The first semester of New York City's Quest to Learn began last week on the 9th, with an inaugural class of around 75 sixth graders in NYC's Chelsea neighborhood taking classes that employ games (of all types) in learning. "One thing I want to emphasize: this is not a school about just playing video games ... this is a school that uses the system of games to deliver rich discussion," the school's principal, Aaron Schwartz, told Joystiq over the phone this morning. "We use games as a medium here." Education at Quest to Learn is delivered through a variety of means other than games, though game systems are a focus for teaching the specific subset of student that Q2L targets: "digital kids."
We pressed him on exactly how the students will be using games like LittleBigPlanet to assist with education. "Right now, one of our classes called 'The Way Things Work' [math/science] is using clips from LittleBigPlanet to introduce this race called the 'Troggles' who are having problems with how things work," he said. " Our kids are studying simple machines, so the Troggles have reached out to our children for help building their machines." As the semester progresses, students will build on their knowledge by creating something a bit more complex -- a Rube Goldberg machine. "Some of them will be doing it in actuality, some may be doing it virtually, and from there they'll use LBP to understand other concepts."
Quest to Learn plans on adding one new grade annually (up to 12) and is currently hiring teachers for next year.