Gaming Tech to Help Teachers and First Responders in Emergencies

Technology > Security

EDGE is a virtual training program that teaches law enforcement and teachers to respond to a particular situations / Photo by BagoGames via Flickr


Classes, as well as other well-attended events like concerts and festivals, are at risk of violent attacks in the United States. This year alone has seen several shootings that took place in populated areas, taking the lives of the many people present. The US also has a history of school shootings, citing calls for preparation and training for authorities in these situations to protect students. Fortunately, a new type of platform can be used to train for almost any kind of event like this, and it can be used for both first-responders as well as educators.

This new system is built on a gaming engine and is called the Enhanced Dynamic Geo-Social Environment (EDGE). EDGE is a virtual training platform that allows teachers and law enforcement to join different scenarios, where they have to respond to particular situations. This system uses the Unreal 4 gaming engine, which is also used by the most popular game in the world right now, Fortnite. Due to the nature of the graphics as well as the immersion in these training programs, EDGE can allow its users to role-play very complex situations to reinforce their coordination, communication. and decision-making -- all of which being skills that could save lives down the line. The user can choose from different avatars based on their real-life role - like teachers, administrators, school resource officers, and so on. EDGE also comes equipped with a lot of interesting scenarios, and can even be customized to fit a new kind of scenario each time, so that people can be prepared for almost every kind of event in their work environment. This system was created by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the Science and Technology Directorate (S&T), the US Army Simulation and Training Technology Center (STTC), and the Cole Engineering Services Inc. (CESI).

Milt Nenneman, the S&T EDGE program manager, states, ”While EDGE leverages the best that gaming technology has to offer, it is important to note that it is not a traditional video game. There are no winners or losers, and there are no pre-programmed situations to react to.”  EDGE can allow companies to customize their own lesson plan, with different outcomes based on the action of the user.