The nonprofit John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation today announced that it has awarded a grant of $1.1 million to assist in the development of a New York City public school aimed at teaching literacy and other skills through “game design and game-inspired methods” to children in grades 6-12.
The grant from the MacArthur Foundation towards this effort comes as part of the larger $50 million grant the organization set aside late last year, which is designed to be dispersed over five years to help examine the impact of technology on children and the ways in which they learn, both inside and outside the classroom.
According to a new report by National Public Radio, the new middle and high school school is set to open in fall 2009, and is being created by New York City nonprofit Gamelab Institute of Play, along the educationally-minded nonprofit, New Visions for Public Schools.
The project hopes to “re-imagine the traditional school from top to bottom,” according to New Visions president Robert Hughes, who adds that by focusing on concepts such as “gaming literacy” those establishing the school hope to better prepare children for success in college and in their future careers.
Gamelab Institute of Play hopes to spearhead a two year think tank wherein game designers, literacy experts, and educators will work together to define the project's goals and underlying vision. The organization will also partner with New Visions to ensure that the school’s curriculum also meets New York City's graduation standards as well.
Said Gamelab Institute of Play executive director Katie Salen, “We are conceiving the school as a dynamic learning system that takes its cues from the way games are designed, shared and played. All players in the school – teachers, students, parents and administrators – will be empowered to innovate using 21st century literacies that are native to games and design.”
“This means learning to think about the world as a set of in interconnected systems that can be affected or changed through action and choice, the ability to navigate complex information networks, the power to build worlds and tell stories, to see collaboration in competition, and communicate across diverse social spaces. It means that students and teachers will engage in their own learning in powerful ways,” she added.