New ‘project-based’ MOOCs focus on educational games, implementing ed tech

educational-game-designThe place where the video game was invented more than 50 years ago now wants to teach instructors, entrepreneurs, and students how to design games for learning—and it’s hoping the end result will be a new kind of tech tool for the classroom.

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology earlier this month launched a free series of massive open online courses, or MOOCs, beginning with one on the design and development of educational technology. The second course, which begins Oct. 22, focuses on game design. Two upcoming courses will focus on educational games and implementing ed tech.

MIT’s teacher education program already focuses on digital games, among other tools—it developed a middle-school math game, Lure of the Labyrinth, that has a cult following among teachers, and it is piloting a math and science multiplayer online role-playing game. The new courses are being offered through a department called the Education Arcade. But the new courses aim to help students both inside and outside of MIT produce sale-able products. The final project for the first course will be a Kickstarter-like pitch for a new game-based educational technology.

“There has to be a real need,” said Eric Klopfer, director of the Education Arcade, who will host the courses. “What we’d like to get out of it is some great, interesting ideas that maybe some people move forward with.”

Unlike most MOOCs, Klopfer said, the four courses won’t simply feature videotaped lectures and computer-graded problem sets. Most of the work will be group-based, and the instructional material will consist primarily of interviews with experts in the field.

(Next page: More info about these new ‘project-based’ online courses)

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