GlassLab Press Release


JUNE 28, 2012



Ground-Breaking Lab Will Research and Develop Digital Games To Engage Students And Measure Learning

GlassLab will develop game-based tools to validate student learning of core skills identified by states for college and career success

Aspen, Colorado – June 28, 2012 – The launch of GlassLab (The Games, Learning and Assessment Lab), an unprecedented research and development effort, was announced today at the Aspen Ideas Festival. The Lab is being launched with support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, Electronic Arts (EA) and the Entertainment Software Association (ESA) and is a project of Institute of Play, a non-profit design studio that works at the intersection of games and learning.

GlassLab will research and develop digital game-based learning and assessment tools that engage students in innovative ways and validate student learning of the core skills deemed critical by states for college and the 21st century workplace.

“Video games can revolutionize American education and students’ testing and learning,” said Michael D. Gallagher, president and CEO of ESA, the trade association representing the U.S. video game industry. “We can harness students’ passion and energy for video games and utilize that to reach and educate a 21st century workforce with skills critical for college and career readiness.”

The Lab is supported by $10.3 million in grants from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.

“We are very enthusiastic about the GlassLab project,” said Robert Torres, Senior Program Officer at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. “We need projects that will work with students and speak to them in their native language: digital media. Through game-based learning, students will be challenged, and teachers and parents can get real-time feedback on student progress.”

GlassLab reflects a major shift in the way students learn and acquire knowledge. Students today are expected to learn new skills, such as creative problem solving, collaboration and systems thinking, and master new technologies. GlassLab will address these new challenges by exploring how digital games can be effective environments for learning.

“Learning is changing and so must educational institutions in order to engage kids and ensure they are taught the participatory and creative skills that are needed to succeed in the 21st century,” said Connie Yowell, Director of Education at the MacArthur Foundation, which leads a $100-million digital media and learning initiative that aims to determine how digital media are changing the way young people learn, play, socialize, and participate in civic life. “MacArthur is excited about the potential for GlassLab to create and apply new video games and innovation to learning.”

GlassLab is based on the understanding that digital games and simulations can support student learning by providing immediate feedback for students, teachers and parents on students’ progress toward established learning goals.

“The video game industry has experienced a transformative change over the past decade with the advent of new mobile, social and online platforms that have opened up opportunities for gaming in a number of sectors, including education,” said Jeff Brown, Senior Vice President of Public Affairs, EA. “We are excited to be a founding partner of GlassLab and not only house the organization at our headquarters but lend our world-class IP and talent to the project.”

Commenting on the potential of games to provide evidence of learning, Katie Salen, Executive Director of Institute of Play, said: “Games are data rich environments designed to provide ongoing feedback to players; tapping into this richness feels like a very powerful strategy both for assessing learning and designing learning experiences that are deeply engaging.”

Electronic Arts

Electronic Arts (NASDAQ: EA) is a global leader in digital interactive entertainment. The Company delivers games, content and online services for Internet-connected consoles, personal computers, mobile phones, tablets and social networks. EA has more than 220 million registered players and operates in 75 countries.

In fiscal 2012, EA posted GAAP net revenue of $4.1 billion. Headquartered in Redwood City, California, EA is recognized for a portfolio of critically acclaimed, high-quality blockbuster brands such as The Sims™, Madden NFL, FIFA Soccer, Need for Speed™, Battlefield™ and Mass Effect™. More information about EA is available at

The Sims and Need for Speed are trademarks of Electronic Arts Inc. Mass Effect is a trademark of EA International (Studio and Publishing) Ltd. Battlefield is a trademark of EA Digital Illusions CE AB. John Madden, NFL and FIFA are the property of their respective owners and used with permission.

Entertainment Software Association

ESA offers services to interactive entertainment software publishers including conducting business and consumer research, providing legal and policy analysis and advocacy on First Amendment, intellectual property and technology/e-commerce issues, managing a global anti-piracy program, owning and operating E3, and representing video game industry interests in federal and state government relations. For more information, please visit

Institute of Play

The Institute of Play is a not-for-profit design studio that pioneers new models of learning and engagement. At the core of the experiences Institute of Play creates are games, play and the principles that underlie them. Using these principles, the Institute has created successful institutions, games, programs, events, digital platforms and products. The Institute’s first project was the design and launch of the innovative New York City public school, Quest to Learn. For more information, please visit

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