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MIT developing educational MMO funded by Gates Foundation

Jef Reahard

Is gaming the answer to the math- and science-related apathy plaguing American school kids? Some folks at MIT think so, and a new press blurb outlines how the institute is developing an MMO designed to further science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education.

"In contrast to the way that (STEM) is currently taught in secondary schools –- which often results in students becoming disengaged and disinterested in the subjects at an early age –- educational games like the one to be developed give students the chance to explore STEM topics in a way that deepens their knowledge while also developing 21st-century skills," the release says.

The title is being developed in collaboration with Filament Games, and MIT's Eric Klopfer says that it will be a powerful educational tool. "This genre of games is uniquely suited to teaching the nature of science inquiry," he explains, "because they provide collaborative, self-directed learning situations. Players take on the roles of scientists, engineers and mathematicians to explore and explain a robust virtual world." The project is being financed by a $3 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

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