Friday, 20 December 2013

Snapshots of the Universe





Is the best way to teach physics to kids to make them think that they're just playing a fun game? Sneaky, but effective. With children (and me) glued to their screens with addictive games such as Candy Crush and Minion Rush, why not inject some space education into the games market?

Stephen Hawking has gone to great lengths to promote science through traditional methods such as books and television however he has now entered the software arena to inspire young scientists. The theoretical physicist and Professor teamed up with Random House to create 'Snapshots of the Universe', his first official app.

The iPad app contains mini-games, videos and text that illustrate a plethora of fundamental space concepts. Ranging from learning about G-force with Einstein and putting planets into orbit to master the theory of relativity, the game presents physics and space in a fun and engaging way. Video explanations from Hawking himself are available for the user to delve further into the depths of space.

" Based on the work and writings of Stephen Hawking, this app teaches both adults and students the basic theories that govern our lives on Earth as well as the movement of the stars and planets. You can play and learn at the same time in each of the eight experiments included in Snapshots of the Universe:

- Spin planets in orbit with your own solar system
- Drop objects with Galileo to learn about gravity
- Let Einstein feel some G-force in outer space
- Search for black holes in the constellation of Leo
- Discover Einstein’s warped worldview
- Plus more…"

I think that games such as these are onto something. With increasing evidence on the declining attention span of the younger generation and their increasing ability to use technology such as iPads, teaching through games that encourage learning through entertainment may well be the future of teaching science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields.

Published by Random House, the app is available on iTunes for $4.99.

-Nikita


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