According to the Department of Defense Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Education & Outreach Strategic Plan, “The average age of federal scientists and engineers continues to rise. Workers age 45 and older constituted 57.8 percent of all federal scientists and engineers in 2005. A significant portion of these employees, particularly those in DoD science and technology laboratories, will likely leave by 2020 through retirement or attrition.”
Inspiring the next generation of scientists today will help DoD maintain its technological edge.
DARPA’s ENGAGE program seeks to develop interactive game-based technologies for pre-k through grade three students to inspire them to become future innovators by educating them in STEM skills. To get the target audience to play, these games must meet the highest standards for quality and entertainment. The goal is to create games that improve over time by analyzing play across a large population of anonymous users. As a result, ENGAGE hopes to not only produce valuable game-based teaching tools but to also provide insights into teaching techniques that can be applied to future products and classroom STEM learning.
The first phase of ENGAGE will focus on creating prototype games focused on physics, chemistry, systems thinking and basic sciences. An example of a prototype game focused on math skills may be found at http://games.cs.washington.edu/Refraction/.
CAPT Russell D. Shilling, Ph.D.email@example.com