Based on US Government data, American universities are producing barely one-third of the graduates needed to fill the growing demand for workers in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). It’s a big challenge that highlights the need for innovation in how we teach STEM education to US students.
On the belief that STEM learning can be fun, EA, Maxis and the GlassLab today announced an initiative to modify EA’s new SimCity game for educational purposes. It’s a program designed to attract students to high-wage jobs in research, technology and game development.
Maxis will unveil SimCity on March 5, but in the meantime we’ll be working with GlassLab to launch SimCityEDU, a website dedicated to the thousands of educators who use SimCity in their classroom. SimCityEDU.org will serve as an online resource and community for teachers to create and share lesson plans that use this great game as a centerpiece for learning.
Today we kicked off the SimCityEDU initiatives in Washington, DC, with a White House meeting and a panel at the US Conference of Mayors with Grammy award-winning artist John Legend, the MacArthur Foundation, Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter and education experts from the White House. The group engaged in a spirited discussion on the importance of community-centered, connected learning with a focus on public-private partnerships whose goals are to advance STEM education, including EA and GlassLab’s collaborative effort on SimCityEDU.
GlassLab is a game development studio that is housed at the EA headquarters and supported by EA, the Gates Foundation, the MacArthur Foundation, our national trade association the Entertainment Software Association (ESA) and several other education-focused organizations. GlassLab is bringing together the best minds in games, learning and assessment to tackle some of the toughest problems facing education today using game mechanics.
On January 21, President Obama’s inauguration, EA will be joining John Legend, Pharrell Williams and Malin Akerman to host a party with a purpose. “Learn, Build, Create,” will be the late-night after-party of all inaugural events on the rooftop of the W Hotel featuring SimCity. This event is a non-partisan event to bring together leaders in education and technology to celebrate the importance of education and cutting edge public-private partnerships such as programs like GLASS Lab and SimCityEDU.
On a personal note, this was one of the best days in my ten years in the videogame business – an industry I’m really proud of. Harnessing the power of games for STEM education has so much potential and I’m excited to see what the future holds. My job has never felt more rewarding.
Join the conversation on Twitter by sharing how you would use videogames to reimagine education by using the hashtag #LearnBuildCreate so we can hear your ideas and share them with the GlassLab and SimCityEDU teams.