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Second Ave Software and IGM Partner on NSF Games for Learning

The National Science Foundation has awarded Second Avenue Learning a Phase II Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant to continue development of Martha Madison’s Marvelous Machines, a collaborative physical science game for middle school students that aims to change education. The grant will fund development of the game, building off the prototype built in 2011. This work is supported by partnership with IGM and Professors Christopher Egert, Adrienne Decker and David Simkins.

There is a critical STEM problem in the U.S., and students are turning away from science, technology, engineering and math early in their educational paths. Play testing of the prototype with urban, suburban and rural middle school students demonstrated a significant increase in STEM affiliation among participants following game play.

In the game, students use creative problem solving skills to complete physical science missions using simple machines. The engaging and industry changing game promotes effective collaboration and communication among middle school students as well as high levels of positive engagement. All of these factors are essential for improving learning outcomes and 21st century skills, which Martha Madison succeeds in doing, while offering students a rich experience with entertainment title quality graphics. Importantly, after playing the game, urban participants nearly closed the significant pre-test gap in STEM affiliation relative to their suburban and rural peers. Under the direction of Second Avenue CEO and Primary Investigator Victoria Van Voorhis, Second Avenue will continue to work in collaboration with Professors Chris Egert, Adrienne Decker and David Simkins from the School of Interactive Games and Media at the Rochester Institute of Technology.

Our research results are based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation. The National Science Foundation (NSF) is an independent federal agency that supports fundamental research and education across all fields of science and engineering. In fiscal year (FY) 2012, its budget is $7.0 billion. NSF funds reach all 50 states through grants to nearly 2,000 colleges, universities and other institutions. Each year, NSF receives over 50,000 competitive requests for funding, and makes about 11,000 new funding awards. NSF also awards nearly $420 million in professional and service contracts yearly.

Founded by educators and gamers, Second Avenue Learning is a certified women-owned interactive media company in Rochester, NY that provides custom software development for interactive modules and serious games for education, managed services for learning management systems, training services and content authoring, in addition to proprietary products. Second Avenue applies expertise to innovate the learning process, and understands that technology serves as a critical enabler to achieve fully customized learning environments and unlock the potential of all students. We pride ourselves on building effective, interactive learning environments that are innovative, accurate and visually compelling. Our team takes a synergistic approach to all work, and includes subject matter experts, programmers, artists, learning designers, quality analysts and project managers. Here at Second Avenue, we offer alternative learning paths and challenge the status quo. It is time to reimagine learning.

For Press:
Emma Kelly-Hasken