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OU K20 Center’s Real-World Simulation Game Receives Students’ Choice Award at International Competition

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K20 Team behind Get a Life accepts Students Choice Award
Image courtesy of EPNAC (I/ITSEC).
December 19, 2019

OU K20 Center’s Real-World Simulation Game Receives Students’ Choice Award at International Competition

NORMAN, OKLA. — A computer game developed by the K20 Center at the University of Oklahoma that allows teenagers to virtually explore life after high school received the Students’ Choice Award at an international educational gaming competition in Orlando, Florida.

At the recent Serious Games Showcase and Challenge, the K20 Center’s Game-Based Learning team won for its entry of the web-based simulation game “Get a Life,” in which students guide a character through important educational, career and civic decisions, learning about the risks and rewards associated with each choice.

The annual competition recognizes excellence in the design of original educational games. Entries are submitted by developers from around the world. During the competition, middle and high school students from nearby school systems play and evaluate select games to collectively choose the winner of the Students’ Choice Award.

“Our game’s recognition as the students’ choice validates our effort to create engaging, multifaceted games,” said Javier Elizondo, coordinator of Game-Based Learning at the K20 Center. “We are very proud of the work that our team does for Oklahoma students.” 

Emmett Mathews, art director of the K20 Center’s Game-Based Learning team, demos “Get a Life” at the Serious Games Showcase and Challenge, held in Orlando earlier this month.
Image courtesy of EPNAC (I/ITSEC)

Released earlier this year, “Get a Life” is a 10- to-15-minute simulation game where students help their character make various life choices. As their character goes through “life,” students learn about the cost of college, the educational requirements of careers, how education can affect income, and how to deal with debt and other setbacks. With 96 different career options, students can explore and discover various professional paths. The assortment of choices throughout the game results in a different journey for their character each time the game is played.

“Get a Life” and other games designed by the K20 Center’s Game-Based Learning team are available at no cost through a partnership with OneNet, the digital communications initiative of the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education. They can be accessed by through the K20 Games Portal at

Another game designed by the K20 Center team was named a finalist in the competition. In “Functions of the Machine,” students solve problems with machines, which helps build a conceptual understanding of mathematical functions.

“Over the week, we had the opportunity to share ‘Get a Life’ and ‘Functions of the Machine’ with students, educators and industry from all over the world,” said Emmett Mathews, art director of the Game-Based Learning team. “From NASA trainers to middle school students, everyone seemed really engaged and excited with both games. Feedback is always helpful but hearing from so many different perspectives and backgrounds was especially meaningful.”

About the Serious Games Showcase and Challenge 

The Serious Games Showcase and Challenge is the premier venue for recognition of excellence in the field of serious games development. Since 2006, it has helped foster creativity and innovation in this genre of educational gaming that focuses on problem-solving, learning objectives and providing feedback, among other goals. The competition is held at the annual Interservice/Industry Training, Simulation and Education Conference. For more information, visit

For more information, call Javier Elizondo at (405) 325-0832 or email



About the K20 Center

The K20 Center for Educational and Community Renewal, located on the University of Oklahoma Research Campus, is a statewide education research and development center which promotes innovative learning through school-university-community collaboration. For more information, visit