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Title: Pandemics & people: Designing a virtual epidemic event for immersive, connected, and playful participation in an infectious disease outbreak.
Researchers and educators have identified an urgent need for more rigorous teaching and learning about epidemiology topics and practices, such as engaging in behaviors that prevent the spread of viral disease such as COVID-19. Responding to this need, we designed a virtual epidemic as a special event hosted in a virtual world. In this paper we share the strategic, tactical, and detailed design of the SPIKEY-20 virtual epidemic and data that reflects back on the design in terms of player participation. Reflecting on the design, we ask: What kinds of players participated in the SPIKEY-20 virtual epidemic? How did players engage in designed activities (i.e., preventive measures, information seeking)? In what ways were players influenced by the concurrent real world pandemic of COVID-19? In the discussion we consider the potential connection points between real-life and virtual public health behaviors, new possibilities of classroom participation and teacher support for such a virtual event, and future design considerations for virtual epidemics.  more » « less
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Educational designer
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National Science Foundation
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