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Melanie Stegman, Ph.D.
Director, FAS Learning Technologies
www.FASLearningTech.org
CEO, Molecular Jig Games, LLC
www.MolecularJig.com
@MelanieAnnS
Biochemist making games
Melanie Stegman, Ph.D.
I make games about the molecular world.
2D strategy game Immune Defense
3D game epic Cell Adventure game
I evaluate the effect of games on players.
What players learn
How players attitudes change
0%
10%
20%
30%
40%
1 2 3 4 5
Transmigration Female IA
Female Control
Biochemist making games
Immune Defense:
Making Proteins as Familiar as Super Heroes.
Molecular biology education must be transformed.
• We know so much, public comprehends so little, it is so important.
• Intuitive learning must preceed formal education: Grade school
students must understand molecular behavior.
• Misconceptions are hard to change, so teach young students
correctly.
Using video games to teach molecular biology.
• Providing a gut level understanding of DNA, proteins, bacteria,
viruses, and other invisible but very well defined objects is possible
with video games.
• Evaluation of learning with Immune Attack
• Design of Immune Defense
Immune Defense:
Making Proteins as Familiar as Super Heroes.
Molecular biology education must be transformed.
• We know so much, public comprehends so little, it is so important.
• Intuitive learning must preceed formal education: Grade school
students must understand molecular behavior.
• Misconceptions are hard to change, so teach young students
correctly.
Using video games to teach molecular biology.
• Providing a gut level understanding of DNA, proteins, bacteria,
viruses, and other invisible but very well defined objects is possible
with video games.
• Evaluation of learning with Immune Attack
• Design of Immune Defense
Healthcare
Environment
Genetically Modified Food
AIDS
Teenage pregnancy
Mental Health
Molecular Biology is relevant to many issues...
Healthcare Policy
Environment Policy
Genetically Modified Food Policy
AIDS Policy
Teenage pregnancy Policy
Mental Health Policy
Molecular Biology is relevant to many issues...
that the average American votes on!

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CRI - Teaching Through Research - Melanie Stegman - Immune Defense

  • 1. Melanie Stegman, Ph.D. Director, FAS Learning Technologies www.FASLearningTech.org CEO, Molecular Jig Games, LLC www.MolecularJig.com @MelanieAnnS Biochemist making games
  • 2. Melanie Stegman, Ph.D. I make games about the molecular world. 2D strategy game Immune Defense 3D game epic Cell Adventure game I evaluate the effect of games on players. What players learn How players attitudes change 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 1 2 3 4 5 Transmigration Female IA Female Control Biochemist making games
  • 3. Immune Defense: Making Proteins as Familiar as Super Heroes. Molecular biology education must be transformed. • We know so much, public comprehends so little, it is so important. • Intuitive learning must preceed formal education: Grade school students must understand molecular behavior. • Misconceptions are hard to change, so teach young students correctly. Using video games to teach molecular biology. • Providing a gut level understanding of DNA, proteins, bacteria, viruses, and other invisible but very well defined objects is possible with video games. • Evaluation of learning with Immune Attack • Design of Immune Defense
  • 4. Immune Defense: Making Proteins as Familiar as Super Heroes. Molecular biology education must be transformed. • We know so much, public comprehends so little, it is so important. • Intuitive learning must preceed formal education: Grade school students must understand molecular behavior. • Misconceptions are hard to change, so teach young students correctly. Using video games to teach molecular biology. • Providing a gut level understanding of DNA, proteins, bacteria, viruses, and other invisible but very well defined objects is possible with video games. • Evaluation of learning with Immune Attack • Design of Immune Defense
  • 5. Healthcare Environment Genetically Modified Food AIDS Teenage pregnancy Mental Health Molecular Biology is relevant to many issues...
  • 6. Healthcare Policy Environment Policy Genetically Modified Food Policy AIDS Policy Teenage pregnancy Policy Mental Health Policy Molecular Biology is relevant to many issues... that the average American votes on!
  • 7. We know more about molecular science every day. We can’t just teach the same stuff in a fancy way, we need to teach about vast, new worlds of molecular science. We know more about Molecules nowadays
  • 8. There is more to learn How much more?
