Microsoft Research, New York University, and a consortium of university partners announced the Games for Learning Institute (G4LI), a multidisciplinary, multi-institutional gaming research alliance seeking evidence to support games as learning tools for math and science subjects among middle-school students.
With its research, G4LI hopes to identify which qualities of video games engage students and develop relevant, personalized teaching strategies that can be applied to the learning process.
Microsoft Research will provide $1.5 million to the institute, with NYC and its consortium of partners matching Microsoft's investment for a combined $3 million.
The funding will cover the first three years of G4LI's research, which will focus on evaluating video games as potential learning tools for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) subjects at the middle-school years. G4LI will work with a range of student populations and will focus on underrepresented middle-school students, such as girls and minorities.
The consortium partners include Columbia University, the City University of New York (CUNY), Dartmouth College, Parsons, Polytechnic Institute of NYU, the Rochester Institute of Technology, and Teachers College.
Through its Gaming Initiative, since Microsoft Research has invested over $3 million in gaming kits, assessment studies, academic funding, and the Academic Games and Computer Science Game Cruise since 2004.
"While educational games are commonplace, little is known about how, why or even if they are effective," says John Nordlinger, senior research manager for Microsoft Research’s gaming efforts.
He continues, "Microsoft Research, together with NYU and the consortium of academic partners, will address these questions from a multidisciplinary angle, exploring what makes certain games compelling and playable and what elements make them effective, providing critically important information to researchers, game developers and educators to support a new era of using games for educational purposes."