By: Connie Yowell
In 2012, the MacArthur Foundation, The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Entertainment Software Association, and Electronic Arts worked together to envision a future where the power of games could be used to attract and sustain youth interest in learning while providing high-quality assessment for teachers and administrators.
Launched under the extraordinary leadership of Katie Salen, Jessica Lindl and Michael John, who were joined by a number of game designers, GlassLab Games helped to change the face of assessment and lit a path for how to rigorously integrate games and learning. Game designers, technologists and assessment experts came together to create games that catapulted the industry beyond the “chocolate on top of broccoli” approach, and into games that engaged learners for hours in endless play while also demonstrating statistically reliable evidence of learning gains.
This work required the trust, patience and awe-inspiring creativity of teachers. During the course of 6 years, more than a thousand teachers participated in some way in the effort, ultimately reaching students in almost every state in the U.S. along with students in several foreign countries. GlassLab Games’ success could not have happened without these courageous teachers.
While GlassLab was an incredible success in creating and implementing a field defining an approach to game-based assessments, it was not able to crack the revenue challenge that has befuddled so many in the educational technology sector. After much deliberation, the GlassLab Games’ servers, in its current form, will suspend service beginning December 20, 2018. The servers will be put into an “off-state.” Users trying to access the GlassLab Games platform after this date will be redirected and notified that the platform is not available.
While we are sad to announce the formal shutdown of the GlassLab Games’ server, we are happy to say the games will not go away. Fortunately, the spirit, creativity and energy of the games and learning community are as strong, dynamic and robust as ever. One needs only turn to iCivics, the exciting work in eSports led by Constance Steinkuehler and Kurt Squire to know this work continues to grow and evolve. Because we hope the assets of GlassLab Games may be of value and useful to this extraordinary community, we are open sourcing the code for many of the assets on Github. Please do take a look at these assets and make the most of them. With special thanks to the MacArthur, Gates and Hewlett Foundations, these assets have all been philanthropically funded, were developed with an extraordinary community of designers, teachers, youth, and we believe truly belong to the community. We put them on Github with deep gratitude and appreciation to all who were involved.
For us, this is not the end of the journey. The discoveries and many of the GlassLab team are continuing with LRNG, a connected learning ecosystem that uses games and a combination of online and in-person experiences to support learning and create opportunities for all youth at scale. LRNG is live in 19 cities currently and is continuing to expand. We are thrilled to be able to continue the mission and vision of GlassLab with LRNG. For anyone wanting to discover how our commitment to the potential of games to transform education and assessment lives on through LRNG, check out lrng.org.
If you have any questions about this next stage of our work, feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Here’s to the future of learning!