This is the development site for the virtual reality educational game, “VR Hoover Dam.” This game, funded by a Digital Projects for the Public grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities, will allow players to explore and learn about the construction of the Hoover Dam and its various impacts on economies, people, natural environments, and more.

VR Hoover Dam is historically-based, educational game centered on the construction of one of the most iconic structures in the world. It combines cutting edge-technologies with current humanities scholarship to create an interactive, 4-dimensional game that takes place within the landscape of the 1930s Black Canyon site where Hoover Dam was built.

The full realization of the game will allow players to interact with and learn about historical figures, get a sense of what it was like to live and work at the dam, and to understand Hoover Dam’s tremendous importance and wide-ranging impacts.

The long-term potential of VR Hoover Dam is very exciting. Our vision is not just a photorealistic 3D landscape of Black Canyon and the Hoover Dam construction site but instead a “4D” learning experience unlike any other to date.

We see this project as opening the possibility for both new pedagogy and scholarly insights into one of the most significant projects in American history. VR Hoover Dam would augment the study of a range of topics such as politics, economics, architecture and design, the history of labor, the New Deal era, workplace safety, Native American culture, westward migration, the Great Depression, the history of technological innovation, STEM education, and climate change, as well as issues of social and economic justice and struggle, and civil rights.

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“Beware of Falling Rocks” and Other Revelations: User Testing with Our Target Audience

User testing is a strategy we use to evaluate how well we’re meeting our goals. We packed up our tech and visited Keith Middle School in New Bedford, Massachusetts earlier this month, where students tried VR Hoover Dam during their after-school club meeting. Michelle Turk, our partner at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas UNLV) is also testing the game with her undergraduate students!

Introducing VR Hoover Dam to the Classroom

By Michelle Turk Ph.D., Department of History, UNLV Writing a game narrative and imagining how to integrate it into a classroom setting takes an open mind and a lot of collective creativity. Dr. Michelle Turk is a historian of occupational health at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV) and author of Gambling with Lives:…


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