University degree programs in game design have been popping up around the country in recent years, but these have largely been dedicated to the creation of games for entertainment purposes.
This fall, New York University’s Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development has launched a ground-breaking degree program in the field: a master of science in game design to enhance learning.
The MS Program in Games for Learning (G4L) is a two-year program that prepares students to create, use, and evaluate digital games for the purpose of learning in school, out of school, and on the go.
The program aims to instill in its students technical skills while also providing a pedagogical and research framework.
“Students are learning to be practitioners who also understand the social, cognitive, emotional, and cultural issues involved in both the design of games and in the learning process,” explains Jan Plass, a professor in NYU Steinhardt’s Department of Administration, Leadership, and Technology and director of the program.
Plass, co-director of the NYU-housed Games for Learning Institute, adds that the program’s curriculum includes a wide range of research areas: game design models and developmental practices; the value of narrative features of game design; and research methods aimed at improving and evaluating the design of games for learning.
The program also has an optional internship that places students in game design studios and similar professional environments where they use their skills and learn about their real-world applications.
Armed with this understanding, students will be able to apply cognitive theories to the building of games for a broad range of learners.
The G4L program is housed at NYU’s Media and Games Network (MAGNET), a facility in downtown Brooklyn’s MetroTech Center that also houses the NYU Game Center and a game engineering program.
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