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Arizona State University launches educational lab to promote learning through video games

AZ Inno

Arizona State University is using a $5 million grant to launch a new center for experiential, video game-based education.

The Endless Games and Learning Lab is part of ASU’s “Realm 5” initiative, which brings together technology and advanced research through global partnerships to create accessible, intense, personalized learning experiences. Those experiences involve making and playing games, and the lab is envisioned as a place to foster professional development and academic growth.

ASU President Michael Crow announced the lab earlier this week at the ASU + GSV Summit put on by the university and Global Silicon Valley.

“The Endless Games and Learning Lab represents a whole new era in education,” ASU President Michael Crow said in a statement. “By merging cutting-edge technology and engaging game environments, the Endless Lab will redefine the future of games, learning and opportunity, and empower individuals and communities around the world.”

Arizona State has long been lauded as one of the most innovative colleges in the nation, and the school has already this year launched a new partnership to create at research and development center focused on semiconductor advanced packaging.

The grant money for ASU’s latest innovation comes from Endless Network, which describes itself as a global network of companies, foundations, nonprofits and others promoting technology to improve lives. It aims to use games to advance education and seeks to widen access to devices and broadband.

“Endless Network empowers the next generation to succeed in the digital economy,” the network’s founder and CEO Matt Dalio said in a statement. “We share ASU’s commitment to harnessing the transformative power of game design to advance learning across multiple disciplines. Endless Lab has the potential to enable millions of students to become creators through scalable game-based learning experiences.”

The Endless Lab will be part of the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts and will be located in Mesa at ASU’s Media and Immersive eXperience (MIX) Center. The university’s Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College, Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering and Thunderbird School of Global Management will all be involved in the lab.

ASU said the lab’s approach is based on John Dewey’s educational philosophy focused on a learner’s everyday experience, rather than on a top-down approach. Crow emphasized the need for new educational technology as well as new approaches in mentorship, peer learning, assessment and curricular design.

“Almost half a billion global youth between the ages of 15 and 30 are not in school or are unemployed,” Crow said. “Existing systems of education don’t meet learners where they are. As educators, we must find ways to build personalized learning and work pathways that are integrated into the interests, habits and lives of young people.”

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