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Serious Games for Bioinformatics Education

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Serious Games for Bioinformatics Education Benjamin Good The Scripps Research Institute @bgood


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Why games? Attention!!!


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is useful for: Recruiting getting their attention Engaging holding their attention Attention


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Recruiting bioinformaticians “We're hopefully going to change the way science is done, and who it's done by” Zoran Popovic University of Washington Foldit, a game for protein folding


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Foldit players come from many backgrounds Top 50 players Busn/finance/legal largest group.. Majority have no training in biochemistry Cooper, Seth, et al. "Predicting protein structures with a multiplayer online game." Nature 466.7307 (2010): 756-760.


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Teaching with games “The use of educational games within learning environments raises motivation, increases interest in the subject matter, intensifies information retention, encourages collaboration, and improves problem-solving skills.” Schneider, Maria Victoria, and Rafael C. Jimenez. "Teaching the fundamentals of biological data integration using classroom games." PLoS computational biology 8.12 (2012) Quoting: Michael D, Chen S (2006) Serious games: games that educate, train and inform. Boston: Thomson Course Technology.”


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Games can be used to teach Stegman, Melanie. "Immune Attack players perform better on a test of cellular immunology and self confidence than their classmates who play a control video game." Faraday Discuss 169 (2014): 1-20. Immune Attack http://ImmuneDefenseGame.com High school students First person shooter game Significantly improves understanding of concepts in immunology


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Finding educational bioinformatics games…


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Educational games


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TBG – select a protein


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TBG: fly around to hit the next amino acid on your list


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4bases (Rostlab, masters thesis) Click the next base in time as the sequence scrolls by. Introduces concept of DNA sequencing Click next base


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MAX5 Goal: introduce the concepts and purposes of DNA sequence comparisons (BLAST) and distributed computing to high school students First person game set in 3-d world beset by an influenza pandemic. http://gamestem.com/portfolio/max5-storyline-1/ Perry, Daniel, et al. "Human centered game design for bioinformatics and cyberinfrastructure learning." Proceedings of the Conference on Extreme Science and Engineering Discovery Environment: Gateway to Discovery. ACM, 2013.


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MAX5 starting screen 1


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MAX5 starting screen 2


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MAX5 “blasting” to detect what a sample is infected with


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MAX5 BLAST analysis


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MAX5 alignment viewer


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MAX5 sample hunting


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MAX5 parallel computing


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MAX5, TBG, 4Bases,… Plusses Useful introductions. Useful for recruiting. Minuses Very high-level – shallow learning.


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Bioinformatics education games All examples of gamifying tasks in bioinformatics. None built for the purpose of education!


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Genes in Space Fly a spaceship (oh by the way you are helping cancer research) 300,000 downloads 3 months.. Cancer UK project.


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The Cure game Alternate turns picking a gene from a “board” of 25 Your hand Opponents hand


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Classroom uses The Cure story (Antoine Taly) http://tinyurl.com/talycure Goal: understand the concept of Biomarkers Watch short video Play The Cure game (involves picking genes useful for predicting breast cancer survival) Create custom predictive decision tree Write essay about what you did


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“Game” Soccer Chess World of Warcraft Halo Super Mario Brothers The Game of Life Monopoly Angry Birds Poker Doom Pacman The Sims Spore Civilization


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Game: defining traits A goal Rules Feedback system Voluntary participation


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Games…? Running – no Answering questions about programming – no Programming – no A goal Rules Feedback system Voluntary participation Nike+ Fuelband – yes Stackoverflow – yes TopCoder.com – yes


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Gamification Google: “the application of typical elements of game playing to other areas of activity…”


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Gamified education. Sort of games…


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CACAO Rules Students form teams In each of a series of “innings”: They are presented with (or find themselves) lists of proteins They look up articles about them and try to create GO annotations. The team gets points for complete, correct annotations At the end of the inning they can “challenge” the annotations of other teams and steal their points. (Like Scrabble!!) Jim Hu, Texas A&M (TAMU) http://gonuts.tamu.edu/wiki/index.php/Cacao_rules


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CACAO participation Since 2010, 1000+ students 15 universities 2,800+ new, acceptable annotations No empirical evidence that gamification helps, but anecdotally everyone likes it.. Example teams from 2013


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Rosalind.info Rosalind is a platform for learning bioinformatics and programming through problem solving. Python Village (learn programming) Bioinformatics Stronghold (learn algorithms) Bioinformatics Armory (learn tools) Textbook exercises


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“Storm the bioinformatics stronghold now!”


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Problems: 228 (total), users: 18194, attempts: 296869, correct: 172873


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Rosalind user profile


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Rosalind leaderboard


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Use of games/gamification in bioinformatics education Expressivity: Number and depth of learnable concepts Fun Benefits: recruiting, engagement Holy Grail


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Future Directions Slowly pushing towards the holy grail(s) Example: ‘Cyclo6’ will attempt to teach advanced organic chemistry – to be released on the app store this fall. Removing boundaries that divide scientific games from each other and from other games Genes in Space team – integration directly inside the context of “The Impossible Line” by Chilingo Yako.io


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http://yako.io System for teachers to create lessons that move students through specified levels of multiple games. Jerome Waldispuhl, McGill University, Phylo


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Acknowledgements Jerome Waldispuhl (Phylo) Daniel Perry (MAX5) Antoine Taly (pioneering the use of games (Foldit, Phylo, The Cure) in his courses) Julia Winter (Cyclo6) Jim Hu (CACAO) Melanie Stegman http://www.sciencegamecenter.org http://ImmuneDefenseGame.com Funding Andrew Su


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Heroic Purpose Biology and medicine provide a heroic purpose – not unlike the more standard purpose of saving the world from aliens. There are great games to be made and great bioinformaticians to be discovered! BIOINFORMATICIAN


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Finding educational bioinformatics games http://www.sciencegamecenter.org/ Lists about 95 games related to science 57 are tagged with “biology” 2 with “computer science” None focus on bioinformatics learning objectives. Melanie Stegman Federation of American Scientists


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Fun Google define:fun “enjoyment, amusement, or lighthearted pleasure” “Fun” from game design guru Raph Koster “the act of mastering a problem mentally” “the feedback the brain gives us when we are absorbing patterns for learning purposes” “fun is about learning in a context where there is no pressure, and that is why games matter”


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