The Man Of The Hour
Say hello to Zoran Popovic, he is a computer scientist, a Professor, and the Director of the Center for Game Science at the University of Washington. Popovic first made news and became well-known when he created the online game Foldit.
Build New Patterns And Contribute To Science
Foldit challenges players to bend and arrange amino acids to create new shapes and intricate protein patterns in a puzzle format. To win the game players must construct better molecules by following rules that are similar to other online puzzle games. Surprisingly gamers who had no scientific background developed more complex proteins than biochemists. Scientist analysis the highest scores and test the patterns created by players to see if they can be used in reality.
For anyone who enjoys puzzles and would like to lend a helping hand to science, Foldit is certainly worth a try. Perhaps the molecule patterns you create may one day lead to the discovery of new drugs or organic materials.
Math Is Fun
Popovic is making headlines again with his new game DragonBox. This game comes in the form of an app and teaches algebra to children who are as young as six years old. How is this possible you ask? Well for younger players DragonBox begins with animal faced cards, eventuallythese cards are replaced by computational signs and numbers.
In the game players are given a box and a combination of cards, following simple rules allow players to get rid of all the useless cards. Color cards will cancel out black and white ones like positive and negative numbers in algebra. As the game goes on players will eventually be left with a box on one side of the screen and an irreducible amount of cards on the other side which is like the equivalent of solving for x. If a mistake is made or if extra time is needed on a level, players are giving additional problems.
Ninety three percent of students in grades K-12 who used the app in Washington State, successfully understood the concept of the game quickly after ninety minutes of play time and wanted to continue playing. Popovic hopes the app will help teachers adjust their lesson plan to the need of individual students. The app is now being used as the basis for an entire sixth grade math class in Seattle Washington and in Brooklyn New York.
With technology becoming an important part of our lives, apps and online games like Foldit and Dragonbox may be the way we discover new medicines and teach diffecult subjects to students in the future. These games are not only fun but they are educational.