- Category: Press Releases
- Published on Tuesday, 20 July 2010 02:05
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Field Trials of Mine Risk Education Game for the $100 Laptop
PHNOM PENH, Cambodia (June 27, 2010) - The Golden West Humanitarian Foundation hosted researcher Dr. Frank Biocca from the Michigan State University M.I.N.D. Lab in support of field trials of the newly developed mine risk education (MRE) game designed for the One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) platform. Created to teach children the indicators of mine and unexploded ordnance (UXO) contamination through interactive play, this “serious” game signals the next evolution in mine risk education.
In gameplay, children must find food for their pet dog while navigating potential dangers in the environment. Visual cues of mine and UXO contamination exist within the game that mimic those found in real life. As children begin to learn the indicators that danger is near, they are able to find food faster, causing their pet to grow as they progress through levels. When a mistake is made, an explosion startles the pet dog and a local mine specialist appears to explain what happened and how to avoid making the same mistake in the future.
The M.I.N.D. Lab was able to develop the game thanks to a grant from the US Department of State. Using substantial expertise in the area of mine risk education, the Golden West Humanitarian Foundation has supported the game’s development in an advisory role, as well as providing the media support required to accurately represent the field environment.
The OLPC platform was designed to be distributed to children in developing nations. Since many developing nations are also post-conflict zones, the inclusion of a game designed to teach safe behaviors around mine and unexploded ordnance contamination is a logical addition to the platform. To ensure that the diverse range of potential recipient populations can be served, the game was designed to allow for quick and inexpensive adaptation to regional differences in threat indicators, languages and cultures.
In testing, the game was presented to approximately 20 children in a monitored environment over the course of two iterations. The first round took place at the Golden West Humanitarian Foundation offices in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, where children from a neighboring school volunteered to be the first to get their hands on this exciting new game. Day two brought the research team to the Save Poor Children in Asia Orphanage, located in a rural suburb of Phnom Penh, where a diverse group of young people from provinces throughout Cambodia were able to participate. The testing was a big success and the data is now back at the M.I.N.D. Lab in Michigan for analysis.
Allen Tan, General Manager (Southeast Asia)