By Kathleen Edwards, AMRDEC Public AffairsJanuary 19, 2017
REDSTONE ARSENAL, Ala. -- Software Engineering Directorate's Army Game Studio developed an educational app, which won three awards at the annual Interservice/Industry Training, Simulation and Education Conference in Orlando, Fla recently. STARS: Elements was a triple winner of Best Mobile game, Students' Choice and the prestigious People's Choice Award chosen by attendees at I/ITSEC.
"It was great for the Army Game Studio because getting the Student's Choice Award means Army STARS is really connecting with the target audience," said Frank Blackwell, program manager, Army Game Studio.
The Army Game Studio, in collaboration with U.S. Army Science, Technology, Engineering and Math experts and educators, developed the innovative app for high school chemistry teachers to help their students learn and visualize the foundations of chemistry. STARS: Elements features visual learning tools that lets students explore the periodic table, elements and atomic structure. Through interactive models, games and challenges, students get virtually hands on with elements and atoms and are able to learn information in a unique and entertaining way.
According to iitsec.org, "I/ITSEC is the world's largest modeling, simulation and training conference. It consists of peer-reviewed paper presentations, tutorials, special events, professional workshops, a commercial exhibit hall, STEM events for teachers and secondary students and the Serious Games Showcase & Challenge."
"SGS&C began when leaders felt a strong need to stimulate industry creativity and generate institutional interest toward the use of digital game technology and approaches for training and education," stated SGS&C website.
To qualify for SGS&C, entries were required to have clearly defined, measurable learning objectives, provide players with a clearly identified challenge/problem, make use of game play dynamics and/or gaming technology and provide players with positive/negative feedback with respect to progress toward the game's challenge and achievement of learning objectives.
After the submission period closed, the challenge entered the evaluation period where a panel of evaluators determined the winners of the awards in each category. Middle and high school students from various school systems played and evaluated select games to collectively select the winner of the Students' Choice Award. Finalists were provided free entry to the conference as well as space in a booth to demonstrate their game to a worldwide training, simulation and education audience.
"To be the first game ever to win three awards at the I/ITSEC Serious Games Showcase and Challenge was very rewarding. Developing a game that is both educational and fun is pretty difficult so winning the awards proved to us that industry and students appreciate our work," said Marsha Berry, deputy director, Army Game Studio.
One of AMRDEC's three main priorities is to recruit, develop and retain experienced workforce to enable AMRDEC to continue to provide our core technical capabilities for the foreseeable future. "We created U.S. Army STARS: Elements because STEM careers are becoming increasingly vital to the success of our nation in both civilian and military sectors," said Russell Patishnock, U.S. Army marketing strategist. "This valuable learning game helps us share Army technology for free with students and teachers to aid in STEM education."
The U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Research, Development, and Engineering Center is part of the U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command, which has the mission to provide innovative research, development and engineering to produce capabilities that provide decisive overmatch to the Army against the complexities of the current and future operating environments in support of the Joint warfighter and the nation. RDECOM is a major subordinate command of the U.S. Army Materiel Command.