Using ED for educating kids who have lost interest in school

Hi, Commander Dr. DJ here, aka Kiki Pitts. I am looking for knowledgeable people interested perhaps in finding ways to utilize ED in educational settings to re-engage lost learners. I have attempted to contact people at Frontier, but no responses. Anyone know any educational geeks like me who also might see the potential for ED as an instructional tool? Eager to meet you!
kikivii gold.jpg
 
I don't off the top of my head know of anybody else but I've shown my two granddaughters many things in the ED galaxy and their eyes get wide with interest. They are 6 and 10 and very smart and talented girls.

Two other "programs" you may want to look into is:
http://universesandbox.com/
http://spaceengine.org/

I've loaded Space Engine a couple times and am amazed at its scope. You can go to any place in our galaxy or to other galaxies (via proc gen). The data for the known universe is from a highly respected Russian astronomer, Vladimir Romanyuk. Iirc, its still a free down load but they ask for donations. (I would suggest not trying to fly the ships around until you get familiar with the interface; its a little hard to use but not impossible.) (goto is a friend)

I have only watched the video for Universe Sandbox but it looks very interesting. This program lets you alter characteristics of space, planets, stars, etc. Its a pay-for program so I suggest watching the videos before buying.

GL HF
 
I have been involved with STEM events with my work in the past and I am intrigued by your proposal. What did you have in mind?

While I do not personally like the new exploration mechanics (specifically the FSS), I can see some potential in using them as tools to spark interest in astrophysics/astronomy perhaps.

You may want to consider including the Kerbal Space Program as well since while it is pretty primitive in some ways it does have a reasonable aerospace engineering model (i.e. building space craft of various forms).
 
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My background quickly: I am director of the At-Risk and Alternative Education Masters of Education Program at Marian University in Wisconsin. I have been deeply involved in the at-risk population - especially in schools - since I was a psychotherapist and saw, first hand, what happened to humans when raised in abusive and/or neglectful homes. It is a "soft prison of symptoms" formed as children and rarely dropped even in adulthood. I have looked at customary compensatory school programs, written books and worked in national organizations for the last 30 years. We are not making a dent in the dropout population in the United States. I was looking for something radical yet, made sense, which means it would not remain radical for long, right? I had a brainstorm after my first experience with Immersive Virtual Reality. I saw how it captured the imagination and created a different kind of approach to learning. I tried a program called Air Car, said aha!, contacted the owner to talk about some possible changes to the program, but he was not interested in a second communication. Then I stumbled into Elite Dangerous, and saw how, with some modifications, one could build out a total educational program, involving ALL subjects when you combined ED with some of the other 900,000 IVR/VR/Mixed and Augmented Realities. My idea is to start everyone in an ED environment, each having their own ship which could be "made their own" in the Livery, and this ship (or some other if they upgraded) would be their vehicle for learning through the whole program. They would literally travel to different programs to learn about geology, history, current event locations, science experiments and projects, certainly math, reading, etc. would be easy to implement. Then the social aspects via teams or "wings" where group projects would be carried out. So, it is not just about astronomy and space sciences. If you have done Google Earth in IVR you automatically get how the Earth and countries and travel and geology, etc. could all be used to launch lessons by a savvy teacher. Sorry, that was not very "quickly" but you should see my whole white paper on it! LOL
 
I have been involved with STEM events with my work in the past and I am intrigued by your proposal. What did you have in mind?

While I do not personally like the new exploration mechanics (specifically the FSS), I can see some potential in using them as tools to spark interest in astrophysics/astronomy perhaps.

You may want to consider including the Kerbal Space Program as well since while it is pretty primitive in some ways it does have a reasonable aerospace engineering model (i.e. building space craft of various forms).
I'll second KSP not only because it's more "realistic" but also because it's highly moddable, propable this would serve you better then "pure" ED OP?
The architecture of ED propably won't support what you are looking for if I read your last post correct.
 
