Valve rolls out "Steam for Schools" to teach math and physics lessons with Portal 2
GLaDOS is recruiting new test subjects, and they might be your kids. Valve has invited educators to sign up for its "Steam for Schools" beta program, which offers a special edition of Steam featuring only Portal 2 and the puzzle maker. The idea is to use Portal 2's mechanics to teach basic physics and spatial reasoning.
The FAQ explains Portal in educational terms: "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."
Current lesson plans include "Introduction to Parabolas with the Puzzle Maker," "Spatial Visualization and Perspectives," and "Building a Simple Harmonic Oscillator." Well, when you put it that way, I no longer feel clever enough to play Portal 2.
More information on Aperture Science's educational efforts be found on the official site.