Microsoft is teaming up with a handful of universities to study if and how computer games can be useful in education for teaching students math, science, and technology. The research project has Microsoft working with NYU as well as City University of New York, Columbia University, Dartmouth College, Parsons the New School for Design, and the Rochester Institute of Technology. Columbia’s Teachers College and NYU’s Polytechnic Institute. The test subjects in this study will be middle school students.
Why middle school? According to Ken Perlin, an NYU professor of computer science, in middle school many students “become discouraged or uninterested and pour their time at home into gaming. We think gaming is our starting point to draw them into math, science, and technology-based programs.”
The research study will be called the “Games for Learning Institute.” The budget is $3 million. Microsoft will be paying half with the universities chipping in for the other portion. The study hopes to discover what makes games compelling and playable and what elements make them effective for learning…that is, even they are effective for learning. The games used in testing will be deployed along with curricula to 19 NYC area schools where results in the classroom will be tracked. (via Wired Campus)