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GDC 2007: Serious Games Engaging Students In True Play

Via: Game Developers Conference 2007 - Track: SGS: Game Design
Session Labyrinth: Keeping the Play in Learning Games

LABYRINTH is a multi-player puzzle adventure game, designed to promote math and literacy skills, and targeting middle-school students.

The game will explore new approaches to storytelling, player collaboration, and pedagogy. Delivered both online and on handheld devices, it will also represent a new distribution model. Unlike many learning games that attempt to recycle classroom activities in interactive form, Labyrinth seeks to engage students in authentic play, and to help them build intellectual scaffolding that will benefit their formal academic learning.

Maryland Public Television (MPT) has selected FableVision, Inc., an internationally-acclaimed educational media producer and publisher, as the new development team member for the groundbreaking game. FableVision is collaborating with MPT and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) to produce the online software game.

The game is part of MPT's Learning Games To Go initiative (LG2G), the centerpiece of a $15 million grant awarded from the U.S. Department of Education Star Schools program. Tasked with using games as a gateway to improving math and literacy skills, MPT and FableVision are joined in this project by game designers and theorists from MIT's renowned Education Arcade, which includes director of MIT's Comparative Media Studies Program, Professor Henry Jenkins, III, and Creative Director Scot Osterweil (of Zoombini's software fame).

MPT’s dynamic K-12 educational supersite will serve as the online entry point to the game, which will invite students on an interactive quest. Students will embark on an interactive journey through a challenging maze full of mythical creatures, adventures and puzzles. Leveraging the best in game theory research, the online software is being designed to engage today’s digital-native youth with rich graphics, storytelling, and compelling interactivity.

Additional production under MPT’s LG2G initiative are simulations using virtual reality technology created in partnership with Johns Hopkins University Center for Technology in Education and the Applied Physics Lab.

Follow the progress of the Learning Games to Go initiative at the project website Got Game?

About The Education Arcade (TEA)

A consortium of international game designers, publishers, scholars, educators, and policy makers who are exploring the new frontiers of educational media that have been opened by computer and video games. Their mission is to demonstrate the social, cultural, and educational potential of games by initiating new game development projects, coordinating interdisciplinary research efforts, and informing public conversations about the broader and sometimes unexpected uses of this emerging art form in education. In short, they aspire to lead change in the way the world learns through computer and video games.