Seminar Talk 2013-04-17

What happens to STEM education if learning is based in virtual gaming worlds?

James Bower, Numedeon Inc.

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The worlds first universities were organized in Europe by the masters of professional guilds as a mechanism to further education in trades.  One can argue, however, that once education was relegated to academics in ivory towers that education took on a life of its own, increasingly divorced from application to career and livelihood.  While perhaps still present in the ‘E’ and ‘T’ components of STEM, ‘S’ and ‘M’ are largely presented, perhaps especially in K-12, as subjects whose value will be manifest at some point in the future.  In this talk, Dr. Bower will use examples from in which the focus of games and simulations is on career education, with “S” and “M” providing a supporting role, begging the question as to the future role of formal education.

Dr. James M. Bower is the founder, Chairman of the Board and CEO for Numedeon Inc., which in 1999 launched as the first simulation-based gaming virtual learning worlds for tweens. currently has more than 7.5 million registered users, and remains one of the few learning-based virtual worlds.  Dr. Bower is also a computational neurobiologists who has published more than 150 scientific articles, several books, and has served on scientific and educational advisory committees for numerous national organizations including the National Academy of Sciences, the National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Health and the Society for Neuroscience.  He currently holds an academic position in the Barshop Institute for Longevity and Aging Studies in San Antonio, Texas.