The Games-to-Teach Project, which is run in partnership between MIT's Program in Comparative Media Studies and Microsoft Research's Learning Sciences and Technologies Group through iCampus, focuses on the interactive, immersive, and narrative potential of digital games as an educational medium. Over the next year, the project team will explore new pedagogical models using games and apply those to a series of 10 conceptual game prototypes designed to support advanced high school and first-year college science and engineering curricula. Research Assistants will work in teams and with faculty from MIT's Schools of Science and Engineering to develop "pitch" materials for new game ideas, which will be used by CMS and Microsoft to help increase private and public financial support for larger-scale development and deployment of digital games in education.
Professor Henry Jenkins, principal investigator for the project, has suggested, "Until now we've seen so-called 'edutainment' that has all of the entertainment value of a bad lecture and the educational value of a bad game. Our goal is to reverse that polarity by combining MIT-quality science and engineering subjects with state-of-the-art game design." At the same time, the Games-to-Teach Project would like to broaden definitions of what gaming is and can be by designing games that will appeal to a much broader audience than current designs do. Historically, electronic gaming has not appealed to many women -- and many men. For the project to succeed in the end, it will have to suggest a suite of products that attracts a more diverse audience to games and math, science, engineering, and technology.
The Games-to-Teach project is unique in that it's breaking ground in several areas --simultaneously. Some of the many unresolved questions include:
These are only some of the questions the project is addressing. The unresolved nature of these issues is creating a dynamic environment in which all participants are learning from one another in the context of producing some exciting game concepts and designs.