I will definitely check that out. Let me see if I can describe a typical Before and After scenario. At-risk kids (think potential dropouts) are not highly regarded, even by the "educational professionals" entrusted with their care. I educate a special group of teachers who DO care and nearly burn themselves out trying to help them overcome circumstances, damage and shortcomings that none of them chose to have. Unfortunately, as part of their dysfunctional family syndrome, they do not have the tools and skills to "raise themselves by their own bootstraps" so we have in education a things called "Compensatory or Alternative education programs." Most are detestable. Kids sitting in front of "blue books" (workbooks) plowing through them in a study hall like atmosphere - just to fill in those "credits" needed for graduation. Why would kids drop out when school has become basically drone work, knowing you are in an environment where people wish you would just "go away - ANYWHERE but here"?

Imagine, if you will: In this new alternative program, you would enroll as Cosmic Cadets (or whatever). They would have an identity, a code of behaviors, etc. and RESPECTED for being who they were. They would be assessed to see what their strengths, talents, aptitudes, and needs were (as their individual curriculum would be modified to match these) then they would get their Space Quest Headsets and enter the academy where, like with EngageVR.io they would be in a virtual meeting hall and get their basic instructions sprinkled throughout their first course together, along with VR experiences to excite and engage them. At some point - say a month or two later - they would after a few flying experiences, would get their first ship, just like we all did in ED, which they will have a basic bank of currency to decorate as they see fit. Then Cosmic Cadet Flight School where they learn not only about their ship, but also will have to begin to map out their experiences (file a flight plan) and in that utilize reading, math, etc. And it goes on from there....does this help flesh out a picture?

Imagine a bit more: They will have a menu of assignments, again based on their personal profile. Some will be in small groups, the whole class, but a lot individual learning and experiences. They can "park" their ship, and climb aboard the Google Earth transporter and explore the planet, given some challenges, etc. Then back to their ship and travel to Planet Ardex where they will again park their ship and enter a VR experience about Ardex's Civil War, where the Confederacy decided it would have to fight for its human slavery and right to be independent in their secession from the North, also called Yankees. Then back to their ship to fly to Planet Rubiclan ( a challenging flight where many essential skills would be needed to get there (reading, math, planning, team-building, gauging the limits of their ship against the trip requirements itself) and there they would enter another learning experience based on needs, etc.

They would always have their own ship, title, and code of ethics, and - of course - headsets. Imagine instructors who would guide them through this experience, understanding the psychology of at-risk kids (my book on this is SHADOW CHILDREN ) and knowing how to do ongoing assessing to always match instruction and learning experiences to the kids's strengths and needs. [I am a big believer on building on kids' existing interests, strengths, talents, and abilities as well as their "needs" which today's school see as "deficiencies."

THIS is my dream, my answer to the serious dropout problem which handcuffs kids forever. $10K a year less in income, costing communties about $300,000 over their lifetime and filling our prisons, where the populations are about 75% school dropouts - and one of the biggest issues they have is illiteracy.

We can fix this! Given the project funds and the right brains we can plan and build this. (you can tell I am not excited lol) Sorry to go on and on. It has been most frustrating not to be able to reach anyone at Frontier to at least hear me on this. So I thank you all for listening.
 
Hi, Commander Dr. DJ here, aka Kiki Pitts. I am looking for knowledgeable people interested perhaps in finding ways to utilize ED in educational settings to re-engage lost learners. I have attempted to contact people at Frontier, but no responses. Anyone know any educational geeks like me who also might see the potential for ED as an instructional tool? Eager to meet you!
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I've always thought since I started playing this game that it should have a compulsory slot in school curriculum. Perhaps a variation of elite with no weapons or stuff like that but an educational science vessel the children can explore and learn about our planet in particular and obviously all the others and beyond. If I was in school I'd love it
 
I had a brainstorm after my first experience with Immersive Virtual Reality.
Hmmm... I do get where you are coming from here, VR certainly can have a bit of the WOW/Inspiration factor but there are potential health concerns (particularly regarding eye sight) and extensive use of VR. I believe that current VR technology includes blue-light and involves exposure to it in darkened conditions and this has been the target of some fairly recent studies (how valid the conclusions are is debatable and medical consensus does have a history of being rather fluid over time).

