For any of you game designers wondering who is using games, check this out. NASA is looking for anyone who can build an online game.
DEVELOPMENT OF A NASA-BASED MASSIVELY MULTIPLAYER ONLINE LEARNING GAMEThis is interesting stuff. Notice that it specific talks about how games can provide "hands-on" tools for teaching complex subjects.
NASA Learning Technologies Request for Information: Development of a NASA-based Massively Multiplayer Online Learning Game Introduction The NASA Learning Technologies (LT) Project Office supports projects that deliver NASA relevant content through innovative applications of technologies to enhance education in the areas of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM). Research and development in each of the STEM areas are at the core of the LT mission. LT seeks to enhance formal and informal education in STEM fields with the goal of increasing the number of students in those fields of study. The LT is currently evaluating the development of a NASA-based massively multiplayer online educational game (MMO). Background Persistent immersive synthetic environments in the form of massive multiplayer online gaming and social virtual worlds, initially popularized as gaming and social settings, are now finding growing interest as education and training venues. There is increasing recognition that these synthetic environments can serve as powerful "hands-on" tools for teaching a range of complex subjects, including STEM-based instruction. Virtual worlds with scientifically accurate simulations could permit learners to tinker with chemical reactions in living cells, practice operating and repairing expensive equipment, and experience microgravity making it easier to grasp complex concepts and quickly transfer this understanding to practical problems. MMOs help players develop and exercise a skill set closely matching the thinking, planning, learning, and technical skills increasingly in demand by employers today. These skills include strategic thinking, interpretative analysis, problem solving, plan formulation and execution, team-building and collaboration, and adaptation to rapid change. The power of games as educational tools is rapidly gaining recognition.