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Screenshot from CDC ipad game Solve the Outbreak

Educational games are getting contagious

Do you think you have what it takes to stop a plague in its tracks? The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has released an iPad app called “Solve the Outbreak”  that lets players take on the role of a disease detective sent by the CDC to take control of an outbreak scenario.

In real life, new outbreaks happen every day, and the CDC sends out its investigators to determine the causes, so treatment can be initiated. The game rates how well players handle the fictitious situation and is designed to help the public learn about what the CDC does on a daily basis.

The CDC’s interest in games doesn’t include just making its own. The agency has also taken an interest in Plague, Inc. -- a tablet game where players try to create and spread a deadly disease -- and have even asked the game’s creator to speak at the CDC offices.

Using games and mobile apps to help educate the public about government activities has become increasingly popular, such as “America’s Army,” which has even been made into interactive books and comic books.

At the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, researchers are using a “Tron”-like game to find ways of improving network security. Muzzy Lane Software has a game designed to teach people how government works.And the European Space Agency is using a game to help improve its software for controlling robotic space flights.

Would-be disease detectives can download the app at the iTunes store and maybe save us from a plague or two.

Posted by Greg Crowe on Mar 20, 2013 at 9:39 AM


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