Serious games to enable research and education in environmental decision making
This CI group will contribute to the development, testing, and evaluation of serious games as a tool to enhance environmental and STEM education and understand factors influencing environmental decision making. By integrating cyber-infrastructure, earth systems science, and social science with game play, modern serious games can become a particularly powerful tool for communicating concepts in environmental sustainability. Ideas that are otherwise difficult to understand because they are dependent on interactions between coupled human and natural systems, such as how risks to our water supplies are affected by the need to ensure food security, can be understood implicitly by monitoring the effect of agricultural production decisions on economic and environmental metrics as a serious game is played. This group will research the human and natural factors that affect watersheds and should be included within the framework of serious games that are meant to teach about sustainability. We will test and evaluate how existing serious (e.g., River City) and non-serious (e.g., Farmville) games represent environmental systems and what features of these games are attractive to players. Finally, we will contribute to the development of new web-based serious games that can be used at Clemson and beyond for environmental education and research. Students interested in this project should expect to enroll for a minimum of 2 semesters.