A friend of mine suggested to use Foldit in schools to teach children about proteins. I think thats a great idea, because Foldit is very simple to use, can be used to explain many details and is fun operate.
I know some universities have worked with Fold.it. Has anything been done in the way of setting up materials directed more at a high school level? Perhaps a wiki or other means of coordination could be set up that would allow the players to combine their efforts and create some materials such as this.
I can see a bunch of high school students sitting in a class, expecting an easy day with the computer, load this program up, try it for 5 min. and then give up because they can't "beat" it.
Using foldit for education has always been in our plans. To be a trully effective learning tool, we plan significantly modify some aspects of the game. This is particularly important since we would like to target middle school students primarily. By the time student reach high school, according to studies, majority of students have already lost interest for science. We are also planning a numberof elementary school math and physics games for the same purpose. Hopefully we can make a difference over time.
I'd love to help with any playtesting you need with those games.
And my toddler will probably help too, though I think he's a smidge young for your games. (that said, he's already rather computer literate, so he can test the young end!)
I would love to be able to do foldit in school, but I doubt many of the people in school would take this seriously. They would think of it as more of a game than a learning material. I also worry that the schools would percieve it as a game and not allow it.
By the way, I am currently posting from a school computer. So, at least my school is not blocking this website, which it does for many other websites.
I think that Foldit could be easily integrated into science classes with computers. Say, they could teach properties of proteins, and then put them to use in folding them. The teacher could teach techniques on efficient folding, and the students could be scored by a predetermined score. Ex: if you score 9200 or above, you get an A, etc.
Also, @Lord of Obscurity, my school blocks Foldit because it is categorized as "games". :P
Really? Your school blocks foldit? You should comlplain to the administration, foldit is a game, but there is nothing wrong with playing an educational game in school. In fact, Lord of Obscurity, I dont think any school would not allow you to go to Foldit because they perceive it as a game, a game is in my opinion the best way to get middle and highschoolers excited about science. Our school only blocks violent games now, we can go on miniclip and other websites as long as the games are not violent.
My science teacher is very excited about foldit, and wants to start competitions, so hopefully other schools will follow suit.
@Abi, what I was thinking was less "beating" the game, instead variations on the new duel mode, for example each class period competing with each other for the highest score. The class with the highest score gets extra credit, and individual players could get grades based on their efforts.
This site is blocked at my school. Along with alot of other sites.Ironic, since it was through a school event that I found out about Foldit.
You should get in touch with whomever administers the network, and ask that it be unblocked. If you are not sure who this is, ask a teacher, or go to the administration area, and ask. If you explain what it is, you can probably persuade them to unblock it.
i dont think that grading a student based on his/her fold it score is constructive. i just started fold it and each time i click the mouse, it seems like my score ranges from 0 to 9200. thus it could just be by chance that you fold a perfect A.
Well it could also just be by chance that you cure cancer. I was actually thinking more along the lines of the more you play the higher your grade is, or the amount of proteins you have tried folding. I think that a lot of science is by chance, and that by randomly doing things with the proteins you should still be rewarded. Folding with schools would be much better with extra additions, like a feature that the teacher can use to see the most active foldit users in his/her class.
ooh i see what you mean. the teacher can see who is participating and base grades that way. thats not such a bad idea i suppose.
Aside from scoring points, is there any real incentive for students to play this game? Suppose they do create a novel solution for a protein. How will the solution be acknowledged by the foldit/Baker lab? How will there solutions be used in any scientific publications, if at all?
My School Blocks Foldit as well, like they block gwap (see new scientist, which is how I learn't about foldit). Foldit would make learning about proteins fun. Lots of my friends complain as they say it's boring
this very nice, thank you.
----------Tanushri -- please no signature spam. Thanks, admin.
I got same problem here and my school can't control the permission to view centain websites and internet services because it bought network called Redstone which blocks supposely uneducational stuff.
So I think we could use proxy that is not blocked by your internet provider or network to bypass the block so we can play online.
Well, I wrote to Redstone requesting them to unblock us. I'll let you know if they reply.
Does anyone know what other major content filtering companies schools outsource this job to? I'd like to make sure that none of them block Foldit.
@ admin maybe make a special proxy for the foldit? It that what at log in screen asked if i know a proxy or something?
I love the idea of schools using Foldit in their curriculum. I think at this point the game doesn't do quite a good enough job helping the new player understand what protein folding is all about though.
I'm hoping in another month or so I'll have improved the intro levels and such that not only will players be able to reliably learn about proteins just by playing, but that it will be fun enough that they'd want to do it on their free time, and not just because they have to for school. Once that is the case, then I think using Foldit in schools could really be a success, both for learning about proteins, and helping Foldit become more popular.
Redstone have still not responded; I've sent them a followup email to the same address. If that doesn't help, I will see about contacting someone there directly.
Redstone have replied (3 days ago, in fact, but I didn't get to it until now). They do not actually block us. They elaboarated: first, users may add custom filters, so your school may have gone to the effort of custom blocking foldit. Users may in fact even use whitelists, in which case foldit would not be unblocked without positive action; that is perhaps most likely. Second, many local profiles forbid the download of executables, which may of course prevent you from installing foldit.
8e6 Technologies, http://www.xstop.com/
in my school (7th grade) we don'ty do it 4 comp class, but our comp teacher got us folding and i've learned a lot. i think foldit in schools is a great idea
They don't block this site at my middle school. The only problem is they won't let us download anything. I think I'll tell my science tacher about this though. He get's all hyped up if you mention ANYTHING having to do with life science. maybe he's got connections.
I found this in Feedback:
Thanks for linking me in to this thread. I teach Chemistry, AP Chemistry, and Organic Chemistry at our local high school. Before this summer I knew virtually nothing about biochemistry and protein folding. I had heard of distributed computing projects like Folding@Home and Rosetta, but that was about it. This summer I took a class entitled Modeling the Molecular World http://cbm.msoe.edu/profDev/mmw1/index.html) at MSOE hosted by: http://www.3dmoleculardesigns.com/
One of the teachers in my department also runs a SMART Team (wonderful program!):
This year we are implementing amino acids and protein folding across our chemistry classes. We are starting with students building amino acids from molymod models. We will then have student groups begin linking amino acids through condensation. This is their introduction to primary structure. Prior to the lesson, students will have learned about intermolecular forces, including hydrogen bonding. We are going to use the "amino acid kit" (http://www.3dmoleculardesigns.com/news2.php#aminoacid) to have students protein fold before fold.it. Our students will have already studied polar and nonpolar molecules, so hydrophobic and hydrophilic sidechains are a natural extension. Before even trying fold.it, our students will have made crude tertiary structures using these model kits. We have a final lesson involving the amino acid kit and secondary structure. At long last, we will show them fold.it to cap the lesson. We have already done this with our AP class. There is a ton of enthusiasm for fold.it, and I feel like the students are getting more out of it having studied the folding principles ahead of time.
Our Principal is very supportive. Our school firewall is not so supportive. I can run fold.it with limited functionality in our classroom. I can show the tutorials, which is good enough. My hope is to eventually get other local high schools competing with each other on fold.it. My students already want varsity and jv teams, t-shirts, etc.
I look forward to hearing how other teachers are using fold.it.