Improving Oral Health with Serious Games

Period of Performance: 09/23/2008 - 08/31/2009

$2.09MM

Phase 2 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Firsthand Technology, Inc.
Seattle, WA 98112
Principal Investigator
Principal Investigator

Abstract

DESCRIPTION (provided by applicant): The overall objective of this SBIR Fast Track research is to test the technical and scientific feasibility and educational efficacy of a suite of 5 serious computer games for improving oral health literacy. In English and Spanish, the games are designed to improve the oral health quality of life of young Americans at risk for severe tooth decay. Low levels of oral health literacy are well documented in the United States, with a disproportionate percentage of the problems concentrated in minority and economically disadvantaged sub-populations and there is increasing attention being paid to serious games as a means to reach children with learning opportunities that meet their learning styles and interests. The research will be accomplished by a collaboration of Firsthand Technology and the University of Washington, working with community partners that include the Pacific Science Center and the Seattle Public Schools. Phase I activities lay the groundwork for building an effective game with high acceptance by defining the oral health content and detailed game design. Phase II will move the game from prototype to a testable product. All game designs and development will be monitored and validated throughout all stages of the process with standard industry y usability testing practices. A randomized trial (N=160 children 8-14 years old) will be conducted to test the educational efficacy of the suite of games and a field study (N=2160) will assess the exhibit configuration and other parameters. Data will inform the development and acceptance of the program as well as test program effects over six-month periods, both in a laboratory setting and within a museum exhibit context. Data collected will include demographic information and pretest-posttest information about children's oral health outcomes, including self-efficacy, affect, behavior (self-report), and curriculum-based knowledge. These data will be recorded via parent-child interview for the randomized- controlled trial, and then electronically via verbal instructions and button selection for the field study. Public Health Relevance: The overall objective of this SBIR Fast Track research is to test the technical and scientific feasibility and educational efficacy of a suite of 5 serious computer games for increasing oral health literacy. In English and Spanish, the games are designed to improve the oral health quality of life of young Americans at risk for severe tooth decay. The research will be accomplished by a collaboration of Firsthand Technology and the University of Washington, working with community partners that include the Pacific Science Center and the Seattle Public Schools.