FB Science Games

| May 19, 2010

Farmville has now surpassed 80 Million monthly active users! That means that 1.2% of the WORLD’s population is playing this game. This is a strong statement toward the popularity and power of social networks. Even more when Zynga, farmville creators, launched a special fund raising campaign for Earth Quake relief in Haiti, Farmville gamers donated more than $1 million by buying virtual gifts, again proving just what kind of impact this form of media can have.
So how can we harness this kind of media for education and learning?

Some people think yes, and competitions such as Hidden Agenda’s have been actively recruiting people who see social network sites as potential learning spaces. Deep Dig is one example of a game that has been created on facebook, with the agenda of learning earth science.

Jeannie and I have been discussing what kinds of applications Edlab can be create specifically for learning that can harness the capabilities of social networks. One the most exciting pieces would be to use the platform similarly to the goals of the Hidden Agenda’s work, for creating implicit science learning experiences that are entertaining and in which the users choose to adopt. Our application aims to create an informal science experience where students can interact with locally inspired problems for fun, and include their friends on their network.
So we are proposing a science application to be developed on facebook. Still up in the air on the name, Urbanity (or something way better!) would be an informal science application that harnesses user statistics of social networks and allows users to interact with science concepts and processes seamlessly. It would be a locally inspired application about New York City and the urban issues that propel and affect it. It would have a theme of sustainability and understanding of the consequences that decisions cause. It will focus on the experimental process and allow users to fail often in a virtual space to gain more information and move forward. The application would revolve around specific challenges that one must solve and in the midst of solving these problems the user would gain points by sharing the information that they are using to solve the problem they are working on.