Our research explores designs to support players in explicitly articulating the intuitive understandings they develop through game play in terms of more formal representations, concepts, and processes. To support this explicit articulation we are exploring the integration and implications of research from the learning sciences, psychology, science education, and computer science on (1) explanation and argumentation, (2) social engineering, (3) modeling, (4) personalized scaffolding and agents, (5) real-time diagnostics and data mining, (6) motivation and engagement, and (7) prediction and reflection.

At the heart of the core SURGE EGAME game, players navigate through levels with an interface that encourages prediction and reflection as they rescue Fuzzies, avoid obstacles, and solve puzzles.

Players explain their strategies to computer controlled characters to help those characters mount similar rescue missions. These dialog exchanges involve the identification or construction of a solution to a problem and then convincing the characters to adopt it through warrants involving formal physics ideas and principles. Our goal involves engaging players in self-explanation in line with the research of Chi and others through the dialog of the game.

Similarly, we explore opportunities for social engineering to support players in explanation with one another, both face-to-face and online.

Another important aspect of SURGE EGAME research focuses on data mining and modeling to diagnostically assess players' understanding in real-time. We are exploring applications of Hidden Markov modeling and other data modeling techniques in this regard. Our goal involves formative assessment and personalized scaffolding for players based on their patterns of activity across levels.

Finally, we are also exploring the integration of opportunities for players to develop computational models and representations of phenomena and patterns within the games. Initial representational work will be explored within the physics games, as well as in a new ecology-based game that will also focus on players modeling and repairing damaged ecosystems across a fleet of spacefaring ecospheres. The emphasis of this game will focus on engaging players on the material and representational aspects of the scientific enterprise.