Water Bears EDU to Make a Splash on GlassLab Games Platform


Water Bears EDU for Website

Mobile 3D puzzle game gives students hands-on experience with Systems Thinking concepts

PITTSBURGH, Penn­syl­vania (March 26, 2015) – Today Schell Games is pleased to announce the release of their game Water Bears EDU on the GlassLab Games platform. ­­­­­­­Water Bears EDU is a 3D puzzle game for the iPad®, designed to enhance systems thinking skills in middle school students. Systems thinking, or the under­standing of the inter­de­pen­dency of related elements within the world or an organism, can be used to develop knowledge in a myriad of subjects, such as science and math.

Schell Games was one of only six game devel­opers asked to partic­i­pate in the beta release of the GlassLab platform. We are thrilled to be part of this new endeavor to assist teachers with finding games appro­priate for their class­rooms,” remarked Jesse Schell, CEO and founder of Schell Games. Games are proving to be an important part of education in the 21st century. Game-based learning gives children the freedom to exper­i­ment, and fail or succeed, in a safe, comfort­able envi­ron­ment that allows them to thrive at their own pace. As a mobile educa­tional game, Water Bears EDU is poised to be an excep­tion­ally useful tool for educators, espe­cially those teaching STEM subjects.”

The game features creatures called water bears, or tardi­grades, which are micro­scopic organisms that can survive in the bleakest circum­stances. These organisms, being very resilient, are able to expel all the water from their bodies, and in doing so, can survive in the most outra­geous condi­tions, from extreme temper­a­tures to outer space. In the game, these creatures have been reimag­ined, taking on a whimsical persona, to engage players in a light­hearted manner appro­priate for middle school students.

The gameplay in Water Bears EDU starts off simply, allowing the players to level up to more difficult chal­lenges. Each puzzle starts with a set of water bears that are sad, dehy­drated, and desper­ately in need of water. Players are tasked with config­uring pipes to redirect water directly to the water bears, making them hydrated and happy. Water Bears EDU features special challenge puzzles, giving players more oppor­tu­ni­ties for devel­oping their systems thinking skills. Spatial reasoning and color theory are two addi­tional concepts addressed in the game.

Although we’ve worked on many educa­tional games, it was a new expe­ri­ence for our team to be working on a game designed to be used specif­i­cally in middle school class­rooms. We learned so much by playtesting with local teachers and students, and it was amazing to see a whole classroom full of kids engaged with the game and eager to learn,” explained Jason Pratt, director of the Water Bears EDU project.

Water Bears was developed in collab­o­ra­tion with the Creativity Labs at Indiana Univer­sity in Bloom­ington, who served as the lead subject matter experts on the project, and is based on a prototype funded by the MacArthur Foun­da­tion. The game was orig­i­nally conceived by a team of students from the Enter­tain­ment Tech­nology Center at Carnegie Mellon Univer­sity. Water Bears EDU comes with real-time reports, a teacher’s guide, and sample lesson plans that can easily comple­ment or supple­ment an educator’s existing curriculum. These instruc­tional resources help make learning visible, and are available on the GlassLab website.

GlassLab brings together leaders in commer­cial games and experts in learning and assess­ment to leverage digital games as powerful, data-rich learning and formative assess­ment envi­ron­ments. The Lab repre­sents a ground­breaking collab­o­ra­tion between Institute of Play, the Enter­tain­ment Software Asso­ci­a­tion, Elec­tronic Arts, Educa­tional Testing Service, Pearson’s Center for Digital Data, Analytics & Adaptive Learning and others. GlassLab is supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foun­da­tion and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foun­da­tion.

In addition to appearing on the GlassLab Games platform, a stand-alone version of Water Bears is available in the App Store.

About Schell GamesSchell Games is a full-service game design and devel­op­ment company with a focus on creating trans­for­ma­tional games and inno­v­a­tive, inter­ac­tive expe­ri­ences. Founded in 2002 by world-class game designer and renowned author Jesse Schell, the studio, based in Pitts­burgh, PA, heralds a highly talented array of artists, program­mers, producers, and game designers. Schell Games special­izes in creating memorable expe­ri­ences through mobile, PC, console, handheld, online and social games, inter­ac­tive theme park attrac­tions, internet-enabled toys and virtual worlds. The company counts some of the world’s most respected brands as clients, such as Amplify Learning, The Fred Rogers Company, Yale Univer­sity, SeaWorld Enter­tain­ment, The Walt Disney Company and Microsoft Corpo­ra­tion.