Recently, the Picatinny Arsenal STEM Outreach Office and DimensionU partnered to provide students and school districts throughout the state of New Jersey with free access to an educational video game centered on mathematics and technology.
STEM is the acronym for science, technology, engineering and math. DimensionU is an organization that brings educational video game technology to schools, classrooms and students.
The DimensionU platform, called Esports for Education, is a multiplayer game designed to help students practice and learn valuable skills by solving math problems in a competitive virtual environment.
Esports for Education uses video games that are modeled to have the look and feel of a mainstream video game but is designed to support the learning and instruction students receive from classroom teachers. It enables them to practice at current or prior grade levels in a fun and engaging way.
“When students play video games, it inspires and challenges them to do better,” said Steven Hoy, CEO, DimensionU, Inc. “Our video games help motivate and engage students to participate and relate to the instruction and the curriculum that's being delivered in the classroom.”
Picatinny Arsenal and DimensionU have partnered in promoting STEM education for over 10 years.
“This most recent year, with the pandemic, we collaborated on how to create a level of access that pulls away the barriers and the boundaries associated with working something out with a school district,” said Hoy. “School districts are in a state of flux right now. They have so many concerns with how they're going to deliver instruction and we wanted to create a way to enable easy access for students.”
Esports for Education is easily accessible through the web and on mobile devices for anyone to use the program as supporting instruction in a virtual or hybrid classroom or on their own at home. It allows users to participate together in a multiplayer game. It also promotes students staying connected with peers as they play with or against one another in game rooms.
“We really wanted to do something that would help contribute to keeping kids current and interested,” said Hoy. “We came up with the idea to allow access to our program free of charge for folks in New Jersey to sign up and practice at any grade level.”
New Jersey’s school age population – pre-kindergarten through 12th grade – is approximately 1.3 million students. DimensionU’s Esports for Education platform includes relevant curriculum for nearly 60 percent of New Jersey’s students. In addition, students from the New Jersey school districts, in grades three through 10 who sign-up for a free account, are eligible to participate in various Esports virtual competitions throughout the year.
Interested persons may visit the DimensionU website at www.dimensionu.com and click on the “NJ Free Access Enter Here” green button.
“We've made it so teachers can sign up groups of students,” said Hoy. “Instead of having to register one at a time, they can they can set up accounts for their students.”
Esports for Education also allows parents to engage with students in the multiplayer, first-person, immersive game environment.
“Parents today are very present in their children's education especially as it’s being facilitated at home, so this is a very different way for them to be involved,” said Hoy.
“The mission of the Picatinny Arsenal STEM Outreach office is to educate students, parents, and teachers regarding the viability of science, engineering and technology so that more kids become engineers and scientists and we can maintain our nation's lead in the world,” said Shahram Dabiri, Picatinny Arsenal STEM Manager.
The Picatinny Arsenal STEM Outreach office conducts outreach throughout New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania, where they encourage students to become engineers and scientists.