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Modeling and Simulation of Cellular Transport Mechanism as a Game

Isaac Barjis, David Smith and Walied Samarrai

The 2010 Summer Computer Simulation Conference (SCSC 10)
Ottawa, Canada, July 11-14, 2010


Summary

Exploring games and education is inherently controversial. Games are typically associated with play and it is not considered for education. However the notion of using games for learning causes some to cringe, others to leap for joy, and many to ask questions about this learning medium. Virtual worlds, especially Second Life, play an increasingly important role in the development of innovative and effective teaching and learning strategies. A cell is a highly complex factory that organizes thousands of different molecules to perform specialized functions. However it is always a challenge to teach students how small hydrophobic molecules, ions, water and large polar molecules enter or exit the cell. To overcome this challenge we used Second Life as modeling tool and platform to model, simulate and create a semi-permeable cell membrane that would enable students to select a molecule that they want to be and find how they could enter the cell. There are many animations and digital movies that show diffusion, osmosis and active transportation across cellular membrane. However there is no 3-D virtual cell that would allow the user to enter the cell and observe the arrangements and organization of organelles, to find a way of entering the cell. This paper will discuss how objects were created, textures were mapped and video streams were implemented to enhance learning process.


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