Kerbal Space Program’s developer Squad has finalised an agreement with TeacherGaming to bring a custom version of the game, KerbalEdu, to 50 schools next month. The team’s rather modest teaching expectations after the break.
While even Kerbal’s developers will admit the hard physics underpinning the title might not be the easiest to learn, TeacherGaming’s CEO Santeri Koivisto says the game does do a good job of teaching “why aeroplanes stay in the sky”.
“Our point of view for education in general and with Kerbal is not that we should teach you force and mass or Newton’s laws, but to get people interested and understanding some of the very basic concepts,” he said. “A lot of schools have one hour per week of computer lab time, which is a ridiculously small amount. So what can you do other than get them excited, get them interested, so that they learn at home?”
Of course, if my experience is at all indicative, an hour with Kerbal Space Program won’t get you into orbit. One of the game’s developers, Mike Geelan, doesn’t see that as a problem though.
“There’s a lot of failure, but there’s some inspiration to achieve better. It’s an iterative process. The first time, it’s just going to explode. The second time, it might come off the pad. The third time, you might get to 30,000 feet.”
In a game with the motto “failure is fun”, Geelan sees children learning alongside the Kerbals, who as a “fledgling space nation” don’t seem to really have any more idea how this all works than you do.
Alongside TeacherGaming’s MinecraftEdu, it seems like it must be a pretty good time to be a kid in school with these kind of games around. Certainly seems a step up from the Logical Journey of the Zoombinis.
Thanks, PC Games N.