NASA Learning Technologies' Project Office has announced it is evaluating the development of an educational MMO game to deliver NASA-relevant content in the areas of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.
Citing growing interest in "persistent immersive synthetic environments" such as MMOs and social virtual worlds as education and training tools, NASA believes virtual worlds with scientifically accurate simulations could enable learners to work with chemical reactions in living cells, practice operating and repairing expensive equipment, and experience microgravity, gaining understanding they can then transfer to practical problems.
NASA says the project it's developing will function as a laboratory-like online environment to support education as a visualization tool and collaborative workplace. At the same time, it says it aims to draw users into a challenging gameplay experience.
Says NASA in its formal RFP
, "MMOs help players develop and exercise a skill set closely matching the thinking, planning, learning, and technical skills increasingly in demand by employers today. These skills include strategic thinking, interpretative analysis, problem solving, plan formulation and execution, team-building and collaboration, and adaptation to rapid change."