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spacer spacer spacer spacer October 30, 2008
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RIT, Microsoft integrate video games into middle-school classrooms

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Andy Phelps

Video games may be coming to a middle-school classroom near you.

RIT has teamed with Microsoft, New York University and a consortium of other colleges and universities to form the Games for Learning Institute, a first-of-its-kind multidisciplinary gaming research alliance that’s set to prove that video games can make great learning tools.

“Technology has the potential to help reinvent the education process and excite and inspire young learners to embrace science, math and technology,” says Craig Mundie, chief research and strategy officer at Microsoft. “The Games for Learning Institute is a great example of how technology can change how students learn, making it far more natural and intuitive.”

The institute’s goal is to provide scientific evidence that gaming can be an effective way to teach middle- school students math and science.

“We think gaming is an appropriate and interesting gateway to the study of these skills for this particular audience,” says Andy Phelps, director of RIT’s game design and development program. “We think this, but through this institute, we’re going to prove it.”

Microsoft, which has a longstanding relationship with RIT, approached Phelps and asked RIT to join the institute. Phelps agreed, sensing a great opportunity for graduate students to get hands-on professional experience.

“Our students are going to be building the engines that drive these games,” says Phelps. “We’re going to be the technical resource for the institute.”

Once the games are completed, they’ll be offered to the New York City school district for integration into its science and math curriculum.

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John Follaco

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