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Professor Examines Use of Video Games in Class

At one time, news coverage centered on worries about video games’ negative influence on kids — but these days, they are making headlines because of the ways they are being used to help students learn. An avalanche of research supporting video games’ ability to encourage academic development has driven momentum on this issue.

Michael Thomas, UNC Charlotte educational leadership professor, studies the evolving relationship between education and games. He said the work of fellow researcher Constance Steinkuehler, associate professor of digital media, University of Wisconsin-Madison, sheds light on how video games help kids develop scientific habits of mind.

"Experts do not simply do something expertly. They share information with other experts. They trade ideas and strategies. They create tools to benefit the community of experts. They debate. They even fight. They collectively struggle to refine their skills and knowledge related to their expertise. This is true of gamers and it is true of scientists," Thomas explained.

Engineering Professor Studies Wastewater Treatment

For years, scientists have been aware of the potential problems of antibiotics being present in wastewater, and the research of Dr. Olya Keen is now showing that treatments to clean wastewater may actually be creating new antibiotics and further contributing to the development of antibiotic resistance in the environment.

An assistant professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Dr. Keen began her current research into the behavior of antibiotics in wastewater in the summer of 2014. She recently presented her initial findings at a conference of the American Chemical Society held in Denver, Colorado.

"This research is a small piece of a larger question," Dr. Keen said. "There are varieties of antibiotics found in wastewater, and at this point we are just testing one. It is in a class of antibiotics that all have similar compositions, so we anticipate that other antibiotics in this class may respond the same way."