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    The Games for Learning Institute


    …Pursuing the art and science of designing educational
    games…

    Most people would agree that a good game could help students
    learn. But what, exactly, makes a game good?

    With their vast popularity and singular ability to engage young
    people, digital games have been hailed as a new paradigm for
    education in the 21st century. But researchers know surprisingly
    little about how successful games work. What are the key
    design elements that make certain games compelling, playable,
    and fun? How do game genres differ in their educational
    effectiveness for specific topics and for specific learners? How
    do kids learn when they play games? Does the setting (classroom
    vs. casual) matter? How can games be used to prepare
    future learning, introduce new material, or strengthen and
    expand existing knowledge? How are games designed to best
    facilitate the transfer of learning to the realities of students’
    everyday lives? And how can we use all of this knowledge to
    guide future game design?

    The Games for Learning Institute (G4LI) seeks to answer these
    and other critical questions, pointing the way to a new era of
    game use in education. The Institute was established in 2008
    with a prestigious grant from Microsoft Research, and supplemental
    funding from the Motorola Foundation. Based at New
    York University, the Institute brings together 14 game designers,
    computer scientists, and education researchers from 9
    partner institutions, including Columbia, City University of New
    York, Dartmouth, NYU, NYU-Poly, Parsons, Chile’s Pontifica
    Universidad Catolica, Rochester Institute of Technology, and
    Teacher’s College. The active participation of globally acknowledged
    digital pioneers on the G4LI Advisory Board—including
    Alan Kay, Jaron Lanier, Mitch Resnick, and Will Wright—both
    reflects and strengthens the Institute’s pursuit of innovation,
    excellence, and best practices.

    G4LI applies a scientifically rigorous approach that uses both
    quantitative and qualitative methods. Researchers study existing
    games, identify key design elements and learning patterns,
    develop prototype “mini games” based on these elements and
    patterns, test them in classroom and informal learning settings,
    and evaluate the results. G4LI’s initial focus is on digital games
    as tools for teaching science, technology, engineering, and
    math—STEM subjects—at the critical middle-school level.

    G4LI is generously supported by Microsoft Research and the Motorola Foundation.

    G4LI bios and advisory board