UPDATE: Play the new SURGE: EGAME and SURGE: EPIGAME at home. Click here to learn more!

TEACHERS: If you would like to run Surge in your classrooms using your own access code and your own teacher account on Wise 4, please contact our teacher coordinator, David Beutel (dmbeutel at gmail dot com), and he will help you set up your classroom for some physics fun!

Scaffolding Understanding by Redesigning Games for Education (SURGE) explores the integration of popular game play dynamics with research from the learning sciences, psychology, science education, and computer science to support players in developing robust understandings of core scientific and analytic concepts and processes.

Digital games generally have simulations at their core. Well-designed digital games help players construct productive mental models for understanding and operating on those underlying simulations. Well-designed games leverage (1) engagement and affective investment, (2) consequential action and meaningful play, (3) implied principled stances and perspectives, and (4) approachable entries and guided trajectories to develop this understanding.

Our research explores the designs through which these affordances are leveraged. We focus specifically on designs to support players in explicitly articulating the intuitive understandings they develop through game play in terms of more formal representations, concepts, and processes. Our research thus parallels and expands upon Vygotsky's discussions about how "spontaneous" and "scientific" concepts and understandings can bootstrap and leverage one another. To support this explicit articulation, we are exploring the integration and implications of research from the learning sciences, psychology, science education, and computer science on (1) explanation and argumentation, (2) social engineering, (3) modeling, (4) personalized scaffolding and agents, (5) real-time diagnostics and data mining, (6) motivation and engagement, and (7) prediction and reflection. Please see the links on the Principal investigators page for more about our research.

YouTube Video from NSF Cyberlearning Summit 2012

YouTube Video about SURGE Classic

YouTube Video from CHAIS 2013

YouTube Video from AIED 2014