Developer Firaxis and publisher 2K Games have announced plans to release CivilizationEDU, a modified version of the turn-based historical PC strategy game Civilization V that will be used in schools as a teaching tool. CivilizationEDU will be launched in the fall of 2017. Another popular PC game, Minecraft, is already being modified as an education tool by Microsoft.
Firaxis and Take-Two are teaming up with the nonprofit education company GlassLab on CivilizationEDU. In a press release, Take-Two stated:
CivilizationEDU will provide students with the opportunity to think critically and create historical events, consider and evaluate the geographical ramifications of their economic and technological decisions, and to engage in systems thinking and experiment with the causal/correlative relationships between military, technology, political and socioeconomic development.
In addition, GlassLab Inc. will add a learning analytics engine to CivilizationEDU to capture students' progress and assess their problem-solving skills – harnessing the popularity and innovation of interactive entertainment and turning it into a powerful tool for the classroom and alternative to standardized tests. Teachers who use CivilizationEDU will have access to an online dashboard that will provide reports on students' progress, demonstrating how in-game accomplishments relate to problem solving; developer diaries; gameplay tutorial videos, and instructional resources, including an in-depth gameplay guide and lesson plans aligned to academic and 21st century standards.
Microsoft is currently holding an open beta test for Minecraft Education Edition, with plans for an official launch in the fall of 2016.