Dr. Zoran Popovic does a lot of work, but one thing he does really well is make games. As a matter of fact, he worked on algorithms that are used in the video game Destiny. He also cares quite a bit about how to help students. Notably, how to use hints to help students learn.
A Few of His ProjectsDr. Popovic runs the Center for Game Science at the University of Washington. CGS has done a bunch of good stuff including:
- FoldIt provides a context in which people with no knowledge of biochemistry can solve complex protein structure problems that help scientists solve real problems. It's actually pretty darn remarkable.
- Refraction is an interesting (and effective) way to learn fraction concepts and operations.
- DragonBox allows (even very young) students to learn algebra.
My Favorite Popovic IdeaSo much to choose from, but I'm going geeky. I really like his Trace-based Framework for Analyzing and Synthesizing Educational Progressions. This reminds me of the Knowledge Spaces idea that lies behind ALEKS. It's computational and theoretical, but when you see it described well, it makes total sense. To a great extent, these traces are a big part of why EnLearn is so powerful.
Many people are making educational games and some people have built adaptive learning platforms, but very few people are doing either as well as Dr. Popovic and his teams.