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NEWS RELEASES

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
9 June 2005

For further information:
Sheila Hoffmeyer or Brian Ban
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Using the Next Generation of Gaming & Computer Graphics to Promote Education & Physical Activity in Children



(Chicago, IL) - ACM SIGGRAPH announced the content of the Educators Program for SIGGRAPH 2005, the 32nd International Conference on Computer Graphics and Interactive Techniques, being held 31 July to 4 August, at the Los Angeles Convention Center.

Content explores the future of teaching and learning: virtual instructors, toys as teaching tools, individual versus community learning, and how computers can make education more engaging. In addition, there is added focus to using computer graphics and gaming to help promote education and physical activity in youth.

"Educational technology is growing at an astounding rate. This year we are able to showcase some of the first interactive programs developed for the new education environment," stated Patricia Beckman-Wells, SIGGRAPH 2005 Educators Program Chair from Bunsella Films. "We have several avatar teachers and experiments in virtual tutors to showcase. A large exhibit of exercise games built for the younger student population to discourage the current obesity problem in K-12 schools also is being presented. Our goal is to showcase the 'wonder factor' of current education products and encourage an environment of self-directed learning."

A Few Highlights From the SIGGRAPH 2005 Educators Program



Fake Fun: Transforming the Challenges of Learning Into Play


Stephen L. Guynup, University of Baltimore
Jim Demmers, Georgia Institute of Technology Research Institute
In the spring of 2004, a small first-person shooter game engine was adapted as the basis for a non-violent educational game titled "Go Fish." Produced within the Georgia Tech Research Institute, the project was surprisingly modest, but the insight it generated was remarkable. Structural differences between play and education were exposed. Resolving these differences, completing the project, and making sure that it was fun and educational required merging educational content into individual acts of play. The result was an attempt to solve the problem of "Fake Fun": the lack of enjoyment found in educational games. Bypassing the finer points of the narratology vs. ludology debate and remaining within conservative educational boundaries, this discussion will focus on how to provide simple, practical advice for those seeking to transform educational challenges into challenges of play.

Lessons Learned From Games for Education


W. Lewis Johnson, University of Southern California
Idit Caperton, MaMaMedia, Inc.
Carrie Heeter, Michigan State University
Yasmin Kafai, University of California, Los Angeles
Brian Slator, North Dakota State University
There is increasing interest in the possibility that good game design can help promote learner states that are conducive to learning. However, we are only beginning to understand what features of games make them educationally effective. This panel will bring together researchers who are experienced in creating educational games and studying their effects on learning to address key questions:
  • What features of games are most important for promoting learning?
  • How do non-game learning activities and learning aids change when game-based activities are introduced?
  • How can they best be integrated?
  • How does game-based learning transfer to the real world?
New at SIGGRAPH 2005: The Incubator, an incredible demo space for interactive educational products that are available today or may be available in the future. One highlight is described below:

Getting School Kids Moving: Innovative Technology and PE4life


Craig Jonas, Phil Lawler, Ken Reed, PE4life
Many people complain about the current generation of children spending too much time playing video games. If you include computers, television, video games, and cell phones, the average child spends 5.5 hours with these distractions on a given day. Technology is often cast as the leading culprit in the current inactivity and obesity crisis, but we are not going to convince the "game generation" to ignore their games. Interactive video games and corresponding technologies can inspire a new breed of activity as demonstrated in live play in this interactive Incubator area.

Electronic Games: 2D or not 2D?


Tina Ziemek, Colorado School of Mines
Should graphics in educational electronic games be 2D or 3D? This research investigates whether the use of 2D and 3D graphics in computer and video games affects how attracted a male is to playing an electronic game versus how attracted a female is. Published research indicates males outperform women in 3D virtual environments; a female's inherent traits could have significant influence on how attracted she is to an electronic game.

Beyond Virtual Tutors: Semi-Autonomous Characters as Learning Companions


Ulrike Spierling
Fachhochschule Erfurt, University of Applied Sciences
This presentation will consider the new technical possibilities of virtual interoperable characters as learning companions. Following a brief summary of state-of-the-art interactive storytelling issues that must be considered in the creative process, the presentation will show first experiences from two projects with different approaches that employ playful text-based conversations with graphical animated bots. The results lead to the surprising conclusion that the most significant learning process seemed to be achieved by active authors of the conversational dialogues. Beyond an instructive "virtual tutor" (primarily misunderstood as replacing a human educator), different metaphors are suggested that change some expectations for learning with virtual characters. As a result, learners will be viewed as authors who create and shape their own virtual companions.

Research and Development of K-12 Learning Games Via the Undergraduate Student


Jana Whittington, K. James Nankivell, Purdue University Calumet
There is an increasing amount of specific research on children's interactive learning games and the fascination of video games. "The fact that children spend considerable amounts of time playing computer games is a phenomenon that has not gone unnoticed by educators" [Robertson and Good 2005]. This session will explore how an undergraduate computer graphics program can take advantage of current research while considering the K-12 curricula.

The SIGGRAPH 2005 Educators Program opens 3 August at 8 am and closes 4 August at 5:30 pm.

The complete list of Educators Program sessions

SIGGRAPH 2005 will bring nearly 30,000 computer graphics and interactive technology professionals from six continents to Los Angeles for the week-long conference, 31 July-4August. A comprehensive technical program and special events focusing on research, art, animation, games, interactivity, and the web are planned. SIGGRAPH 2005 includes a three-day exhibition of products and services for the computer graphics and interactive marketplace from 2-4 August 2005.

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ACM SIGGRAPH, the leading professional society for computer graphics and interactive techniques, sponsors SIGGRAPH 2005.
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