NEW GAME FROM GLASSLAB, NATIONAL WRITING PROJECT AND NASA DELIVERS DRAMATIC LEARNING GAINS IN CRITICAL THINKING FOR MIDDLE SCHOOLERS
September 8th, 2014
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Mars Generation One: Argubot Academy, a unique tablet game that teaches persuasion, critical thinking and sound reasoning, has helped over 70 percent of beta users increase the English Language art skills that are critical for 21st century success.
Redwood City, Calif. – [Sept. 8, 2014] GlassLab, the creator of SimCityEDU, has released the full version of Mars Generation One: Argubot Academy, a tablet game created in collaboration with NASA and the National Writing Project. With English Language Arts at its heart, the game is designed to teach middle school students the essential skills necessary to create sound arguments – from evidence gathering and critical thinking to persuasion.
The game is now available on the Apple App Store.
Designed for use in grade 6-8 classrooms, Argubot Academy is an adventure game set on Mars. The game transports students to the year 2054, where they live on the planet’s first human settlement and have to make relevant decisions about its governance. To make these decisions, players must construct special robots, called argubots, and pit them against each other in battles of persuasion to resolve conflicts.
Using information from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab and NASA’s Mars Exploration Program, kids construct arguments in order to learn how to make claims based on evidence, make a valid argument, recognize the strengths of different types of arguments, and make decisions collaboratively.
To help teachers, the game includes lesson plans, curriculum integration tools and professional development to deliver a highly engaging forum for classroom discussions, persuasive writing, and expository writing. These features work alongside an easy-to-use dashboard that allows teachers to track student progress on argumentation and pinpoint what students need help and where.
“Argubot Academy lets us teach kids to reason in a way that is engaging and productive,” GlassLab’s Executive Director, Jessica Lindl, said. “Building the foundation of argumentation is a critical middle school requirement and develops lifelong citizens who can make better informed decisions based on reason and critical analysis.”
A preview version of the game was unveiled at the 11th annual Games for Change festival in New York City, and has since been play-tested by several thousand students at hundreds of schools throughout the country.
Through their game play, 73% of students were able to successfully master three core aspects of argumentation, which include: matching evidence to claims, identifying argument schemes, and evaluating and critiquing others’ arguments.
Argubot Academy is unique in that it uses STEM content to help develop the persuasion and reasoning skills that are a cornerstone of the English Language Arts Standards such as Common Core Reading and Writing, skills of argumentation, reasoning, and critical thinking.
“Argubot Academy teaches moves in argumentation like moves in Karate,” said Elyse Eidman-Aadahl, the Executive Director of the National Writing Project. “We love that this also introduces a positive frame around ‘argumentation’ which provides a significant social learning impact.”
An independent non-profit, GlassLab was formed out of a groundbreaking collaboration between the Entertainment Software Association, Electronic Arts, the Institute of Play, and learning experts from Educational Testing Service and Pearson’s Center for Digital Data, Analytics & Adaptive Learning, among others.
Established in 2012 with support from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, GlassLab researches and develops digital game-based learning and assessment tools that engage students in innovative ways and reinforce the core skills deemed critical by states for college and the 21st century workplace.
In November of 2013, GlassLab released SimCityEDU: Pollution Challenge!, the first of a new generation of educational games built to meet the needs of today’s students and teachers by creating dynamic new game-based tools that make the most of classroom technology and engage students while providing teachers with real-time assessments of Common Core skills that they can trust for guiding instruction. Glasslab’s team draws on the talents of a world-class group of individuals from a variety of backgrounds. Most come from commercial game development, educational technology, or academic research in learning and assessment, and all share a passion for doing work that improves learning outcomes while maintaining a high level of student engagement.
For more information about Argubot Academy, visit www.glasslabgames.org/games.
GlassLab brings together leaders in commercial games and experts in learning and assessment to leverage digital games as powerful, data-rich learning and formative assessment environments. The Lab represents a groundbreaking collaboration between Institute of Play, the Entertainment Software Association, Electronic Arts, Educational Testing Service, Pearson’s Center for Digital Data, Analytics & Adaptive Learning and others. GlassLab is supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. More information is available at www.glasslabgames.org.
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