Press Release: GlassLab Launches SimCityEDU

For Immediate Release
November 7, 2013

GlassLab Launches SimCityEDU to Engage Students and Improve Key 21st Century Skills

Pioneering STEM educational game improves engagement in the classroom, and provides real-time data on student learning that teachers can trust for guiding instruction.

Redwood City, Calif. – November 7, 2013 — Today, GlassLab announced the release of SimCityEDU: Pollution Challenge!, the first of a new generation of educational games built to meet the needs of today’s students. GlassLab has collaborated with ETS, Pearson, the Entertainment Software Association (ESA), and Electronic Arts to create a game-based classroom tool that uses elements from the beloved SimCity™ franchise to engage students in real-world challenges. SimCityEDU: Pollution Challenge! is available for download today by school administrators, educators, students and parents at

SimCityEDU: Pollution Challenge! will be showcased next Thursday, November 14, at the fifth annual Washington Ideas Forum – Washington D.C.’s premier gathering of U.S. policymakers and industry innovators, presented by The Atlantic, the Aspen Institute, and the Newseum.

SimCityEDU: Pollution Challenge! acts as a powerful teaching tool for educators, integrating learning and assessment aligned to Next Generation Science and Common Core Standards in the same experience. Designed for middle school students, the game encourages students to think critically about the challenges facing modern cities and the world around them. In the game, students play the role of “mayor,” addressing issues of environmental impact in a virtual city while maintaining employment levels and citizen happiness.

The suite of SimCityEDU tools includes teacher and student dashboards with easy-to-understand, standards-based reporting, as well as lesson plans to support use in the classroom. Teachers also have access to an online community where they can create, share and browse lesson plans and instructional ideas that are designed to address Common Core and Next Generation Science Standards.

“There is a significant engagement gap in today’s classroom – students spend 10 hours a day consuming digital media but only four hours a week on homework,” said Jessica Lindl, General Manager of GlassLab. “Taking the essential elements of games, we’ve created an educational tool that will keep students excited and engaged in real-world problem solving, while providing teachers with actionable reports aligned to standards.”

“When we launched the reimagined SimCity, we always knew it had the potential to be used in a capacity beyond entertainment,” said Peter Moore, Chief Operating Officer, EA. “Seeing SimCityEDU: Pollution Challenge! come to life in the classroom and encouraging the next generation of leaders to solve today’s real-world challenges is truly inspiring.”

SimCityEDU improves the process of teaching and learning by providing personalized assessment for each individual student. Sophisticated assessment models provide information on student’s abilities to problem-solve, explain the relationships in complex systems, and interpret informational texts and diagrams – rather than just rote memorization of content.

“Video games are empowering and educating today’s youth by harnessing their excitement for the medium. Today’s launch of SimCityEDU: Pollution Challenge! underscores video games’ potential beyond entertainment. The American classroom is transforming and games are emerging as a critical and effective tool in educating tomorrow’s leaders and innovators,” said Michael D. Gallagher, President and CEO, Entertainment Software Association.

SimCityEDU is developed by GlassLab, a ground-breaking collaboration between the nonprofit Institute of Play, EA, and learning experts from Educational Testing Service and Pearson’s Center for Digital Data, Analytics & Adaptive Learning, among others. GlassLab researches and develops 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. It was established in 2012 with $10.3M in grants from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, two of the leading supporters of education innovation initiatives in the United States.

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 and make learning more relevant by connecting it with students’ interests.

“Videogames and other digital media will play a crucial role in the future of education,” said Dr. Connie Yowell, Director of Education at the MacArthur Foundation. “I’m proud to see how this partnership has developed and I believe that GlassLab will have a significant impact on the way we teach and assess the 21st century skills that are critical for college and career readiness.”

SimCityEDU: Pollution Challenge! is available for download today from specialized partners Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, SMS Tech Solutions, Edmodo and, in addition to other distributors. For more information, please visit


A project of Institute of Play, GlassLab brings together leaders in commercial games and experts in learning and assessment to leverage digital games as powerful, data-rich learning and formative assessment environments. The Lab represents a groundbreaking collaboration between Institute of Play, the Entertainment Software Association, Electronic Arts, Educational Testing Service, Pearson’s Center for Digital Data, Analytics & Adaptive Learning and others. GlassLab is supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.

Institute of Play

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

SimCity is a trademark of Electronic Arts Inc.

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