Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Tech Wednesday: Fold.it


Fold.it is a game developed by a father for his kids and students to gain help in solving problems/puzzles involving protein folding. The game is a free download available at http://fold.it/portal. The developers of the game are university professors at the University of Washington and Carnegie Melon. The hope is that with all the gamers out there working on protein puzzles that maybe someday a cure for HIV, Alzheimer's, etc can be found. The game is available for Windows, Mac, and Linux and can be played either online or off-line but either way must be installed on the local machine to enable game play. The interface is relatively simple with using the mouse and screen to work on the proteins. You start up with some tutorial lessons to introduce you to the tools and skills you will need to complete the puzzles. There is a chat feature built into the game to enable you to work collaboratively if you so desire. Also on the site itself there are various communications tools with a blog, wiki, and forum. Where I see this site fitting in is possibly at a junior high or high school if not a college level. I see this as a great game for students looking for a challenge and also as a possible career path exploration.


More and more we are seeing games work their way into the education world and not just in the form of purchasing a pre existing game such as WOW, Age of Empires, and various others. Individuals are starting to create what a fellow colleague of mine termed artistic games for both PC's and game platforms. These games include fold.it , world of goo, and many others. These games may seem simple time wasters but in the hands of educators and students they have the power to captivate and engage students in learning that no text book or lecture can provide.


As always I welcome your comments and suggestions until next time.




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