Erin Hoffman is an amazingly smart and talented game developer. We crossed paths when I was an editor at The Escapist. She wrote a number of thoughtful articles for me about creating video games, and playing them. So when she called me in 2014 to see if I was interested in learning about her new project, I couldn’t resist.
Turns out her new project was GlassLab, a non-profit organization created with help form the Gates & MacArthur foundations to tackle the challenges of learning assessment with video games.
I spent time with erin and GlassLab’s visionary leader, Michael John (co-creator of Spyro the Dragon, the first “Skylander”) at their San Francisco office and “The Tech” museum in San Jose. At The Tech they were playtesting one of their games with real-world kids, moistly elementary age sorts on field trips. In San Francisco they were using Minecraft to see what high school age kids could learn using nothing but the game.
Seeing the experiments and meeting the team was fun, but what was most revelatory was coming to understand the massive challenges faced by educators in America. And how video games can help solve those problems.