Games for Learning (G4LI) Meeting Looks at Video Games in the Classroom

Video games and their potential for stimulating children’s imaginations and fostering learning was the subject of an all-day meeting held by the Games for Learning Institute (G4LI).

James H. Shelton III, Assistant Secretary for Innovation and Improvement at the U.S. Department of Education gave opening remarks at the Games for Learning Institute’s May 28th conference, “Games for Learning: A Discussion of the Potential of Video Games to Transform the Future of Learning.” The event, sponsored by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, brought together researchers, educators, media professionals, policy makers and philanthropists to discuss the transformational force of digital tools in the field of education.

Shelton challenged his audience to brainstorm about how digital media, especially games, can help bridge in-class and out of class learning, and support the lowest performing students.

“The assistant secretary asked us to think about where games might be used to enhance student learning — from the design of research-based games for learning that are tied to standards, in-game assessment of learning, teacher professional development, and funding for all these ventures, ” said Jan L. Plass, an associate professor in Steinhardt’s Department of Administration, Leadership and Technology, co-director of the G4LI.

Plass noted that the questions will be used to shape the future research of the institute and will be reflected in the curriculum and practices in School of One, a collaborative school-venture it is undertaking with New York City’s Department of Educaiton.

The G4LI is a joint research endeavor of Microsoft Research and a consortium of universities. The partners include: Columbia University, the City University of New York (CUNY), Dartmouth College, Parsons, Polytechnic Institute of NYU, the Rochester Institute of Technology, Chile’s Pontifical Catholic University, and Teachers College as well as NYU. The Institute’s aim is to identify which qualities of computer games engage students and develop relevant, personalized teaching strategies that can be applied to the learning process.

Photo (left to right): Susan Stratton (G4LI), James Shelton (US DOE), Alex Quinn (Games for Change), Ken Perlin (NYU), Jan Plass (NYU).