has announced that it will give Portal 2
away for free to educators. This offer is a part of the new Steam for Schools
initiative, which is an educational version of Steam, specially designed for use by teachers and students in a classroom setting either in a school or an afterschool or summer program setting.Currently only Portal 2 and the Portal 2 Puzzle Maker are available through the initiative. After signing up for a beta, teachers will be able to download Portal 2 and the newly launched Puzzle Maker and sample levels. It will not be possible to share created levels outside of a physical classroom though.
Many may wonder where the educational benefit of Portal lies. Valve has set up a dedicated website called Teach with Portals
to outline the benefits. It says that the games have the potential to be used as experiential learning tools. The site says, "In the Portal world, students interact with physically simulated objects (cubes, catapults, lasers, etc.). The interaction tends to be free-form and experimental and as students encounter new tools and challenges they may develop an intuitive understanding of physical principles such as mass and weight, acceleration, momentum, gravity, and energy. The games also put a premium on critical thinking, spatial reasoning, problem solving, iteration and collaboration skills, and encourage overall inquiry into STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) learning."
There are sample lesson plans
available on-site and Valve is allowing teachers to submit their own. Subjects covered include Physics and Math at the moment, but the website aims to expand into Chemistry, Game Design and Language Arts. There is also the all-encompassing header of Other. Considering Portal originated from the minds of a group of students and features a puzzle maker, it is unsurprising to see Game Design covered as a topic.
Oh to be young and going to school once again. Kids these days don’t know how easy they have it!