Racing Academy: Scientific Enquiry Through Gaming

The use of gaming technology to facilitate enquiry based learning in science is increasing in popularity. Research has shown that its use can help develop critical thinking and problem solving skills in young people - important skills for future generations of scientists and engineers. Racing Academy is one such tool being used in Irish and UK schools. It's a racing video-game built on an advanced physics simulation engine "intended to support an online community of learners’ increased familiarity with engineering concepts, through racing and engineering realistic virtual models of cars". The use of the web means collaborators need not be in the same school, let alone country. To date, the games developers (FutureLabsLateral Visions) have produced a prototype, which has been trialled with older teenagers, and now feel there is scope for it to become a multi-generational learning environment.

The students use the game to design, build and maintain their cars and race them using realistic driving simulations. They must then monitor and analyse their performance using data from a variety of telemetry outputs, competing as teams within a virtual community of engineers and drivers. The gaming "engine" allows users to manipulate over 1,000 parameters on their vehicles. Students have to build and maintain their vehicles in order to enter and compete in races.

Now Irish teachers can get access to this wonderful technology. Blackrock Education Centre will host a workshop next week (Wednesday March 7th @ 7pm) on using Racing Academy as a tool for enquiry-based learning. Attendees will be given access to the programme for their students. Places are limited to 20 but spaces are still available. This activity is in partnership with Pathway to Inquiry Based Science Education project in DCU.

For more information and to book your place for this exciting project click here.

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