Artificial Intelligence

Congratulations to Yu-Han Chang and Rajiv Maheswaran, who have won an award from the VSoE Research Innovation Fund (RIF)

The award is for Yu-Han and Rajiv's proposal DARE 2 STEM: Distributed Alternate Reality Environments towards Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics. The RIF program was established in 2007 and is aimed at fostering novel strategic research directions, projects, and activities in the school.

About the project:

Engagement is a key problem facing K-12 education. Without engagement, students are not motivated to perform well in school, explore different avenues for expressing their creativity, and discover new ideas exercising their ingenuity. While digital games are often entertaining, for the most part they fail to provide engaging educational opportunities for the player. The best opportunities happen when a person finds themselves in a context where curiosity, exploration, and learning can be sparked. Who can't help but wonder about the natural world when face to face with the Grand Canyon? Or, closer to home, a curious mind might wonder about the huge concrete-lined ditches that are strangely called "rivers" in LA, or the dramatic Tesla coils in the Griffith Observatory. We need to bring the player, the student, out into the real world.
Alternate Reality Games (ARGs) are a new genre of transmedia game that draws in the player by overlaying a fictional narrative on top of the real world. Instead of entering a digital world on a computer, the player engages the game through many modes: the physical world through location-based activities and physical clues, online through websites and social media, and even traditional media such as phone or text messages. The fictional narrative further engages the player by introducing fictional characters and plot points. ARGs have been used with great success by many Fortune 500 companies and movie studios to promote their products and movies such as the "Dark Knight" Batman movie.
Here at USC, there is a unique opportunity to create a new kind of distributed alternate reality game environment that leverages our research in location-based mobile games, augmented reality games, and adaptive teaching systems. Last fall ISI's Computer Behavior Group piloted a smaller ARG called i4: Operation Daylight, and the new game will build upon the excitement and experiences gained from running i4. Together with experts at the USC School of Cinematic Arts and School of Education, we will be creating a new platform for drawing students into engaging STEM learning experiences. The game will premiere for students at USC Hybrid High and select area charter high schools in Spring 2014. Students will have the opportunity to engage with the game, the characters, the natural and built world surrounding them every day, and assist i4 in completing its mission.