Quest to Learn

Posted by Phineas Upham

There’s a new school in town that uses video games to teach lessons. In “Learning by Playing,” writer Sara Corbett unveils the experimental middle school in New York called Quest to Learn. It was founded in 2009 by video game designer Katie Salen, who, according to the article, believes that going to school “can and should be more like playing a game…”  In addition to playing video games to learn lessons, students enrolled in Quest to Learn don’t get grades. They achieve levels of expertise, much like levels in video games. Lessons are “quests,” and many challenges combine skills from different subjects. The students at this unconventional school also get to build games.

This lengthy but interesting article is a great look at what it takes to develop and run a school that incorporates the latest technology to help kids learn. The author introduces us to Salen and why she founded this school in the first place. Salen tells the authors, “There’s been this assumption that school is the only place that learning is happening, that everything a kid is supposed to know is delivered between 8 a.m. and 3 p.m., and it happens in the confines of a building. But the fact is that kids are doing a lot of interesting learning outside of school. We acknowledge that, and we are trying to bring that into their learning here.”

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