With LittleBigPlanet 2 releasing a couple of weeks ago, the series has once again become the focus of attention for many PS3 gamers who enjoy creating their own levels and/or sampling the work of others. But have you ever stopped to consider the vast educational potential of the series?
Educators have long been looking for ways to make study material relevant and accessible to learners, and consequently a flurry of ‘edutainment’ titles have been released over the past few years to try and bridge the gap between learning and fun.
LBP2’s developers, Media Molecule, are joining the edutainment party by working in conjunction with the education-focused branch of Sony Computer Entertainment (called ConnectED) to bring LBP2 teachers’ kits to the classroom.
This pack will include levels based on various subjects in the school curriculum, such as Maths, Science, History and Art. Judging by ConnectED’s website, the version of LBP2 they’ll be selling to schools will be Move enabled. Does this mean we’ll also get Move support in the near future via a patch? I wouldn’t be surprised if Mm sold this feature as DLC instead.
On a related note, Kareem Ettouney from Media Molecule gave a talk recently at Learning Without Frontiers, an international festival of learning and technology. He discussed various ways that LBP can be used as an educational tool. You can watch this fascinating spectacle over here.
If you’re itching to experience the educational potential of LittleBigPlanet for yourself, here’s a list of learning-themed levels already up in LBP, according to the ConnectED website:
Aeon Quest: Abduction:
”In Aeon Quest, LittleBigPlanet players are enlisted by a mechanical being from outer space to help save the planet Earth. Players must prove their worthiness for the mission by traversing different planets while completing a series of missions and puzzles that test an array of STEM skills—from simple math problems to complex logic puzzles.”
A Day in the Life of a Computer:
”A Day in the Life of a Computer introduces middle school and high school students to key concepts of computer science using LittleBigPlanet. Players must navigate the inner workings of a computer, solving puzzles that convey computing principles of increasing difficulty – from simple binary code to more complex programming concepts.”
Discovery Pier: A Whole New Spin on Science and Engineering:
”In Discover Pier, LittleBigPlanet players are immersed in the high-octane world of an amusement park. While interacting with a variety of thrill rides, in-game lessons teach players the critical principles of physics and engineering that are at work in each ride, as well as offering simple computer programming lessons on how the ride was created.
“Players can then use what they have learned to design and build their own fully rendered and animated amusement park rides.”
”LittleBigChemistryLab immerses players in worlds based around real-world chemistry experiments and classroom demonstrations, including the classic ‘baking soda and vinegar volcano,’ combustion reactions, and the ‘glowing pickle’ demo.
“In these LittleBigPlanet levels, players interact with their environment and participate in the experiments, exploring chemistry and chemical concepts through engaging gameplay.”
Sackboys and The Mysterious Proof:
”In Sackboys and The Mysterious Proof, LittleBigPlanet players must escape from the Proof family’s century-old mansion by solving a series of puzzles using geometric reasoning. With puzzle mechanics driven by geometric theorems, students will convert geometric concepts from the classroom into active knowledge through collaborative play inspired by precision learning.”
Stem Cell Sackboy:
”Stem Cell Sackboy takes LittleBigPlanet gameplay to the cellular level. Using ‘SackCell Technology,’ players shrink to microscopic sizes to take part in the growing field of stem cell research and therapy. Players learn about the processes of cell growth and reproduction while exploring the importance of stem cell research and the ethical issues that surround it.”