Back to School with SimCityEDU: Beta Testing is Underway!

As students across the country head back to school, some are greeted by a very special surprise in their new classrooms: a sneak preview of SimCityEDU!

That’s right – about 3,000 students in 65 schools all around the U.S. are participating in a beta pilot of SimCityEDU: Pollution Challenge!, GlassLab’s first game.

Teachers from a whole range of institutions – public schools, private schools, after-school programs and home schools – have volunteered to help GlassLab create a product with the potential to transform the way we view learning and assessment. In fact, they’re not only helping, they’re critical to the work that we’re doing. Here’s why…

First, all of GlassLab’s games sit on top of sophisticated assessment models. We use these models to provide dynamic formative assessments that factor in things like player actions and decision points. This ability to assess the choices students make, and not just rote memorization of content, is part of what makes digital games so full of potential. In order to build these assessment models, though, we need thousands of students to play the game and generate data. Using this data, we can refine our models and ensure that the right formative assessment is delivered to the right student or teacher at the right time.

The second reason we run a beta pilot is to get feedback from students and teachers. Is it fun for students? Do they feel like they’re learning? Is it useful for teachers? Is it easy to implement in a classroom? All these questions and hundreds more can only be answered after we put the game in the hands of the players. The digital data we gather during the beta helps us refine our assessments, but the anecdotal data we collect from teachers and students help us refine the experience we’re trying to create. Nothing is more important than that.

We feel incredibly fortunate to have classrooms of nearly every subject matter, from ELA to Environmental Science, helping us build our game. A huge thanks to all the pilot participants. We couldn’t do this without you!

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