UMBC President Freeman Hrabowski has a commentary article on CNBC, Video games in the classroom? Welcome to the future of learning, that talks about new ways to engage students in learning.
“Our university is headed to the “final four” — in game design. Next month, a team from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC) will travel to San Francisco to compete against three other teams in the games category of the final U.S. round of the Microsoft Imagine Cup, a global student technology competition. The team will pitch its project to a panel of judges composed of Silicon Valley technology leaders and entrepreneurs. As the students vie for the honor of representing the U.S. internationally, they’re also showing us the future of teaching, learning, and careers.”
Dr. Hrabowski makes an important observations on collaborations between STEM the arts and STEM disciplines, the need for diversity and how to excite and inspire today’s students.
“The UMBC team reflects the American workplace of the near future, bringing together two men and two women from diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds. The team also illustrates the potential of “STEAM” collaborations, where science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) are combined with art and design. Two members of the team are studying the computer sciences and two the visual arts, focusing on interactive media. … Moreover, Team Huebotics provides clues about how to improve education for students of all backgrounds. Too many young people today are bored at every level of education. And yet our student game developers voluntarily put in hundreds of hours on their winning creation. American education, from pre-K to college, must find ways to inspire similar dedication and to bring content to life. Digital environments are second nature to today’s young people. Playing well-designed games, as well as creating them, can pack an educational punch.”
Dr. Hrabowski also mentions the game Bandit (though not by name), in which you play a fox sneaking around civil war Baltimore in the time leading up to the Pratt Street Riot. This game, designed to teach about an important episode of civil war history, is being developed by a team of computer science and visual arts students in collaboration with students in history and music under the faculty guidance of professors Anne Rubin and Marc Olano, the director of UMBC’s Computer Science Game Development Track.
You can read Dr. Hrabowski’s full commentary piece online here.