The MIT Education Arcade has announced a $3 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to research, design, and build a massively multiplayer online game (MMOG) to help high school students learn math and biology.
In contrast to the ways in which science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) are currently taught in secondary schools, MIT hopes to develop a game that enables students to explore STEM topics in a way that deepens their knowledge while developing skills they need in today's workplace. The project will be led by Education Arcade director Eric Klopfer, who created StarLogo TNG, a platform for helping children create three-dimensional simulations and games using a graphical programming language.
According to Klopfer, the MMOG genre of online games "is uniquely suited to teaching the nature of science inquiry, because they provide collaborative, self-directed learning solutions. Players take on the roles of scientists, engineers, and mathematicians to explore and explain a robust virtual world."