Quest to Learn & the Institute of Play

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I spent the day last summer observing new teacher professional development (PD) at Quest 2 Learn (Q2L) in New York City. The school was founded by Katie Salen (co-author of Rules of Play). She also founded Institute of Play, which runs GlassLabs (create of SimCityEDU). Q2L's PD was not too different from other school's, except that game designers are mashed up with teachers on curriculum planning. It bears many similarities with problem-based learning, UbD, and essential questions. Rather than units, there are 10-week "missions," with one or two day "problem sets." The game designers work for the Institute of Play and also have a space in the building called Mission Lab. Most of the games are non-digital, including role playing, card-based, and board games. Games accompany the usual projects. The technology integration was actually on par with my school's (SMART Boards, wi-fi, teacher iPads, laptops).

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After lunch I headed to the Institute of Play to "playtest" a game. This was a public event and many regional teachers attended. The game I played was a socratic debate with a point system - again, a non-digital, face-to-face game. IoP has wonderful free PDF resources on design thinking and systems thinking, called Q-Packs:

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