My idea is to start everyone in an ED environment, each having their own ship which could be "made their own" in the Livery, and this ship (or some other if they upgraded) would be their vehicle for learning through the whole program. They would literally travel to different programs to learn about geology, history, current event locations, science experiments and projects, certainly math, reading, etc. would be easy to implement. Then the social aspects via teams or "wings" where group projects would be carried out. So, it is not just about astronomy and space sciences. If you have done Google Earth in IVR you automatically get how the Earth and countries and travel and geology, etc. could all be used to launch lessons by a savvy teacher.
While I do not work for FD nor have any affiliation with them, I am not convinced ED could be viably used/modified in the way you are thinking; However, I do get where you are coming from and can see how it may be used as-is perhaps for object lessons for instruction led training.

I am a big believer on building on kids' existing interests, strengths, talents, and abilities as well as their "needs" which today's school see as "deficiencies."
I admire your ambition and philosophy, and if you are talking about one-on-one instruction led/facilitated teaching (at least initially) then I can see it perhaps working (at least with some focus groups). However, not everyone responds well to VR or 3D visualisation in general. I believe you might be on to something in general and providing you are not too hung up on the precise approach I believe it might work.
 
Yes! Let us please stay in touch. I am trying to build a small (in the beginning) group of those interested in this...and am eventually becoming more focused, particularly on potential dropouts, which I call "at-risk" - who almost always come out of dysfunctional families (abusive and/or neglectful) then go into a school which basically shuns or punishes these kids because of it.
 
Well, I am, for many reasons. Last 30 years of my career dedicated to finding ways where kids coming from dysfunctional backgrounds (homes that are abusive and/or neglectful) are basically blamed for it in their schools which SHOULD be MORE concerned for what are called "THOSE kids" with a sneer. I really appreciate your feedback on the physiological issues, and will definitely do more research on that. And, yes, not for every one...a screened "Focus" or "Experimental" approach indeed necessary. This is no small undertaking...many facets of concern...but this is a HUGE problem in the US and getting worse because of opiod addiction as a (too) inviting opt out for kids already in trouble. Truly appreciate all feedback.
 
Good to see someone trying to fight the rising tide of apathetic ignorance. Let nothing stand in your way, DJ. This kind of undertaking is the kind of thing that eventually saves the world.
 
Got your drift, Daynen. And I appreciate the kudos, I really do. If you have any contacts who might help in this endeavor, I would like to speak with them. As I said way back, I have tried to contact Frontier 3 times with no response. Why Frontier? Because ED with a few modifications it would be perfect. Air Car is a quick and easy way to get people into a cockpit, and feel the exhilaration of flying around and being in control of your movements, but it is quite limited. I spoke with the owner of the program, who says it is freeware, and had intentions of adding aspects to it, but did not have time. I asked him, "If I can find the game programmers, would you like the help to really do something spectacular for at-risk kids? But, I think he was too busy to respond. So, I tried out ED and when I saw all the aspects of this game that did not involve killing, I was stunned. It is the perfect format, if they would be willing to clone ED, spin it into a new format - not THAT many tweaks either - you could have the perfect "vehicle" (in several ways). There is real motivational power in gaming that could be diverted into deliberate learning experiences that these kids are either missing, because they are expelled, suspended, doing "blue book endurance" contests (that is sarcasm;-) or just don't give a flying f*** because they have been so turned off to learning...see it as near torture...can't wait to hit the streets. We can change this: Are you seeing my pet peeve? Great potential going to waste.
 
We can change this: Are you seeing my pet peeve? Great potential going to waste.
There are many different factors but ultimately you can take a horse to water but you can't make them drink.

I was one of those kids that did not have an easy childhood (for various reasons I will not go into) but I had a good supportive network of people and a natural willingness to learn. One of my siblings on the other hand was at least as capable but did not really have the desire to apply themselves in the same way. We both have however grown up and become successful in different ways though.

