Brandon Boyer

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New York’s Institute of Play has officially announced the foundation of Quest to Learn, a new school for “digital kids” that will be accepting its first 6th grade class this fall, which “uses the underlying design principles of games to create highly immersive, game-like learning experiences for students.”

The Institute explains:

Games work as rule-based learning systems, creating worlds in which players actively participate, use strategic thinking to make choices, solve complex problems, seek content knowledge, receive constant feedback, and consider the point of view of others.

As is the case with many of the games played by young people today, Quest is designed to enable students to “take on” the identities and behaviors of explorers, mathematicians, historians, writers, and evolutionary biologists as they work through a dynamic, challenge-based curriculum with content-rich questing to learn at its core.

It’s important to note that Quest is not a school whose curriculum is made up of the play of commercial videogames, but rather a school that uses the underlying design principles of games to create highly immersive, game-like learning experiences.

Games and other forms of digital media serve another useful purpose at Quest: they serve to model the complexity and promise of “systems.” Understanding and accounting for this complexity is a fundamental literacy of the 21st century.

Institute of Play executive director Katie Salen is one of the school’s designers: you may know her as co-author — along with Gamelab‘s Eric Zimmerman — of Rules of Play, one of the best texts encapsulating the fundamental language of game design.

The school is currently looking for both teachers and students, and, it says, will be expanding “by a grade level annually through 2015.”

School for Digital Kids: 6th-12th grade [Institute of Play, thanks Drew and Alex!]

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