UNM professor, students create interactive game to teach energy conservation

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – One University of New Mexico professor and his students are hoping to change the way we look at energy conservation. They’re doing this with a game developed right here in Albuquerque that could one day be in classrooms throughout the state.

It’s called the “Energy Surge System.” It’s a computer game with the ability to teach students about our everyday energy consumption.

Professor Nick Flor has been working on this interactive game for the past three years, with students from both his undergraduate and graduate classes at UNM.

This is how the game works. First, students will be able to click on everyday household appliances to see just how much wattage each one uses.

“You can see your energy cost per day. The energy costs per month and the energy cost per year,” says Professor Flor.

Next, students will take a standard online quiz. For each question they answer correctly, they’ll receive a token. These are incentives that give the “players” enhanced features to move further along the game.

In the end, Professor Flor says this is just one more tool to help kids learn quickly and efficiently.

“What we have is this traditional quiz which is what teachers have been using all along to teach students about topics and we have the game. The two combined are a more effective way of learning about this boring topic energy than either one alone,” says Professor Flor.

He hopes this will also encourage people find alternative energy resources.

“We need to move towards people using solar or energy harvesters,” says Professor Flor.

It’s a project graduate student, Rodrigo Arias, is proud to be a part of.

“It’s changing the way people manage their energy or stuff like that that can make a difference in the world,” said Arias.

Professor Flor and his students will be presenting the game and how it improves learning at an upcoming conference in Hawaii. They hope to have the game fully completed by the end of next summer.

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