The point I am trying to make is that having natural potential is one thing, but unless the person in question enjoys making use of that potential then you will always have an uphill battle. I believe the key is to find out what they are interested in, what they are capable of, and try and set them on a constructive path that melds the two. Life is too short to engage in activities that you do not enjoy unless life necessitates it - and there are surprisingly few activities that life actually necessitates.

My impression from observing my nieces and nephews is that (at least in the UK) the fundamental issues in play are multi-facetted in nature. Your idea to make use of computer games as an educational tool may work for some but for others it is going to be more a matter of getting inside their heads and working out what makes them tick. Computer games can be used as a form of escape from real world issues for at least some and addressing the real world issues may be actually what is needed in their case.
 
In addition to the games noted above, i agree with Kerbal Space Program, A great learning tool even at my old age. KSP did have educational version created during its beta. But some of the highlights of your program could benefit from old school pen and paper roleplaying games. Forcing reading, math, social interactions, imagination and how to handle real world situations in a safe environment. Putting yourself into another shoes to accomplish any hypothetical situation has a real world reaction when you have already accomplished something similar in the RP game. Growing up ive attributed many of my real world skills to learning the different mathematical systems of tabletop Role playing games. And the extensive reading involved to learn how to play. In addition how to handle conflict and resolutions when working with others.
Unlike a video game which is can be a great tool for training, and teaching the raw information, Tabletop rpg can be tailored to the human situation, adjusting on the fly to explore different and interesting aspects that hard coded video games lack.
 
RP Example: All players create a future space base character, all onboard one ship. Professions, stats, name, background, likes / dislikes. etc. They are a team and work on one ship. This ship is visiting an alien planet with actual aliens. Could be goofy looking or serious, sometimes letting the players decide as a group what the aliens look and act like can be fun. Planet side the group is presented with some sort of building that contains valuable items that could aid the players, but the reasons they are all horded in one building is unknown. A player may decide to take an item or two, or maybe they don't. Regardless upon return the leader of the aliens starts accusing one of the players of stealing. The alien is threatening attack against the players ship if the items are not returned. If they did steal the item they can own up and return the item to avoid conflict, or lie and face the consequences. Other players will interact with the accused and opens a long string of dialog on how to best resolve the situation. Maybe the stolen item is badly needed to fix something on the ship. Likewise the alien claim could be false and no one stole anything. The players need to work together to prove innocents. Maybe this opens up a detective situations where the players now need to track down what happened to the missing items. Could very well be the items where miss placed by the janitor, or a rebel faction of the aliens are trying to set up the players to take the fall to promote their own agenda. Maybe the aliens own slaves, and they are trying to promote a war so they can escape.

That is just the social aspect of a scenario, but could devolve into conflict, both of which should use dice rolling and math to calculate the results of situations that have a degree of failure involved, or if the situation is uncertain and requires character skills to resolve.
 
Music to my ears, WW! I have a very progressive educator friend, but ran into a wall with her. I gave her a immersive VR experience with Air Car, then had her do the Oculus Dream Deck, etc. She immediately dismissed using "Screens" to educate as the "social dimension" would be missing. I explained that there was plenty of opportunities in ED to construct social experiences but she could not get past the notion that "yes, but its not real." She has two kids who live on their screens and she is never with her Android and has interrupted our personal conversations numerous times with, "I have to take this..." leaving the room. I was disappointed because she would not hear me out, it was apparent. Here is what I tried to tell a closed mind. "I am not saying 'Stick a IVR headset on potential dropouts and all will be well.'" I am saying, 'You can have all the objections you want, but if we cannot keep kids IN SCHOOL we lose them. The second stage is, "OKAY, we have them in school, chained to a desk, now what?" They hate school, often their parents hated school. And at-risk kids (I teach teachers and know a few things behind the curtains) are not liked by educators and wish they would just go away. (My program at Marian is training teachers who do NOT think that way to be better at matching curriculum to kids strengths, talents, needs, and INTERESTS (where VR comes in). Think kids cannot sense this? So containing them in an environment they hate and feel hated is hardly a solution. We must create an educational magnet where they want to come to school then keep them there with interesting and yet instructional relevant learning that will help them get out of school what they need to succeed not only in school but in life.
 
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