GLASS Lab is doing something pretty impressive, if you haven’t heard.
They are, as we speak, working to develop video game-based tools to validate students’ learning of core skills that are perceived to translate directly to college and career success. GLASS Lab is in the unique position of being able to actually integrate state-led content standards and measure student learning by modifying popular video game titles and creating original video games. This may sound like madness, but once these games are complete, they will be made available to middle and high school students, school districts and families at little or no cost.
[quote]“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.”[/quote]
The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation have awards $10.3 million in grants to GLASS Lab to conduct their work. This is a huge investment, and really shows the commitment that people are willing to throw at this sort of endeavor. Something that would have been unthinkable just a few short years ago. I don’t care if you’re not a fan of the term “edutainment” but it’s only getting bigger. The fact is, games engage people, and engaged people learn the intricacies of the things that engage them.
[quote]“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.”[/quote]
We live in a culture today where the younger generation is bombarded with visual stimuli. From their computers, to their TVs, to their phones, children are not gearing in to the same things that older generations did. When you expose yourself to a specific medium, you become more apt at working with that medium. GLASS Lab intends to capitalize on this in an effort that, if successful, could have profound effects on how we view future prospects of education.
[quote]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.”[/quote]
This is truly an attempt to grasp the future. It’s the utilization of new tools, and new ways of thinking, and it’s doing it for the most worthwhile cause there is. We live in a pretty exciting time, don’t you think?