For years we’ve been telling kids to sit still and pay attention. That’s all wrong.
Researchers finding movement can help learning.
Local network affiliate covers EGL Games at Arizona State University.
Students aren’t alone in taking advantage of entrepreneurial funding opportunities at ASU. Students, faculty, staff and alumni can partner together on early-stage ventures through initiatives like the ASU Obesity Solutions Funding Challenge. The challenge, which debuted in 2013, brought together transdisciplinary teams to tackle the obesity problem from an entrepreneurial perspective.
The grand prize winner — Learning Sciences Institute Associate Research Professor Mina Johnson-Glenberg and graduate students Hue Henry, Ken Koontz, and Chris Dean — received $12,000 to develop an educational game that uses body gestures for learning. Alien Health Game, the first in what Johnson-Glenberg hopes will be a suite of products from her company, Embodied Games for Learning LLC, teaches elementary-school children about nutrition and “gets them up out of their seats while learning,” she explains.
The challenge funding, part of a $10-million donation to ASU from the Virginia G. Piper Trust, also helped three additional winning teams further their obesity fighting solutions. For Johnson-Glenberg, the cash helped to flesh out the prototype for Alien Health and prompted her to apply for a $2 million grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH). “The Obesity Solutions Challenge money has been a springboard that will hopefully help me get the NIH grant and be able to commercialize this application,” says Johnson-Glenberg, who calls the atmosphere for would-be entrepreneurs at ASU “far more supportive than at other major universities.”
ASU also brings faculty and staff technologies to the marketplace through Arizona Science and Technology Enterprises (AzTE), the university’s exclusive intellectual property management and technology transfer organization.
“We assist faculty innovators with patent protection;finding potential partners, investors, and licensing opportunities; and with seed funding to help them further develop their ventures,” explains Augustine Cheng, AzTE’s CEO and chief legal officer. Through the ASU Catalyst Fund (a partnership between the university and the ASU Research Park), AzTE loans seed money to high-potential ASU ventures; the loans are paid back to the fund through revenue dollars if the technology is successfully commercialized — creating an “evergreen” fund for technology transfer.
Over the last 10 years, AzTE has helped launch 70 spinout companies based on ASU intellectual property. Collectively, start-up companies that have licensed ASU intellectual property (or their sublicensees) have raised close to $400 million through various funding sources.
In fiscal year 2013, venture funding for companies licensing ASU intellectual property totaled $68 million. Standouts include $28 million raised by algae-based company Heliae, a 2008 ASU spinout based in Gilbert that develops nutraceutical and personal care products; and Chandler-based health diagnostics company HealthTell, founded by Stephen Johnston, director of the Center for Innovations in Medicine at the ASU Biodesign Institute, which received $4 million to help commercialize a new test for lung, breast, prostate, and colorectal cancer.
“These funding success stories are testimony to the fact ASU faculty are producing high-quality research capable of attracting private funding,” Cheng notes.
ASU's Embodied Games for Learning Lab marries digital technology with physical movement to create innovative, mixed-reality games that help middle school students learn STEM concepts. (video included)
Mina Johnson-Glenberg the Chief Learning Officer at SmallLab Learning talks with Tech Cocktail about their startup venture in the education space. The interview took place at ASU Venture Catalyst at ASU Skysong during Techiepalooza June 7, 2012.
Textbooks and study guides may fall by the wayside as interactive learning games are starting to become more popular and more effective.
Researchers at Arizona State University are using movement in video games to help reinforce their educational outcomes.
America is lagging behind other countries in producing scientists, technologists and engineers. Half of the U.S. workforce - the female half - is not being recruited and trained in a manner that appeals to and retains them (only 9% of these jobs are held by women). More disturbing is the fact that minority women make up a far smaller portion of the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) workforce. To combat this trend, on April 1, 2015, two dozen leaders from various stakeholder communities met at the Arizona State University (ASU) townhouse in Washington DC to network and plan future events aimed at encouraging and sustaining under-represented girls in science. The event was co-sponsored by Dr. Kimberly Scott, Director of The Center for Gender Equity in Science and Technology (CGEST) and Dr. Mina C. Johnson, Director of the Embodied Games lab. Dr. Scott’s CGEST center is housed at The School of Social Transformation. Its mission is to explore, identify, and create innovative scholarship regarding under-represented girls in STEM. CGEST is a unique research unit that cultivates a diverse and interdisciplinary community of scholars, students, policymakers and practitioners to establish best practices for culturally responsive programs for girls of color. Dr. Johnson is on the Board of Advisors.
The Embodied Games lab is housed in ASU’s Department of Psychology and also at Radboud University, Nijmegen. The Embodied Games team is dedicated to creating Web-based videogames and assessment tools that instruct in science content that is accessible to all. The content emphasizes inclusivity for women and for students of color. The primarily gesture-based games cover a range of science topics from nutrition to physics - from grades 4 through 16
The lively networking event attracted a broad array of leaders from the White Office of Science and Technology Policy, the American Association of University Women (AAUW), the U.S. Department of Education, the National Science Foundation (NSF), George Mason and Hofstra Universities, and the Multicultural Media Telecom and Internet Council - among others. Dr. Scott opened the event and then a short presentation was made by Dr. Johnson. Attendees were encouraged to download several of the free, award-winning games from the ASU spinout company website, e.g., Mitey's Electric Field (designed to instruct in attraction and repulsion of atoms)
For more information or a copy of the slide presentation please contact Inquiry@embodied-games.com.