Throw out your textbooks: Games are the future of learning.


January 8, 2009


The new NYU Games for Learning Institute (G4LI), a collaboration between seven universities and Microsoft Research, is dedicated to advancing the design, use, and evaluation of computer games in educational settings, by providing scientific analysis of “what works” in games for learning – what makes certain games compelling and playable, as well as educationally effective. The results provide critical information to researchers, game developers, and educators. The research strategy has three prongs: understand effective design principles; study the impact of
digital media on learning; integrate these results into learning settings. Initial focus is on Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) education for middle school (ages 11-13). This talk will highlight the Institute’s goals and intellectual challenges, and will conclude with a glimpse into the future.


Ken Perlin and Jan Plass

Ken Perlin [] Perlin is a Professor in the Department of Computer Science at New York University. He is the Director of the Media Research Laboratory and the co-Director of the NYU Center for Advanced Technology. His research interests include graphics, animation, and multimedia. In January 2004 he was the featured artist at the Whitney Museum of American Art. In 2002 he received the NYC Mayor’s award for excellence in Science and Technology and the Sokol award for outstanding Science faculty at NYU. In 1997 he won an Academy Award for Technical Achievement from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for his noise and turbulence procedural texturing techniques, which are widely used in feature films and television. In 1991 he received a Presidential Young Investigator Award from the National Science Foundation.Dr. Perlin received his Ph.D. in Computer Science from New York University in 1986, and a B.A. in theoretical mathematics from Harvard University in 1979. He was Head of Software Development at R/GREENBERG Associates in New York, NY from 1984 through 1987. Prior to that, from 1979 to 1984, he was the System Architect for computer generated animation at Mathematical Applications Group, Inc., Elmsford, NY, where the first feature film he worked on was TRON. He has served on the Board of Directors of the New York chapter of ACM/SIGGRAPH, and currently serves on the Board of Directors of the New York Software Industry Association.

Jan L. Plass [] is an associate professor of Educational Communication and Technology in the Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development at New York University, where he co-directs the NYU Games for Learning Institute. He is the founding director of the CREATE Consortium for Research and Evaluation of Advanced Technology in Education. His research is at the intersection of cognitive science, learning sciences, and design, and seeks to enhance the design of visual environments. His current focus is on cognitive and emotional aspects of information design and interaction design of simulations and educational games for science education and second language acquisition. He has received funding for his research from the U.S. Department of Education’s Institute of Education Sciences, the National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Health, and, most recently, from Microsoft Research. Dr. Plass received his MA in Mathematics and Physics Education and his Ph.D. in Educational Technologies from Erfurt University (PH Erfurt, Germany).