Academic journal article T H E Journal (Technological Horizons In Education)

New Interactive Site Draws Students to Life Sciences: A Virtual University Is the Setting as Users Participate in Games and Activities Meant to Spark Their Interest in a Health Care Career

Academic journal article T H E Journal (Technological Horizons In Education)

New Interactive Site Draws Students to Life Sciences: A Virtual University Is the Setting as Users Participate in Games and Activities Meant to Spark Their Interest in a Health Care Career

Article excerpt

PERHAPS THE BEST WAY to interest students in a health care career is to give them an early taste of medical school. Even elementary-age kids can connect to the excitement that surrounds the life sciences. To foster that enthusiasm early, the new interactive website BioWorksU.com sets games and experiments against the backdrop of a virtual university.

Launched by the Indianapolis Private Industry Council (IPIC; www.ipic.org), a nonprofit workforce development agency for Marion County, the project was funded by a $1 million grant from the US Department of Labor. It was brought to fruition by partners spanning 38 occupations, from health care facilities to research companies.

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The site is aimed at fourth-graders through young adults. By awarding students "degrees" for accumulating game credits, it means to deliver the message that higher education is needed to achieve the skilled occupations featured on the site. The games also expose players to images of buildings, labs, and other realistic resources. Activities include simulated DNA extraction, genetic crossing, and identification of parts of cells. One game involves advancing an ambulance through a maze by answering health-related questions; another calls for translating prescriptions from Latin.

"BioWorksU.com uses games and other interesting activities to get kids thinking about career goals and what they involve--and that's the first step toward achieving them," explains Eugene White, superintendent of Indianapolis Public Schools. …

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