  • 9. How do you imagine your cells? The Machinery of Life David Goodsell, Ph.D. Scripps Research Institute
  • 10. How much do we know? We know where your salt molecules are. The Machinery of Life David Goodsell, Ph.D. Cytoplasmic protein mRNA Ribosome Water ATP Sodium ion
  • 11. Why games? Visuals are effective at teaching. Stories are effective at teaching. Familiarity makes us confident. Who’s the best football team? People read up on this and debate the data! How do vaccines work? Who is reading this and debating the data now? Movies/videos tell stories and make us feel familiar with molecules Simulations show us great detail and let us manipulate: making things concrete, making things part of our own experience. Games, however, have all this plus: MOTIVATION, AGENCY and REPLAYABILITY
  • 12. Games MOTIVATION …as part of the story, to save the princess, etc. …to solve the next just-out-of-reach problem: to stay in FLOW. AGENCY …games give the player a way to interact with the environment …a gun, a tractor beam, a purchase panel, a scanner: the player knows what tools are at her disposal in each new situation. REPLAYABILITY …we want to play the game again if we get a new experience: different places to explore, higher score, etc. … leading to “more time on task.”
  • 14. Keep learning associated with winning. MOTIVATION How to motivate players to learn to move the cell by putting ligands onto the right receptors. What didn’t work: A tutorial that introduced terms and objects before game started. Learning the science facts outside of game play was not engaging. What did work: Keep learning associated with winning. First several levels are “tutorial like” levels. Show player the creepy yucky E. coli. Tell them the cell will eat the E coli. Tell player to move the cell with ligands. Telling player to “Grab the ligand” when there is only 1 “grabable” object on screen makes the task just-out-of-reach. Reward: seeing destruction of creepy E. coli that you caused!
  • 15. Tutorial did not engage players in the game.
  • 16. Keep learning associated with winning. MOTIVATION How to motivate players to learn to move the cell by putting ligands onto the right receptors. What didn’t work: A tutorial that introduced terms and objects before game started. Learning the science facts outside of game play was not engaging. What did work: Keep learning associated with winning. First several levels are “tutorial like” levels. Show player the creepy yucky E. coli. Tell them the cell will eat the E coli. Tell player to move the cell with ligands. Telling player to “Grab the ligand” when there is only 1 grabable object on screen makes the task just-out-of-reach. Reward: seeing destruction of creepy E. coli that you caused!
  • 17. Keeping the learning associated with winning.
  • 18. Making Immune Defense AGENCY How to make players feel like they are in control? We created simple ways of interacting that can be used in many situations. Buying cells, changing receptors and moving molecules. Moving Molecules is a simple yet powerful game mechanism. Like shooting, it is easy to do and can have many different effects. We created a powerful and smart Microbot that is your ally and database and you are its pilot. We gave the player the ability to scan objects which lets them ask for info when they want it. The info needed to win = the science.
  • 19. Microbot C85 is a cool helpful little drone-bot. (only 25 microns wide) projects a GUI onto our view screen so we can pilot better Microbot gives us a ceiling and a dashboard to make us feel like we are in the body with the bot! Ceiling Dashboard
  • 20. cells  bacteria Microbot C85 is a microscope, just like a regular light microscope. We look through Microbot C85’s camera and we see things that anyone can see through a light microscope. In the cell we can see the nucleus and some vesicles. The nuclear shape tells us this is a Neutrophil. The vesicle that looks like a kidney bean is the “Poison Pod” and the poison pod is where bacteria are destroyed. Being able to identify the cells and to know when the bacteria is destroyed is important to the player.
  • 21. This is a Neutro-phil chasing a bacterium on a microscope slide under a light microscope. Neutrophil is a white blood cell, eater class. “Eater cell” in Greek means Phagocyte The bacterium is moving randomly, just floating in the blood. There are complement proteins on the slide (It is a whole blood prep) The complement proteins stick to the bacteria and break off to form a cloud of activated (purple) complement around the bacteria on the slide. Follow up questions: Can we see the complement proteins? Can we see the complement receptor? Why is there still a gradient of complement for the Neutrophil to follow on the slide, why aren’t the complement proteins evenly distributed? http://biochemweb.org/neutrophil.shtml Watch the video here!
