Microsoft and academic partners will be exploring how videogames can push math and science education to new levels through a newly-founded institute.
Microsoft and New York University announced Tuesday the Games for Learning Institute (G4LI), which "will identify which qualities of computer games engage students and develop relevant, personalized teaching strategies that can be applied to the learning process," according to a statement.
Also involved in G4LI is a consortium of universities including Columbia University, the City University of New York, Dartmouth College, Parsons, Polytechnic Institute of NYU, the Rochester Institute of Technology and Teachers College.
Microsoft Research is giving $1.5 million in funding to G4LI, and NYU and the university consortium are providing an additional $1.5 million for a total of $3 million.
The funding will cover the first three years of the institute’s research, Microsoft said, "evaluating computer games as potential learning tools for science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) subjects at the middle-school years (grades 6-8)."
NYU computer science professor Ken Perlin said, "Many students become discouraged or uninterested and pour their time at home into gaming. Ironically, we think gaming is our starting point to draw them into math, science and technology-based programs."
Eventually the program hopes to focus on all grades from kindergarten to high school. Findings will be shared with game developers, educators and other researchers.
Perlin will serve as co-director G4LI with Jan Plass, associate professor of educational communication and technology at NYU’s Steinhardt School of Culture, Education and Human Development.