Doctoral student receives Minecraft Education grant

Closeup of Oluwasola Samuel Oni
Oluwasola Samuel Oni

A $10,000 research grant from Microsoft will enable a Washington State University doctoral candidate to help young students critically evaluate information they consume online.

A key component of the grant for Oluwasola Samuel Oni, an educational psychology student in the College of Education, is the evaluation of a new Minecraft Education game called “The Investigators,” which was released commercially on Oct. 25.

Oni’s goal for the project will be to provide students aged 8+ with an educational experience that improves their ability to critically evaluate online information. He will also publish a paper or journal article based on his evaluation. Ultimately, the project aims to provide new perspectives on how education and gaming technology can work together.

Oni’s proposal was selected out of more than 35 applications submitted by graduate students from across the United States.

“My background in the theoretical foundations of learning and instruction, combined with expertise in multimedia learning, gaming, research, and evaluation, uniquely positioned me to undertake this project,” Oni said.

Sola Adesope, the college’s associate dean for research and external funding, said Oni was uniquely suited to apply for the Microsoft grant.

“This is a big accomplishment and a great source of pride for WSU and College of Education,” Adesope said.

While the grant calls for Oni to lead research and evaluation, he is also collaborating with Femi Johnson, another WSU doctoral student, who will provide reliability for their findings.

“Being recognized is a profound honor, especially when chosen to address a global issue like misinformation and being the pioneer researcher on the game based educational tool,” Oni said. “This acknowledgment fuels my passion to delve deeper into using theoretical knowledge to enhance game design and make more significant contributions to the field.”

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