  • 22.  NanoRadar Portal Shows bacterium surface Inflammation meter    Center PanelPurchase Find everything you can buy here Inflammation Bar  NanoRadar shows a Purple C protein Our GUI
  • 23. Molecules Receptors are proteins on the surface of our white blood cells that change cell behaviors. Ligands are molecules that are floating around. Surface molecules are on the surface of bacteria and cells but they don’t change behavior. Purple C is a protein ligand that binds to the Purple C receptor on cells. The purple C receptor becomes active because of binding its ligand and causes the cell to move forward. LPS is a surface molecule on bacteria. LPS is not a protein, it is a sugar/fat combination, so we call it a molecule. This LPS molecule is the ligand for the LPS receptor. So ligands do not always float around. Vocabulary can keep people from learning molecular biology. But Immune Defense players will learn these terms: Proteins Molecules Receptors Ligands Sugars Fats
  • 24. Making Immune Defense AGENCY vs. misconceptions How to make players feel like they are in control… …When the molecular world actually functions just fine without them??? Will we give players the wrong idea about white blood cells? Misconceptions. How to avoid them? Start with a good mechanism and Make a list of misconceptions you could be introducing. Test game repeatedly with target audience Ask them open ended questions during and after playing. Other tools: Follow up lecture in class Microbot’s onboard database Many misconceptions abound. All models simplify
  • 25. Making Immune Defense REPLAYABILITY Immune Defense builds in complexity and gives the player many fun decisions to make. Replayability. 90% of players 13+ can beat each level on the first try. Immune Defense levels are also designed so that 90% of player will get a higher score the second and third times they play and we designed several levels to have tricks, strategies, that if payers figure out and use will allow them to get the max score in the level. Score is designed to encourage less use of Microbot and also to minimize inflammation. Killing pathogens faster, killing the pathogens that cause the most inflammation first, activating cells only sparingly and sending the least powerful cell that is still able to kill each pathogen and saving powerful cells (with high inflammation rates) after
  • 27. Eaters Neutrophil Macrophage Dendritic Cell Killers Natural Killer Cells Markers B-Cells make Antibodies = proteins White Blood cell groups “Eater cell” in Greek means Phagocyte Some T Cells are killers, too. They are called “Killer T-Cells”
  • 28. http://cmgm.stanford.edu/theriot/lifehistory.mov Listeria inside a cell http://cmgm.stanford.edu/theriot/movies.htm#Hits More movies and their explanations here.
  • 29. Beta release April 24 Public final release July 2014 Evaluating in schools Spring 2014 Collaborators: Maine International Center for Digital Learning Graham Johnson, Scripps Kenneth Coulter, Ion Medical Designs Howard Young, NCI Caroline Pinkard, David Silvernail Art and game programming Cosmocyte, LLC. Development Funding: (US) National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID). Evaluation Funding: (US) Entertainment Software Association Foundation (ESAF) Melanie Stegman @MelanieAnnS
  • 30. ScienceGameCenter.org Find games, send us your games, review games, find new audiences….
  • 31. Immune Defense Learning Objectives Randomness of molecular diffusion Specificity of interactions between protein signals and protein receptors Low and high affinity interactions are different Cells have specific functions because of their unique complement of proteins Cells can signal to each other Cells respond to their environment if they have the correct receptors Regulating which proteins you have on hand is important for cell function Pathogens have evolved to thwart our immune system
  • 32. Immune Defense Learning Objectives Random molecular diffusion drives predictable cellular behavior Player can spend Energy to change the location of molecules, and dragging molecules closer to cells can help move them to the pathogens faster. Player is rewarded for conserving their Energy by our scoring system: 1) Energy required to buy new cells and 2) remaining Energy is multiplied by score at end of level Molecules are truly moving randomly, and trying to catch them makes that clear, Cells sometimes move away from pathogens Players learn Cells move eventually to the Pathogen Random motion of particles that begins at a source causes a gradient.
  • 33. Immune Defense Learning Objectives Specificity of interactions between ligands and protein receptors Low and high affinity interactions are different Player is racing against an Inflammation Clock, and so is under pressure to reach Pathogens quickly. Player can purchase receptors that have higher affinity for the cytokine molecules, thus moving forward faster. NK Cells and Leukocytes will find target cells by binding with more than one receptor, and the first receptor may let go before the second binds… which means the player is directly thwarted by the “off-rate.”
  • 34. Immune Defense Learning Objectives Cells have specific functions because of their unique complement of proteins Cells can signal to each other Cells respond to environment if they have the correct receptors Regulating proteins expression is important for cell function Players purchase the correct cell for the various Pathogen types. Players regulate which proteins are on the cell surface. Players can avoid getting infected by down regulating the pathogen binding receptors and can activate their cells by upregulating their activation signal receiving receptors.
  • 35. Immune Defense Learning Objectives Pathogens have evolved to thwart our immune system Neutrophils follow 4 steps to Detect, Bind, Eat and Kill pathogens. Pathogens accidently evolve to avoid these 4 steps and then theyare harder to kill. This type of game play matching with real biology works nicely, even beyond immunology!