Duke professor Timothy Lenoir has been granted $238,000 from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation for a project to transform an existing military simulation into a humanitarian assistance game, turning virtual swords into ploughshares. Learning within the game will focus on leadership skills, cultural awareness, problem solving, and adaptive thinking -- all of which are necessary to coordinate international humanitarian assistance for natural disaster relief.
Lenoir is the Jenkins Chair of New Technologies and Society and holds a secondary appointment in the Department of Computer Science. He will work with a team that includes Jerry Heneghan, founder and CEO of Virtual Heroes, Inc.; Kacie Wallace, of the Duke’s ISIS program and the Program in Film/Video/Digital; and Natalia Mirovitskaya of the Duke-UNC Rotary Center for International Studies in Peace and Conflict Resolution.
Computer Science faculty members Richard Lucic and Robert Duvall are project collaborators. A team of four Computer Science interns - Whitney Mickens, Rosie Kilgore, Vanessa Sochat, Evan Wald-Donahue - is working with Duvall and Lucic to create the avatars for the game scenario.
The proposal was one of 17 projects that will receive funding as part of the first Digital Media and Learning Competition funded by the MacArthur Foundation and administered by HASTAC (the Humanities, Arts, Science and Technology Advanced Collaboratory). HASTAC was co-founded by Duke professor Cathy N. Davidson.
Selected from a pool of 1,010 applications, the winning projects, announced February 21, are expected to produce promising innovations in the use of digital media for formal and informal learning.