DIP: Interaction Research in Complex Informal Learning Environments

PIs: Stephen Uzzo, Marc Levy, Jan Plass, Eric Siegel, Margaret Honey
New York Hall of Science
Award Details

This project brings together an interdisciplinary team of learning science researchers, game designers, game theory researchers, and environmental scientists to engage diverse audiences in the science of sustainability and sustainable development. Taking its inspiration from Buckminster Fuller’s “World Game” – conceived nearly fifty years ago as a tool to facilitate a comprehensive, participatory approach to addressing the problems of the world – the team is developing, testing, and delivering a real-time, collaborative environment using a distributed, technology-enhanced, game-based architecture to enable groups of individuals to explore the interconnected nature of the economic, social and environmental factors that influence sustainability. The intellectual merit of the project has two key dimensions. First, by making visualizations of scientific data available in public spaces for groups of informal learners, the investigators seek to understand the nature of the resulting participatory engagement with data, giving particular attention to discovering design principles that influence the effectiveness of the visualizations. Second, the investigators are creating innovative interfaces that make computers “invisible” and provide alternative tactile, social, and spatially distributed ways to interact with the underlying data, and then studying how such interfaces promote generative and cooperative thinking about sustainability issues. The project is exercising its broader impacts through its contribution to the field’s general understanding of the ways in which social, highly participatory environments support deeper and more reflective learning about complex multivariate data. Moreover, the research team is advancing the public understanding of science in general, and sustainability and environmental science in particular.

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