EVENT: ‘Virtual Sprouts’ Kick-Off (10/25/2011)

On September 22nd, 2011, we kicked off a new project entitled Virtual Sprouts, funded by NIH with a newly formed advisory meeting, which was generously hosted by ICT. Our multi-disciplinary team includes experts in childhood obesity (PI Donna Spruijt-Metz, Co-I Jaimie Davis), interactive media (Co-I Marientina Gotsis), artificial intelligence (Co-PI H. Chad Lane), education and engineering (Co-PI Gisele Ragusa). This collaboration is funded by a prestigious Science Education Partnership (SEPA) award. Our program will target low income, minority populations in Los Angeles, including children ages 8 to 11, their parents, other family members, teachers and the community. Our goal is to positively influence dietary intake and prevent/treat obesity in minority youth through meaningful play. Virtual Sprouts brings a novel combination of technology and teaching to bear on pediatric obesity in urban Los Angeles, and will employ interactive, web-based game techniques, rich narrative, a pedagogical agent, and experiential learning to achieve the aims of the program. We are currently preparing for playtesting and focus groups with students, teacher and parents, which will be conducted by second-year IMD MFA student, Yasaman Hashemian.

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