At the University at Albany School of Education, Associate Professor Peter Shea is trying to bring together the console and the classroom. Professor Shea is leading a research study investigating the use of video games to promote learning, with a large and various group of experts, students, and faculty. The project, named “SUNY Games II”, seeks to explore how teachers and students from diverse fields across the SUNY system can develop video games to promote understanding of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) content in K-12 schools.
SUNY Games II will help the research and development of educational games. The project is being worked on through the Open SUNY framework, a massive online SUNY platform that will bring all online courses offered at each of SUNY’s 64 campuses onto a shared and comprehensive online environment.
The SUNY Games II project is funded by a SUNY Innovative Instruction Technology Grant (IITG), a competitive grants program open to SUNY faculty and support staff across all disciplines that encourages development of innovations that meet the Power of SUNY’s transformative vision. Grant recipients openly share project outcomes in the SUNY Learning Commons, which enables SUNY colleagues to replicate and build upon an innovation. The 18 person team of SUNY faculty members involved believe that their focus on STEM learning through the video game medium will address the challenges that STEM discipline teachers in the K-12 system face and will help position the project for additional external funding once success is proven.
In addition to developing a joint, online academic program that promotes understanding of games for learning, Shea said SUNY Games II will leverage collaborations with area industry. Partners on the SUNY Games II grant include the Troy-based game-design company 1st Playable Productions and the atmospheric simulation and forecasting company MESO. Shea’s team is also in the process of establishing a working relationship with the Boston-based game developer Turbine Games, a subsidiary of Warner Bros.
Shea serves as the lead to the SUNY Games II’s study. Other faculty and students are from UAlbany and other SUNY institutions representing a wide range of disciplines. Some of the other SUNY members participating are:
- Daniel Goodwin, chair, Department of Art, UAlbany
- Bina Ramamurthy, Department of Computer Science and Engineering, University at Buffalo
- James McElwaine, Department of Music, Purchase College
- Kim Scalzo, director, SUNY Center for Professional Development
- Suzanne Hayes, director of instructional technology, Empire State College
- Larry Dugan, director of online learning, Finger Lakes Community College
As the project continues to develop and as the team applies for more money, stay tuned for updates.