Certainly not Rafael Brochado or Guillaume Bailey, two recent graduates from Florida Interactive Entertainment Academy (FIEA). But more importantly, the kids who are playing their game, Tablecraft, agree with them.
Born from a video game prototype assignment, Tablecraft transforms middle-school chemistry from a tedious exercise in studying periodic tables into a thoroughly immersive adventure.
The game utilizes Virtual Reality (VR) technology, putting students literally inside of their own virtual labs. And once inside, they can learn about the periodic table, perform their own experiments, and even learn about things like subatomic particles and radioactive decay.
Happily entrenched within an immersive VR world, kids explore and feel a bit like mad scientists, while education cleverly sneaks into their brains as if it had been downloaded from the Matrix. “I love the idea of innovation, and anything you can do to reach kids where they are at is important. And right now, VR is where they are at,” says Cady Brewer, a science teacher at Lake Highland Preparatory School; she has used Tablecraft with her students for the last two years.
Funded by a $225,000 grant from National Science Foundation (NSF), and in collaboration with experts in pedagogy, Brochado and Bailey have found the sweet spot between the magic of video game engagement and the foundational learning techniques that educators instill in their students. They’ve leveraged their passion into their own company, Not Suspicious, LLC, and are well on their way to becoming a household name among educators.
Even more exciting, the NSF is considering a subsequent funding award of $800,000. By 2020, students will have access to a free Android/iOS Tablecraft app that will allow them to explore the virtual labs of other students who are using the VR version, see each other’s statistics, and leave messages.
Tablecraft checks all the boxes. It engages students, inspires collaboration and exploration, and most importantly, makes learning fun.