The Beat

CRAIG HAGEN

CRAIG HAGEN

EA Government Affairs

POSTED BY Craig Hagen ON Jan 18, 2013

SimCity Breaks Ground in the Classroom

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.   

Comments (10)

  1. 0 0
    Thats awesome! I've been playing Sim City ever since I was 5, I would've loved this if it came out 8 years ago!
    Jan 19, 2013
    1 Reply
    1. 0 0
      Great to hear! Be sure to sign up for updates on the SimCityEDU site!
      Feb 6, 2013
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  2. +1 0
    I have been an EA Sports fan for a very long time and have purchased thosands of dollars in merchandise from them. Just like every year, I purchased Madden 2013 with hopes to enjoy all the new features that the game presents. Unfortunately, I have had errors with the gameface option, where I receive a white screen. I have read now over 30 comments from consumers who've had the same issue. I submitted my first request for help over a month ago and have yet to receive a response or any attempt to resolve the issue. EA , you create amazing products, but I am very disappointed with the lack of follow-up as so many others have experiennced with this game. Please show some of us who have been loyal customers some appreciation.
    Jan 21, 2013
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  3. 0 0
    I have been extolling the potential of games as an enjoyable means of solving world problems for over thirty years, ('even proposed an idea to the Bill and Malinda Gates foundations about 20 years ago. I called it "The Game of Creation"). It's been a long time coming, but at least it's finally here. We need more involvement like this in all aspects of our lives, particularly with our youth who spend millions of hours playing games that have absolutely no redeeming qualities at all. Bravo!
    Jan 25, 2013
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  4. 0 0
    I look forward to simcityedu, but I hope there is some focus on sustainability. It would be great if students can be rewarded by reducing, reusing, recycling, restoring instead of building things that require a lifetime of debt and ruin the planet.
    Jan 25, 2013
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  5. +1 0
    Unfortunetly, it seems the new Sim City is going to be useless to me. I used Sim City 3000 for years in my middle school technology class to teach design, city planning, politics, engineering, problem solving, cause and effect, etc. This past summer my classroom received new computers and Sim City 3000 is no longer compatible. It seems that we are going to have to play through the Internet for this new Sim City. Our county will never allow this. We are STEM directed and I am so disappointed to learn I will not be able to use this wonderful resource. Educators lose again!
    Jan 28, 2013
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  6. 0 0
    I have played SimCity most of my life. I enjoyed playing computer simulations but hated that the best of the old ideas from previous games did not get passed on to the next game in the series. I think hydro power was a good idea. I also would like to see a game made up of modules. That way you can buy a basic version of the game for 5 dollars. Then buy add on modules for new buildings, graphics, map editors, building editors, utility editors, vehicle packs, train packs, transport packs and more.
    Feb 1, 2013
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  7. 0 0
    Mr Hagen, I am a Senior Director of a large B2B software company with an education need that lead me here. Concept: SIMS Work. A SIMS based education tool that helps players understand how a business works from the Owner/Manager's P.O.V. SIMS would help players visualize supply, demand, finance, staffing, real estate & facilities needs, inventory, advertising, Profits and Loss, taxes, the businesses relationship with the community, etc... The game would need to be industry specific
    Feb 24, 2013
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  8. 0 0
    cont'd... I can see this working for private and public orgs. From Hospitals to Car Dealerships. From Police Stations to Walmart. Conceptually, this is a SIMS education opportunity with several distribution channels. Benefactors include public and private edu's. From my needs, our B2B Software industry needs its ENTIRE staff to understand the day to day challenges of the organization it's trying to assist. HTH.
    Feb 24, 2013
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  9. 0 0
    We have had to cancel our Sim City clubs because students can't access the game without downloading the Origin client on our school districts computers which is prohibited. I hope this is taken into consideration with SimCity.edu.
    Mar 18, 2013
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  10. 0 0
    I wholeheartedly agree with Mr. Pistell. As a Professor of Distribution Economics at a Dutch University I would venture to say that there is a great need for software driven business simulation games, such as SimCity. It could be from an internal standpoint (Operations Management Game, such as the DOS driven games we know today) or from an external standpoint (how to survive in today's economy as a company). I would be great if we could immerse our student during an Intensive Course in that.
    May 8, 2013
    0 Replies