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Educational = cash flow?!

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Educational = cash flow?!

Post by GiGi on Wed Oct 13, 2010 12:28 pm

Goals:
1. our own version of TNN up and running
2. fully funded servers and admin staff
3. long term funding with no monthly charge to the players

So I did some digging and there is actually a growing market for online gaming that can be incorporated into education. Virtual school curricula (from middle school through college), homeschool programs, and even traditional public and private schools are branching into this market and are hungry for good material.

Now I am by no means suggesting that this be a fully educational game, but if it the program lends itself to being useful for educational purposes we actually have a good shot at not only having someone cover our server costs, but have admin and mod staff funded.

Possible ways to meet educational requirements with little overhaul needed:
1. Missions and portals/wormholes able to be placed into categories such as History, Science, Math, Random, Fun stuff, etc.
2. Allow an “educational only” category and “all missions” category toggle in preferences
3. Have a way for “educational missions” to be fact checked but to not have to do it ourselves

RE 1.--If missions can be divided into groups (like History, Science, Math, Random, Fun Stuff, etc.) and then DP (for lack of a better word at this moment) would be awarded at a higher level for the educational ones (both creating and taking). This model would lend itself to appearing to favor education and therefore be more likely to be awarded grant status. (Grant status = fully funded.)

RE 2.-- Selection choice for “educational mode only” and “all modes” preferences: I see a possible easy way to do this is to make it similar to how you choose the level of portal ratings that you are able to see. In order for schools to buy into this we may need to have a password required function that would allow parents/teachers have a pseudo “moderator” status over their students to be able to toggle this function on and off with a password. This is to reassure parents and teachers that students could only play educational missions during class/homework times.

RE 3.--Teachers and Parents should also have the ability to “grade” the missions to check for accuracy...hehehe let's get them to do the work for us. Then if the content is rated accurate the player gets bonus pings. I see it possible that the grading thing be a player account granted to each teacher/ school/ homeschool parent. This player account gives them an “educational moderator” status, and allows the teachers to be Pmed by their students and vice-versa... but you all may have better ideas.

Now I know that the likelihood that the random/fun missions will far outweigh the educational ones, but then again people may surprise us. There were a number of players that asked me how to earn extra DP and if the answer is “go make or take a mission, and the educational ones have the highest level of DP” then I willing to bet people would make missions for those categories to raise their DP. Additionally, this idea helps cut down on the number of bogus missions created just to raise their points, and may help alleviate the flooding of DP issue.

Now I'm not saying that we copy the model these guys are using but I wanted you to see the possibilities.
http://www.eschoolnews.com/2009/06/03/online-school-implements-game-based-course/
http://www.niu.edu/PubAffairs/RELEASES/2007/nov/millisproject.shtml

There are many universities that work as partners with small companies to develop educational gaming platforms (Hong Kong Polytechnic, Carnegie-Mellon University, MIT, NIU just to name a few), but if we go with funding from a university we would probably have to adhere to more strict educational guidelines...

NASA would likely be willing to moderate our astronomy notes (via links) and possibly donate server space. Also, getting funding from them is not as far fetched as you might think. One of the NASA research facilities is not too far away from where I live, and I would be willing to talk to them about having them assist us... but before we do that we need a clear vision, a workable model, and established goals. Even though NASA has had recent budget cuts they still gift funds, assistance, and time to ventures such as ours but because of budget cuts we would need present them with a polished idea to edge out the competition.

There are other for profit businesses both private and publicly traded (stock market) that need to place money into charities or grants in order to balance their books for tax purposes.

So those are my thoughts. Nothing is final... but I want to hear what you guys think.


Last edited by GiGi on Wed Oct 13, 2010 1:59 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Re: Educational = cash flow?!

Post by Rainboy on Wed Oct 13, 2010 12:42 pm

This has defiantly entered the realm of workability! Our main two problems at the moment are money and coders, that just made the money problem, and possibly even the coder problem, far more realistically doable in my mind. Good work!
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NASA grants

Post by GiGi on Wed Oct 13, 2010 1:56 pm

Again... not copying this model but wanted you guys to have a look at what kind of things NASA assigns grants for...
http://www.spaceref.com/news/viewpr.html?pid=30498
and the press release is here: http://www.challenger.org/about/media/release.cfm?release_id=131

Now we're not a science center, and we're not already set up as a non-profit corp (don't worry about that it's easier than you'd think), but note the date... March this year. They are delving into this kind of thing now.
If we get NASA to partner with us they could possibly handle all the real facts stuff and I'm sure they'll be interested in making their educational stuff more exciting (goodness knows it needs an update) and if they agree that would mean a wholeeeee lot less research for us. Smile
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Re: Educational = cash flow?!

Post by SgtWidget on Thu Oct 14, 2010 5:25 am

Consider getting a hold of Parkaboy, maybe, somehow? He's already developed a college course around TNN and online, interactive education. If we can track him down somehow, we might be able to recruit him and pick his brain for help with the grant thing and such. Professors are good for that.

ETA: Please note that from certain sources, educational funding may mean srs bsns censorship. Like, the NSFW button would not exist because NSFW content would not be allowed. I'm not a fan of that idea, mostly because I'm fundamentally convinced that there are worthwhile missions to be made on subjects that are not, strictly speaking, worksafe. Also, because I don't think that would work. There might need to be three levels of content then. Educational Only/Educational + Fun/College-Appropriate. College Appropriate being code for 18+/NSFW/"we can all say the word 'sex' without looking at each other nervously and giggling." (Tell me if I'm being too optimistic about that last part. Rolling Eyes ) I mean, you're not going to be able to keep it out if this game is any good, so separation is the next best option, I think.


Last edited by SgtWidget on Thu Oct 14, 2010 6:03 am; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : MOAR WURDS)
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2 of the Professor Contacts

Post by dav13 on Tue Nov 02, 2010 3:39 pm

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Re: Educational = cash flow?!

Post by richard on Wed Nov 10, 2010 9:12 am

Hey, thanks for finding me - I agree PMOG and similar have great opportunities for education. Two years ago when I was teaching we even had our own clone running for a short time (see http://www.scribd.com/doc/13831432/Concord-School-WebBased-Social-and-Collaborative-Learning we called in Web Walks its on page 10)

I'd be happy to be a sounding board for any ideas around this.
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Re: Educational = cash flow?!

Post by GiGi on Mon Nov 15, 2010 1:11 am

Thank you, Richard.

We are definitely open to any advice that you may have, both as an educator and as a coder.

If the link below is associated with your project it seems that the core idea of [i]webwaks[i] is still being implemented. I am curious to know why the pmog format didn't continue.

http://www.edina.k12.mn.us/concord/webwalks/index.html
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Re: Educational = cash flow?!

Post by richard on Mon Nov 15, 2010 7:42 am

The link http://www.edina.k12.mn.us/concord/webwalks/index.html is something else and not my webwalks just a coincidence!

We ran webwalks on our own server on the school premise and was never visible on the net.
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Re: Educational = cash flow?!

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