GlassLab, a collaboration between Institute of Play, Electronic Arts, the ESA and others, strives to improve education through the use of digital games. The lab's first game, SimCityEDU: Pollution Challenge!,will be integrated into select U.S. school ciriculums next month.
Starting November 7, students grades 6 – 8 will be challenged by the modified version of EA's SimCity game from earlier this year to take on the roll of mayor and deal with environmental issues such as pollution while keeping their citizens happy and employed.
"What GlassLab offers is a first real glimpse of how we can integrate learning and assessment into the exact same experience," said Connie Yowell, Director of Education of the MacArthur Foundation, one of GlassLab's financial supporters, "and not only provide assessment and an extraordinarily rich array of tools for teachers but also provide immediate feedback for students."
SimCity creative director Stone Librande says he really likes the GlassLab initiative:
"They are taking the software, and they are able to take the time and energy to focus it just for educational uses. They can go into our interfaces and change them around, and custom-tailor them to a certain age range of kid, for a certain classroom setting and lesson plan that they've devised."
SimCityEDU started beta testing in 65 schools last month. No word on if this version of SimCity requires a constant internet connection.
-Reporting from San Diego, GamePolitics Contributing Editor Andrew Eisen