GLASS Lab to Engage Students and Measure Learning in Video Games
- By: CM Boots-Faubert
- Posted 28th Jun 2012
A new video game design lab will research and develop compelling video games that engage students in innovative ways and provide data on students' comprehension of the core skills deemed critical by states for college and the 21st century workplace.
Announced today at the Aspen Ideas Festival, the Games, Learning and Assessment Lab (GLASS Lab), is managed by the Institute of Play, a non-profit video game, learning and research organization, and developed with support from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Electronic Arts (EA) and the Entertainment Software Association (ESA). GLASS Lab will be based at EA's global headquarters in Redwood City, CA.
GLASS Lab is uniquely positioned to integrate state-led content standards and measure student learning by modifying popular video game titles and creating original video games. Once products are complete, they will be made available to middle and high school students, school districts and families at little or no cost.
"Video games can revolutionize American education and students' testing and learning," said Michael D. Gallagher, president and CEO of ESA, the trade association representing the U.S. video game industry. "We can harness students' passion and energy for video games and utilize that to reach and educate a 21st century workforce with skills critical for college and career readiness."
The Lab is supported by $10.3 million in grants from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
"We are very enthusiastic about the GLASS Lab project," said Robert Torres, Senior Program Officer at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. "We need projects that will work with students and speak to them in their native language - digital media. Through game-based learning, students will be challenged, and teachers and parents can get real-time feedback on student progress."
GLASS Lab reflects a major shift in the way students learn and acquire knowledge. Students today are expected to learn new skills, such as creative problem solving, collaboration and systems thinking, and master new technologies. GLASS Lab will address these new challenges by exploring how video games can be effective environments for learning.
"Learning is changing and so must educational institutions in order to engage kids and ensure they are taught the participatory and creative skills that are needed to succeed in the 21st century," said Connie Yowell, Director of Education at the MacArthur Foundation, which leads a $100-million digital media and learning initiative that aims to determine how digital media are changing the way young people learn, play, socialize, and participate in civic life. "MacArthur is excited about the potential for GLASS Lab to create and apply new video games and innovation to learning."
GLASS Lab is based on the understanding that video games and simulations can validate student learning and provide feedback for teachers and parents on students' progress toward established learning goals. Unlike traditional measurement tools, video games are by nature designed to measure progress since learning is happening, and is captured, in the gaming experience itself.
"The video game industry has experienced a transformative change over the past decade with the advent of new mobile, social and online platforms that have opened up opportunities for gaming in a number of sectors, including education," said Jeff Brown, Senior Vice President of Public Affairs, EA. "We are excited to be a founding partner of GLASS Lab and not only house the organization at our headquarters but lend our world-class IP and talent to the project."
Commenting on the potential of video games to provide evidence of learning, Katie Salen, Executive Director of Institute of Play said: "Video games are data rich environments designed to provide ongoing feedback to players; tapping into this richness has the potential to radically alter the way we approach both teaching and learning."