Dr. Howard launches award winning game based on adolescent girls in India

Dr. Howard launches award winning game based on adolescent girls in India
Dr. Howard's avatar accepts award

Dr. Susan Howard is an assistant professor with the School of Integrative Studies as well as an entrepreneur! She has recently launched her new learning-based game called ‘Go Nisha Go’ and it already has over 250K players worldwide.

Go Nisha Go, winner of the 2023 Best Learning Game by the Games for Change Festival, is a roleplay game for adolescent girls in India where players go on a a travel adventure throughout India with Nisha, and make decisions for her from what to wear, to whether or not to have sex with her boyfriend, to how to negotiate marriage and career choices with her parents. With a direct-to-consumer model, players gain access to reliable information about sexual reproductive health, relationships, consent, and early marriage, as well as in-game direct access to products and services.

The game was inspired by her own Indian mother's decision to delay marriage, and pursue education in the US, against the will of both her parents. She had the confidence to negotiate against cultural and familial norms.

Dr. Howard uses game-based learning in all of her INTS courses at George Mason University. She states “Game-based learning methodologies are foundational to my approach to teaching and design thinking, and digital literacy are the tools for exploration, engagement, and student-led solutions. Game-based learning, design thinking, and digital literacy create an enriching and student-centered learning environment, fostering essential skills for success in the 21st century, including creativity, critical thinking, collaboration, and adaptability. These approaches not only shape students into lifelong learners but also equip them to thrive in a rapidly evolving world. Drawing on my own research interests, I incorporate elements of games into the learning process to engage and motivate students. By leveraging the inherent features and mechanics of games, I create immersive and interactive learning experiences that promote active participation, critical thinking, collaboration, and problem-solving skills. In my syllabus I describe how I apply principles of game-based learning:  

“Class Design and Learning Principles: The course will be designed based on the instructor’s teaching philosophy that applies game-based learning principles, which is the focus of her research interests: Engage: activate the motivation and desire to learn; Explore: learn through exploration and discovery; Reflection and Feedback: write and converse about the learning and receive feedback; Apply: deepen the learning through application; problem solving.” 

This learning framework guides students through a dynamic process that encourages active engagement, thinking, and  meaningful reflection on the content”

To learn more about Dr. Howard visit her bio page on our website