Radon Awareness Health Initiative (RAHI): A Serious Game about Serious Risk

Period of Performance: 09/01/2017 - 02/28/2018

$225K

Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Triad Interactive Media
JAMESTOWN, NC 27282
Principal Investigator

Abstract

PROJECT SUMMARY Each year, over 21,000 Americans die from lung cancer caused by exposure to radon in their homes. These deaths are preventable through awareness, testing, and remediation, yet hundreds of educational programs have over the last 50 have not had any appreciable impact. This project will overcome the critical barrier to promoting awareness, testing, and remediation of radon by adopting a novel and unique approach that relies on a ?push? strategy via mandated health education classes rather than on traditional ?pull? strategies where people must choose to seek out radon awareness education. By targeting young children rather than adults, our solution may also lead to lifelong knowledge and attitudes about radon testing and remediation that will make future homeowners more likely to test and remediate. Students in our approach will develop knowledge and abilities that allow them to serve as change agents for their own homes by advocating for testing and remediation. ?A joint team from Triad Interactive Media, Inc., and the University of North Dakota will design and develop a digital game that engages learners and provides essential information about radon. Radon Awareness Health Initiative: A Serious Game About Serious R? isk (RAHI), will target middle school students in mandatory school health education classes. It will be a standalone program that teachers can use with and integrate into their existing curriculum. Phase I of the project will concentrate on designing and developing the first level of a serious game and a Web portal with a suite of supplementary educational resources for teachers and parents. These materials will help to ensure effective classroom integration and parent?student collaboration at home, since it is ultimately parents who will make the decisions about testing and remediation of radon in homes. In the game, students will help a group of aliens, the Rahi, whose ship has crashed nearby and who need help to reach their extraction site on the other side of the neighborhood. The Rahi are extremely sensitive to radon?even a few seconds of exposure at levels above 4 ppm can kill them. The Rahi educate students about radon and, in turn, those students help them chart a path through the neighborhood using testing apparatus. In Level 1, there will always be a ?safe? path through the neighborhood. In Phase I, the product will be beta-tested in 7th-grade health education classes in North Dakota (ND) to assess its usability and initial feasibility for increasing radon knowledge, testing, and remediation. In Phase II of this project, the rest of the game levels will be developed and will require students to advocate as change agents to get some homeowners to remediate (so the Rahi have a path through the neighborhood). In this manner, the students will demonstrate their radon awareness by responding to questions, counterarguments, and confronting misconceptions from homeowners. ?The product will then be tested across ND and neighboring states.