This NSF-funded project aims to provide a novel, informal Quantum Information Science (QIS) learning environment for upper-elementary and middle-school students. We will design, implement, and study an online game world that embeds key QIS concepts. While QIS education has long been the realm of upper-division undergraduate and graduate courses, recent initiatives (Workshop on QIS K-12 Key Concepts and the National Q-12 Education Partnership) have focused on expanding learning opportunities and defining age-appropriate K-12 QIS content in order to prepare a future workforce for quantum-related jobs. Widespread formal QIS education for early ages is many years in the future, but we can make complementary inroads now through carefully-designed, broadly accessibly, informal education opportunities to gain insight by watching the first few links.
The objective is to build and research the success of games with associated instructional material, within a game world that integrates best practices in motivation, rewards, and learning theory, to build intuitive understanding of QIS key concepts in 6th-8th grade students. Our game environment, Quander, consists of three main elements. First, Quander uses modified versions of familiar games (e.g. Superposition Tic-Tac-Toe), as well as new ones, to introduce QIS key concepts in a way that is both fun and builds upon students’ existing knowledge. Second, Quander includes QIS educative materials that connect the game play to QIS concepts. Third, Quander surrounds these mini-games with a world that provides incentives (e.g. badges, points, and quizzes), to encourage students to interact with and learn from the QIS educative materials.
UC Santa Barbara