Today there was a Google Hangout showing a little bit of SimCityEdu, the educational version of SimCity, and discussion about it. I am not a teacher [tried it, did not work out.] but even I can see advantages in for instance social studies, government and just improving general knowledge. In this article I will talk about some of the key differences that I saw in the hang out.
- You can ask students to do something specific, work on a certain problem instead of freeplay for which SimCity is known.
- When you are done with the problem the student can get performance feedback, suggesting waht they should focus more on next time. “Think more about how the job system works”
- There are also visual graphs that shows the teacher how well the students how well are doing. Students will also have access to this, with less details I believe.
- Overall my understanding is that SimCityEdu has less overall gameplay/freeplay and more guided goals. SimCity is a game you can spend 100s of hours on and a class hour is 50min? I can see some challenge there for the Glasslab people.
SimCityEdu will be pilot tested this summer (if you are a teacher, you can apply for this!) with a release date somewhere in the fall. The goal is to keep the game low cost and it seems to be aimed for middle school students, maybe highschool too.