Thursday, April 28, 2011

HU Among Finalists for National Grant to Design Alternate Reality Game

Harrisburg University submitted the proposal, "Alternate Reality Game (ARG) for Achieving Mastery of Common Core Standards in 7th Grade Mathematics,"

Harrisburg, PA, April 26, 2011 -- A proposal to use an alternate reality game for learning submitted by faculty members at Harrisburg University of Science and Technology is one of only 40 nationwide to move forward for consideration to receive a competitive funding grant.

Harrisburg University submitted the proposal, "Alternate Reality Game (ARG) for Achieving Mastery of Common Core Standards in 7th Grade Mathematics," to receive a $250,000 grant from the Next Generation Learning Challenge.

The proposal calls for Harrisburg University to design an alternate reality game (ARG) based on existing technologies designed by faculty from HU’s MS in Learning Technologies and its Center for Advanced Entertainment and Learning Technologies. The ARG will offer engagement with targeted common core standards for mathematical practice and 7th grade-level competencies in mathematics. It will be designed so that the game can be cost effectively expanded to other students/players, grade levels, and standards. This modification of the existing Internet platform will be done in partnership with K-12 educators and curriculum specialists from the Capital Area Intermediate Unit 15.

HU's proposal was selected from a field of 230 other submissions and is now one of 40 to be asked to submit a full proposal in this round of grant funding. The co-investigators for the project are Andy Petroski, Director of Learning Technologies, and Charles Palmer, executive director of the Center for Advanced Entertainment and Learning Technologies.

The Next Generation Learning Challenges (NGLC) is a unique collaboration between philanthropic foundations, educators, innovators, and technologists focused on addressing the barriers to educational innovation by tapping the potential of technology to improve college readiness and completion, particularly for low-income young adults. In addition to grants, NGLC seeks to spark dialogue and community building through a social network and community engagement designed to catalyze new ideas, foster solutions, and form unique collaborations that span institutions and disciplines.

The NGLC received more than 230 proposals proposal outlining the ways that schools, teachers, colleges of education, community colleges, and other organizations are leveraging today’s tools to make learning more flexible, interactive, and effective. NGLC is led by EDUCAUSE in partnership with the League for Innovation in the Community College, the International Association for K-12 Online Learning (iNACOL), and the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO). Funding is being provided by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation.

A decision is expected from the NGLC in mid-June.

ARGs are not computer or video games, though electronic devices including computers, cell phones, and GPS-enabled handhelds are used to access clues. Clues can be anywhere--websites, stores, signs, recorded telephone messages or printed materials. ARGs are not role-playing games. Players normally function as themselves in a real-world environment

Harrisburg University's expertise and exploration of games, simulations and virtual worlds for effective learning and education goes well beyond the current proposal. The University, through the Center for Advanced Entertainment & Learning Technologies (CAEL&T) and the Learning Technologies Master of Science (LTMS) program conducts a yearly event that brings serious game designers from around the country to Harrisburg, PA. The Learning and Entertainment Evolution Forum (LEEF) showcases immersive learning case studies, design and development sessions and a high tech demo area where attendees can explore new technologies that may impact game and simulation design in the future. In addition to the LTMS program, the University offers individual courses on the use of games and virtual worlds as part of the summer Educators Technology Clinic series of courses.

Andy Petroski coordinates the Learning Technologies Master of Science (LTMS) program and learning technologies at Harrisburg University as Director of Learning Technologies. In 2010, he received the "Technology Educator of the Year" honors from TECHQuest PA. The honor recognizes Andy as an "outstanding example of Information Age Educator" using current technologies to educate, motivate and inspire students to develop careers in technology fields and become lifelong learners." The award-winning instructional technologist has more than 14 years of eLearning design and development experience in multimedia production firms, independent consulting, corporate learning and education.

A leader in the fields of multimedia and information technology, Charles Palmer serves as director of the CAELT. Charles leads the Center as well as spearheads new developments in digital storytelling and forms of entertainment technology. He is a creative educator, administrator, and producer. He previously served as a faculty member at Carnegie Mellon University's Entertainment Technology Center (ETC) since 2004.

Harrisburg University is home to a Learning Technologies Master of Science (LTMS) program and the Center for Advanced Entertainment & Learning Technologies (CAELT). The CAELT works with regional organizations on advanced technology projects in entertainment and learning and coordinates the annual Learning and Entertainment Evolution Forum (LEEF) with the LTMS program. LEEF brings leading serious game and simulation designers from around the world together to showcase their work in games and simulations for learning. The CAELT and the LTMS program have also worked with the Innovation Transfer Network (ITN) to create the Serious Games and Simulations Xchange, a group of universities and businesses that will work together to increase the serious game and simulation activity in central PA. The LTMS program provides opportunities for students to explore games and simulations for learning through the LTMS 603: Engaging with Activities, Games and Simulations course as part of the Educators' Technology Clinic format and offers a concentration in game and simulation design as part of the LTMS degree.

Founded in 2001 to address Central Pennsylvania's need for increased opportunities for study leading to careers in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields, Harrisburg University is an innovative and ambitious private institution that produces graduates who provide increased competence and capacity in science and technology disciplines to Pennsylvania and the nation. Harrisburg University ensures institutional access for underrepresented students and links learning and research to practical outcomes. As a private University serving the public good, Harrisburg University remains the only STEM-focused comprehensive university located between Philadelphia and Pittsburgh.

For more information on the University's demand-driven undergraduate, graduate and certificate programs in applied science and technology fields, call 717.901.5146 or email,

Steven Infanti
AVP Communications
326 Market Street
Harrisburg, PA 17101

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