrated the effectiveness of the game MECANIKA, one of three games offered in PHYSICA. The data indicate that Grade 11 students who play the game show marked improvement. Moreover, these results were measured after approximately two hours of game play, while the pedagogical methods used in other studies occasionally extended over entire semesters.

The data gathered also suggest that merely assigned as homework, hence requiring no change to the classroom setting or teacher intervention, the game can have an effect by itself. A more advanced use of MECANIKA in class, with discussions about game situations among students and with the teacher, would then improve the effect. Teacher’s guides that facilitate classroom integration are available at http://www.gameforscience.ca/physica/teachers.php.

In addition to helping students improve their physics grades, the GAME FOR SCIENCE platform will soon be handing out prizes to students and schools with the best performances in the virtual world. At the end of October, CREO will officially launch the “GAME FOR SCIENCE Neuron Hunt” contest, and at that time, we will also announce our partners and the prizes up for grabs over the course of the school year. So completing the challenges of PHYSICA will also give players a chance to win prizes. We think students will be dying to do their physics homework.

About CREO: Over the past 10 years, CREO has been producing and distributing innovative, multiplatform science popularization tools to help partners enhance their educational, communications, and marketing activities. CREO creates serious games that build intelligence, cultivate a taste for discovery, and promote educational success. In business since December 2001, CREO works with private companies, governments, museums, industry taskforces, foundations, and teaching institutions to explore new ways of communicating, informing and educating. Inspired by popular online virtual worlds, its GAME FOR SCIENCE platform (www.gameforscience.ca) stimulates the interest of young people in science. Thanks to the collaboration of 25 partners, the site attracts 35,000 visits per month, a rate that is doubling every year.

About LabMÉCAS: the mission of the Mobile Laboratory for the Study of Learning Pathways in Sciences (Laboratoire mobile pour l’étude des cheminements d’apprentissage en science—LabMÉCAS) is to study the phenomenon of learning science, considered as a complex process rather than simply as a result. The lab brings together researchers from five universities in Québec and Ontario who focus on the conceptual, cognitive, neuro-didactic, and practical aspects of teaching science. http://www.labmecas.uqam.ca/

For more information:

Geneviève Lajeunesse, Media relations – CREO

glajeunesse@creo.ca, 514-278-9595, ext. 25

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