Big Vision For NanoMission
Interaction has always been the buzzword in the field of child education. Trying to stimulate collective interest and gain wide spread acceptance is a good way of achieving this infinitely fickle task. Whilst pre school children can be innocently guided to engage with toys that encourage learning during play, it is not so easy to promote the adoption amongst more mature children. So a mix of trendy with teaching is a lucrative means to educate our children to play clever.
It is owed to this very objective that game makers at PlayGen, co partnering with Cientifica, a global nanotechnology consultancy have elected to make learning more fun through the innovative idea of an action adventure game that teaches children about the futuristic world of nanotechnology.
NanoMission, a non profit venture described by PlayGen as:
“The worlds first scientifically accurate interactive 3D learning game based on understanding nano-sciences and nanotechnology” is a bid to educate children and young adults between the ages of 12 and 18 years and their teachers through the futuristic learning environment of a computer game.
Nanotechnology may well already be a familiar term with many individuals amongst the younger generations especially those who are akin to Star Trek and the likes of science fiction or major video game players but a recent decline in the number of students signing up for engineering roles and courses in physics and chemistry is an all to sorry show of just how these subjects are slipping down the curriculum list. Fantasy and futurism may well be deemed by kids, as a ‘cool' aspect in entertainment but it is imperative that science and technology subjects attain a high level of acceptance amongst children, invested in the course of their academia at an early stage.
Nanotechnology, though relatively still in its stages of infancy at the moment has taken a hold of science and technology with a resounding impact on the world as a whole. It is shaping the very contours of modern living infiltrating fields of electronics, medicine and even clothing and cosmetics. It is to this degree that children ought to be educated to understand the science behind nanotechnology and how it affects their everyday life so that the knowledge can deliver awareness ultimately creating a freedom of choice.
Not only that, but the game makers at PlayGen are endeavouring to stoke the fires of interest amongst children to promote inspiration to ultimately select the field of nanotechnology research and engineering as a career. PlayGen has designed NanoMission on the basis of an “engaging learning experience that educates players about basic concepts in nanoscience through real world practical applications.”
World Saving Heroics
In the game, players are faced with the challenge of saving the world from destruction by Dr. Nevil and his army of nanomachines and nano-materials, succinctly the players are exposed to learning about real world nanotechnology creating an environment that teaches about real science and not just science fiction. The mission educates players about basic concepts in nanoscience through real world practical applications from microelectronics to drug delivery. In order to deliver factual science and understanding a broad body of partners have become involve to support and develop PlayGens vision of bringing entertainment and learning together.
With the opportunity of a demo mode the game can be sampled to see just what exactly it is all about. As you log on you are welcomed into a virtual world, met by Dr Goodlove as he briefs the plucky adventurist Lisa for her mission to guide the nano vessel through the body of a sick patient to combat destructive cancer cells threatening his health. On her voyage she is shrunk to nano scale and injected into the patient where she or you as the game player must steer the nano vessel. Along the journey you must look out for red blood cells and other particles in the blood as they can damage the vessel and jeopardise the mission.
As with most other computer games the mission is designed in stages all of varying degree of difficulty and learning levels. There are nine challenges in total covering the scientific concepts of nano medicine, nano scale, nano imaging, nano manipulations, nano electronics, nano machines, self assembly and last but not least quantum computing.
Curriculum to Cirricugame!
The game has been designed with three modes of play utilising an arcade story and classroom mode. As a result this Virtual scientific world provides an ideal medium by which schools and academic institutes can use the game as a fun and interactive learning zone to assist in child and young adult education. This is one of the briefing requisites of the game designers at Playgen who, via the aid of sponsorship are making the game for the PC with a cleverly incorporated ‘teachers version.'
Schools and colleges can have access to the game at economically viable means made possible through sponsorship. Sponsorship opportunities allow scientific organisations to become involved. With the help of a professional advisory board the game is being developed in close relationship to ensure a high level of scientific accuracy to deliver a three dimensional view of the nano world.
If NanoMission proves to be successful in its agenda then perhaps we can expect to see many more virtual learning aids employed in academic institutes to encourage the adoption of specific criteria. However as the saying goes you can lead a horse to water but you cannot make it drink, equally we can expose our children to education but lets hope this virtual innovation can stimulate them to learn in a format that appeals to the next generation.
May the force be with you NanoMission!