Urban Science Students Take Their Ideas To The Mayor’s Office

Jenny Price
[email protected]

Madison Mayor Dave Cieslewicz will get some fresh ideas Thursday for making over State Street, the Schenk-Atwood neighborhood, and the Northside from a group of young urban planners.

The mayor will received proposals from Madison middle school students who took part in a four-week computer game designed by researchers in the University of Wisconsin-Madison department of educational sciences.

The students will use a 3-D mapping tool to present their plans to Cieslewicz on Thursday, July 12, from 9:30-10:15 a.m. in room 259 of the Educational Sciences Building, 1025 W. Johnson St.

During the course of the game, the students worked as urban planners for a virtual design firm, conducting site visits to help them determine how to reshape the three areas of the city. They also split into teams to weigh the needs of stakeholders who wanted more green space, jobs, housing or parking.

Researchers are using the game to learn more about the power technology has to engage children in learning and solving complex problems in their own communities.

For more information, contact:

– Elizabeth Sowatzke, graduate student in Educational Psychology and the Conservation Biology and Sustainable Development program, Gaylord Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies, (608) 262-0393, cell (608) 358-0664, [email protected] Sowatzke is leading the Urban Science game and can explain research efforts connected to the project as well as coordinate with media interested in attending the presentation.

– David Williamson Shaffer, education science professor, (608) 265-4602, [email protected] Shaffer is overseeing the research project that includes the Urban Science game and can provide perspective on how computer games can change education.