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Research Project

Climate Games: Transforming Middle School STEM Education through Transmedia Play

2021 – 2022

Illustration by Sarah Gavagan, courtesy of the Fourcast Lab

Key Question

Project Summary

This project created and evaluated an “Alternate Reality Game” that engaged seventh-grade students from three Chicago schools in a curriculum about climate change and environmental science.

Research Team

Heidi Coleman

Heidi Coleman

Director of Undergraduate Studies and Performance Programs, Theater and Performance Studies; Founder/Director, Chicago Performance Lab

University of Chicago

Heidi Coleman is the Director of Undergraduate Studies and Performance Programs for Theater and Performance Studies at the University of Chicago, as well and the Founder/Director of Chicago Performance Lab. She has worked professionally as a director and dramaturg in New York City and San...

Marc Downie

Marc Downie

Lecturer in the Department of Cinema and Media Studies, Media Arts and Design, and the College

University of Chicago

Marc Downie is a Scottish-born digital artist. His pioneering approach to digital art combines three signature elements: non-photorealistic computational imagery; the incorporation of body movement by motion-capture and other means; and the autonomy of artworks directed by artificial...

Patrick Jagoda

Patrick Jagoda

Professor of English and Cinema and Media Studies; Co-founder, Game Changer Chicago Design Lab and Transmedia Story Lab; Faculty Director, Weston Game Lab

University of Chicago

Patrick Jagoda specializes in media theory, game studies and design, science studies, and twentieth and twenty-first century American literature and culture. He is the co-founder of the Game Changer Chicago Design Lab and the Transmedia Story Lab, faculty director of the Weston Game Lab and the...

Ben Kolak

Ben Kolak

Founder, Truth and Documentary; Independent Filmmaker and Cinematographer

Ben Kolak is a documentary cinematographer and director whose first feature, Scrappers, made critic Roger Ebert’s list of the top documentaries for 2010. His other cinematography credits include both seasons of the Netflix series Ugly Delicious, the PBS web series Central...

Kristen Schilt

Kristen Schilt

Associate Professor; Director of the Center for the Study of Gender and Sexuality

University of Chicago

Kristen Schilt's research interests center on sociology of gender and sexualities, the sociology of culture, and the sociology of work and occupations. A central focus of her work is finding new ways to make visible the taken-for-granted cultural assumptions about gender and sexuality that serve...

Ashlyn Sparrow

Ashlyn Sparrow

Learning Technology Director and Lead Game Designer; Creative Director, Resilient Games Studio

Game Changer Chicago Design Lab

Ashlyn Sparrow is the Learning Technology Director and Lead Game Designer at the University of Chicago’s Game Changer Chicago Design Lab and Creative Director at Resilient Games Studio. She has worked on serious board, card, and digital games, and public health apps. She works closely with...

Sandor Weisz

Sandor Weisz

Commissioner, Puzzle Designer

The Mystery League

Sandor Weisz is the commissioner of the Mystery League, which produces remote team-building games as well as live, tabletop escape games. He has built puzzles for Google, the Field Museum, Alinea, Field Notes, the House Theatre of Chicago, the Art Institute of Chicago, and others. Weisz teaches...

Project Narrative

Reading List

David Archer

The Long Thaw: How Humans Are Changing the Next 100,000 Years of Earth’s Climate Princeton University Press (2016) Read

Bonsignore, Elizabeth, D. Hansen, K. Kraus, and M. Ruppel

“Alternate Reality Games as Platforms for Practicing 21st-Century Literacies” International Journal of Learning and Media 4 (1): 25-54 (2012) Read

Chess, Shira and Paul Booth P.

"Lessons Down a Rabbit Hole: Alternate Reality Gaming in the Classroom" New Media & Society: 1–16 (2013) Read

Garcia, Antero and Greg Niemeyer (eds.)

Alternate Reality Games and the Cusp of Digital Gameplay Bloomsbury Academic (2018) Read

Hainey, Thomas, Thomas Connolly, Mark Stansfield, and Liz Boyle

ARGuing for Multilingual Motivation in Web 2.0 Handbook of Research on Improving Learning and Motivation through Educational Games (2011) Read

Jagoda, Patrick

Experimental Games: Critique, Play, and Design in the Age of Gamification University of Chicago Press (2020) Read

Jagoda, Patrick, M. Gilliam, P. McDonald, and C. Russell

"Worlding Through Play: Alternate Reality Games, Large-Scale Learning, and The Source" American Journal of Play (2015) Read

McGonigal, Jane

Reality Is Broken: Why Games Make Us Better and How They Can Change the World Penguin Press (2011) Read

Montola M., Stenros J. and Wærn A.

Pervasive Games: Theory and Design Elsevier/Morgan Kaufmann Press (2009) Read

Ratto, Matt

“Critical Making: Conceptual and Material Studies in Technology and Social Life” The Information Society 27: 252–60 (2011) Read

Stokes B., Watson J., Fullerton T. et al.

"A Reality Game to Cross Disciplines: Fostering Networks and Collaboration" Proceedings of DiGRA 2013: DeFragging Game Studies. Atlanta, GA, 26-29 August 2013, 1–17. Read

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