In a few years from now, today’s students might be looking back and fondly remembering the stern and murderous teacher, Ms GLaDOS, who taught them the different ways to represent parabolic motion. Valve have release a series of lesson plans using Portal 2’s physics to as a “science, technology, engineering and math” educational tool.
Valve insist that Portal 2 can be a force for good in education: “We understand that learning is not fulfilled by a one-size-fits-all approach, so we’re engaging with a community of educators, parents and students to create infinite possibilities for learning. The educational version of our Puzzle Maker empowers students and educators to craft unique puzzles, explore worlds, and share custom lesson plans. Teachers can also simply leverage other contributor’s shared lessons, selecting among the best of them to suit their learners’ needs.”
Portal 2 will be free to educators, through a special version of Steam, and Valve have already released a series of lesson plans based around the Portal Puzzle Maker. Valve’s view is that freeform interaction with Portal 2’s physics engine will help students grasp principles such as “mass and weight, acceleration, momentum, gravity, and energy”, and challenge their critical thinking and problem solving.
This might be the first time school IT departments have to worry about their graphics cards.