portalheaderimgwp530px15125Now you’re teaching with portals!

E-books aren’t the only electronic medium that can be used educationally, and game publisher Valve has just announced an educational initiative to turn its Portal 2 game into a teaching tool. Teachers will be granted a limited educational edition of Steam including a free copy of Portal 2, and administrative access to control level sharing.

"We have a limited version of Steam, which is called ‘Steam for Schools.’ And what we’re doing is asking for teachers, after school programs, organizations – anywhere where there’s a student relationship, which includes homeschooling – for them to submit a form to be part of it. It’s still in beta," Valve’s Leslie Redd told attendees of today’s Games for Change festival in New York City. The initiative is a continuation of what Valve head Gabe Newell spoke about during his keynote at last year’s Games for Change event, where he professed ‘no difference’ between education and entertainment approaches.

Perhaps more impressively, Valve is doing this all on its own, without any outside funding or grants. Currently just Valve is involved with the program, though it has been in talks with other publishers about getting involved.

This kind of out-of-the-box thinking is what Valve is good at (heck, their games don’t even have to come in boxes anymore!). Needless to say, since most kids love computer games, this is a great way to attract their attention—not unlike other educational initiatives (like the recently-released Reading Rainbow app) use kids’ love for gadgets to attract them to reading. E-book educational initiatives should pay attention see what they can learn from this for their own programs.

(Found via Engadget.)


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