A hand gesture based version of Geomoto at The Leap Motion App Store
The collection of games are designed to teach geoscience concepts through gesture and motion. In the case of the plate tectonics game, every single kinesthetic movement has direct proportionality to the movement of the plates and the resulting phenomenon which is connected to the specific outcomes that the kids are supposed to learn within the geoscience outcomes. And then the question is are those game mechanics engaging?”
Pangean is a didactic puzzle game, intended to be used to introduce the concept of continental drift before students encounter the concept of plate tectonics. They’ll jump from one earth-like planet to another, piecing together the continents to see how they’ve shifted over the past few hundred million years. Using translation and rotation tools, they move the continents back to their original positions. Each level increases in complexity, with the final level being to return present-day Earth to its Pangea state. To do so, students must make use of all three kinds of evidence–shape, fossils, and continental shelves–as well as translation and rotation.
Geomoto is a digital learning experience where players kinesthetically create geographic features by pulling, smashing, and grinding tectonic plates together. Using the Leap Motion Controller or tablet, players navigate around a planet devoid of geographic features. Players zoom into the plate boundaries and experience the motion of the plates through the movement of their hands. The game uses this same system to teach the different types of earthquakes and faults. The game can be played by an individual student, or facilitated by a teacher to provide hands-on learning opportunities.
The GameDesk team has also laid out the entire design process for these games in a detailed white paper . As part of the research paper the designers conducted extensive testing on the effectiveness of the games to teach difficult geoscience concepts to primarily middle school-aged students. With solid pre- and post-testing, the results were impressive. “The student improvements from pre to post on these tests ranged from an average of 5% all the way up to an average of 25%. Results for the field accretion game showed improvements of almost 25%. When students played the plate tectonics game, they showed improvements of over 11% from pre to post. For the continental drift game, we saw improvements up to almost 25%,” Vattel and co-author Michelle Riconscente wrote in the paper.
The launch of these two games – currently on iOS, but due out soon for Android – also marks the first of a series of games and products the company will bring to market in the coming months, saying, “We are a research organization that is currently commercializing most of our products. 70-80 percent of our research from the last five years we plan to have out in the market.