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Serious Games & The Future Of Learning

Via: RC/A Digital Media - The Future of Learning

Richard Carey reports on his latest post that, beginning this September, New York City will be home to
Quest to Learn, one of the most innovative 6-12th grade public schools in the country.

Future Learning Now

Created in collaboration with
New Visions for Public Schools and the Institute of Play, Quest is a translation of the underlying form of games into a powerful pedagogical model for its 6-12th graders.

Games work as rule-based learning systems, creating worlds in which players actively participate, use strategic thinking to make choices, solve complex problems, seek content knowledge, receive constant feedback, and consider the point of view of others.

As is the case with many of the games played by young people today, Quest is designed to enable students to “take on” the identities and behaviors of explorers, mathematicians, historians, writers, and evolutionary biologists as they work through a dynamic, challenge-based curriculum with content-rich questing to learn at its core.

Quest fosters the type of learning that is possible today—learning based on access to online resources and tools from around the globe, learning that supports customized content for every student on demand, learning that is game-like in its ability to inspire and motivate.

It’s important to note that Quest is not a school whose curriculum is made up of the play of commercial videogames, but rather a school that uses the underlying design principles of games to create highly immersive, game-like learning experiences for students. Games and other forms of digital media also model the complexity and promise of “systems.” Understanding and accounting for this complexity is a fundamental literacy of the 21st century.

The school’s learning model is carefully designed to enable all students, regardless of any academic challenges they bring, to contribute to the design and innovation necessary to meet the needs and demands of a global society. At Quest, a curiosity for learning paired with a commitment to social responsibility and respect for others defines the school culture. "Learn how, learn now," is their motto.

Design and innovation are at the heart of Quest to Learn (Q2L), a school committed to helping every student to achieve excellence in the skills and literacies necessary for college and career readiness. They believe that students today can and do learn in different ways, often through interaction with digital media and games. Q2L builds on this belief to create a nurturing and vibrant 6th-12th grade school environment that supports all students in the pursuit of academic excellence, social responsibility, respect for others, and a passion for lifelong learning.

New York PostSchool Is All Play

Don't forget to play your homework!

A first-of-its-kind Manhattan public school will use video games to engage kids in learning the basics of math, reading and science.

Quest to Learn opens this fall with a class of 81 sixth-graders and will expand to become a high school. It's a place where programming will be taught as a foreign language and role playing will be a technique for exploring history.

Students will also regularly use digital media like blogs, the video-link program Skype and a custom-made social networking site to create projects and share their ideas with their classmates. "This is the first school that philosophically is looking at the structure of games as a kind of learning model," said Katie Salen, 41, director of the nonprofit Institute of Play and a founder of the school.

Salen was quick to dismiss the notion that kids would be sitting around with laptops playing video games, but added that "there are a set of games we think are interesting for kids to play in relation to what's happening in the classroom."

One of those games is "Civilization," a computer-based strategy game where students build an empire. Teachers would weave in history lessons about Mesopotamia or ancient Greece to help guide kids' strategies, Salen said.

As the school grows through the 12th grade, its founders hope to begin using cellphones for lessons on mapping and to turn the Nintendo DS into a learning tool. "They're building content and curriculum around the kinds of devices that kids use in their everyday life anyway," said Steve Dowling, a vice president of the educational-publishing firm Pearson, which is supporting the school.

Still without a site, Quest to Learn - nicknamed Q2L - is expected to open near the New School University in Greenwich Village.