I believe that education has the power to improve societies and how we interact with one another. As Secretary Anne Durcan stated in 2009, education has the ability to "promote opportunity and reduce inequality". The social justice issues that I wanted to address through this application were racism and sexism. I also wanted to develop a fun and accessible way for students to expand on their educational experience, while improving their empathy and reading comprehension skills.
What it does
The application that I created is an educational game prototype that also assesses the reading comprehension skills of the students. The game will be hosted through Azure and it was intended to collect data on the test scores of the students. This way, multiple schools can get access to this game and multiple reading scores can be assessed from different schools across a region. Using cloud computing to address the reading comprehension skills of students can give us a snapshot on how different school districts are doing.
To address social justice issues such as racism and sexism, I wanted to design this game so that it can be used in conjunction with books that the students will be assigned to read. The books would be about successful individuals who came from minority backgrounds and of different genders.
To prevent any issues with copyright, for this prototype of the game, I based the game off of a fictional character who is to represent a successful African American woman who was a teacher and an astronaut. The finalized game, however, would be based off the biographies of real pioneers within the minority communities.
For example: The students will be asked to read a nonfiction book about a successful African-American woman. After completing the book, the students will be able to access the educational game which will have the protagonist of the book as the main character for the game. The game itself will be mixed with reading comprehension skill tasks, and a roleplaying game where the student will get to “be” the main character in the game.
The combination of books and role playing games in my opinion allows for an immersive experience where the student really gets to feel as if they were in the main character’s shoes. This experience can improve empathy. By having young children of different backgrounds read a book and play a game where the main character is a woman of African American descent, I think that can set the foundation for young people to empathize with different groups of people and different genders and to realize we are all more alike than we are different.
How I built it
I used the Unity engine along with C# from Visual Studio to create a short prototype of the game. I designed my own characters using Paint. I wrote a short paragraph story and have the students answer one reading comprehension question before they can access the game.
Challenges I ran into
Designing the characters took more effort then I expected. Also I wanted to use Azure to collect the test score data, however I ran out of time. Also, I used wanted to use Azure to host the game but unfortunately I ran out of time.
Accomplishments that I'm proud of
Drawing the characters on paint, I'm a beginner.
What I learned
I really enjoy creating games for learning purposes.
What's next for Ms. Green's Space Adventures!
Adding more levels and using Azure to collect test score data from the game.