Barron Associates has developed a novel video game system for promoting middle school science education, called “NeuroSPARKS.” The NeuroSPARKS game is controlled by special sensors that measures muscle activity in the arm, providing students with hands-on insight into neuroscience topics and technology. This NIH-funded Phase II SBIR project developed two STEM games:
- Neurobots – provides instruction on life science content related to organism classification
- Total Energy – provides instruction of physical science content related to energy conservation and transfer.
In the development of these games, Barron Associates worked with Charlottesville educators, including Tech-Girls founder Kim Wilkens, Charlottesville City Schools, the STEAM Discovery Academy, and University of Virginia, to integrate science curriculum content into the game and to conduct classroom evaluation with students. Evaluation with middle school students found a significant increase in science learning following completion of the NeuroSPARKS games. Students also provided positive usability ratings for the system.
The completed games won the 2022 Back to School Tech & Learning Award of Excellence in the Primary Education category.