From left, Seth Baker and Alex Still play the “Parking” game using toy car parts on their controller Wednesday in the Innovation Lab at Madison Central High School.
“While gaming may not always be permitted at school, The Innovation Lab at Madison Central High School gives students the opportunity to learn computer programming, with gaming as the current focus.
During the first semester of the school year, students researched the different job opportunities the gaming industry has to offer and then took on various roles: game designer, game tester, programming and production.
Using a program called Scratch, developed at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, class members designed and created their own two-dimensional computer games.
The class is tackling the game-controller aspect of gaming using the MaKey MaKey “easy-to-use invention kit.” The kit includes seven alligator clips, six connector wires and one USB cable.
Teacher Alison Fox was awarded a $500 Bechtel-Parsons Grant, given to teachers at any grade level who plan on using new or interesting strategies with science, math, or technology in their classrooms.
The MaKey MaKey system allows the students to make most anything into a game controller. Students researched items that are conductive (aluminum foil, Play-Doh, people) and would complete the circuit and run the game.
Split into groups of two or three, students where given the task of making a new controller for the game assigned.
The “Piggy Push” online game was chosen for students Sarah Dalton, Dylan Ingram and Timothy Sharp. With the title “Piggy Push,” students used a controller made of a crate lined with aluminum foil and used a pig fashioned from Play-Doh as a handheld controller to move the pig in the game.
To make the controller function, students used a MaKey MaKey system inside of the crate and used alligator clips to connect the system to foil on the outside, with the foil serving as arrow keys. Both aluminum foil and Play-Doh are conductive materials.
A group consisting of Stuart Thorburn, Nick Warren and Ricky Campbell made a controller for the game “Flappy Bird,” where players try to keep the bird from touching the ground or the pipes.”
I usually write about how computer games help humans to learn. Today, I write about how humans (while playing games) help computers to learn. In the process, the humans advance brain science and learn about neurology. I am one of the 70,000+ who have played eyewire, a game that was created by;
“…scientists at MIT, Eyewire is a browser game that lets players take on the challenge of mapping neural pathways in brains — no scientific background required. By playing, gamers are not only mapping neurons, but also training artificial intelligence algorithms to better understand how to map neurons themselves, what Amy Robinson, Creative Director at Eyewire, calls “augmented intelligence”. The more that gamers play, the better the computers get.”
By creating a map of all the connected neurons in the brain, we advance understanding and treatment of alzheimer’s, dementia, mood disorders, and other cognitive diseases. The human connectome has 86 billion connected neurons, so mapping this is impossible for humans to do quickly. But, by using the Eyewire game, we can quickly teach the Artificial Intelligence software to map our connectome much faster than we could.
So, stop playing Farmville, and start playing a serious game!
Map the brain, save your brain, and learn a little brain science!
The world will be a better place.To play Eyewire click here – http://eyewire.org/
To read the full article by Aaron Frank from Singularity Hub click here; http://singularityhub.com/2013/07/10/70000-have-played-eyewire-game-that-trains-computers-to-map-the-brain/
- Play a Game, Map the Brain with MIT (eyewire.org)