Hi all,

Seems VALVe has made their awesome Orange Box gem, Portal, free to download until September 20. They state that educators have been using it to teach physics in the classroom! How cool is that? For those who haven’t played it, the game is basically all about solving puzzles (i.e. getting from the beginning of a level to the end) and using momentum created by jumping into user-created portals (you get to make 2 of them at any time, and either act as an entrance or an exit) to get to otherwise unreachable areas.

I’m not sure if using it to teach physics is a stretch or not, but I do know that VALVe is pretty on top of releasing their SDKs for their games. With this in mind, I can definitely see companies creating “educational mods” for games like Portal to make it more school-friendly. I think I would be focusing too much on having fun with the game rather than learning from it, as it stands now… but who knows, add some numbers over my head when I speed through portals (“V = 5 m/s”), let me solve equations in-game… and I think I’d be able to do a LOT of learning!

That said, I’d be interested in playing it in a school setting without any mods to see what educators have already come up with. Anyone have any interesting ideas as to how teachers have taught using only the game?


– Omid