Academic laboratories where hazardous materials are used are potentially dangerous places. Taking the necessary precautions to avoid unnecessary hazards is paramount for the safety of all involved.
This course element uses gaming technology to help reinforce safe laboratory practices. LabSafety.1x is an online game, called “Don’t Endanger the Owls” designed to introduce the players to the concepts of safe laboratory practices in an adaptable learning environment. This game will help identify the key areas that the students need to work on and actively improve on those weaknesses.
“Don’t Endanger the Owls” is a collaboration between the instructors of Rice University’s Responsible Conduct of Research Graduate Course, Rice’s Environmental Health and Safety and HyperWindows Inc. The characters in the game include Wise Owl, Owlet, and the Zombie Squirrels. Owlet is the student figure and Wise Owl is Owlet’s sage advisor / professor figure. The Zombie Squirrels are running rampant across the university campus and are infecting all they encounter with their terrible “Zombiegen” – when Zombiegen enters the blood, it causes the person or animal to turn into a Zombie. Owlet aims to stop the Zombie Squirrels from spreading their Zombiegen by finding an “Anti-Zombiegen” in the lab that will counteract the effects of the Zombiegen. In order to find the Anti-Zombiegen, Owlet must journey through three lab rooms: The biology lab, the chemistry lab and the analytical lab. Along the way, Owlet, with the help of Wise Owl, will learn safe laboratory practices too. In the end, if Owlet follows safe laboratory practices, he finds the Anti-Zombiegen and saves the campus from the Zombiegen outbreak.