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February 13, 2005

Next Killer Academic Major - Gaming at College

According to the 2005 Horizon's Report issued by the NMC and NLII, 2 major "killer apps" are on the 2-3 year horizon. Each year the Horizon Report issues a finding on emerging technology and higher education based on interviews and research involving more than 500 technologists, futurists and education leaders. According to the recently released report, in the next two to three years intelligent searching will emerge as a key space for the teaching and learning community. The other major trend is academic gaming. Gaming in support of learning is indeed an emerging theme around higher education circles.

Professor Marc Buchner from EECS at Case is moving ahead with the development and construction of a "Virtual Worlds" gaming and simulation lab in Olin funded by a Case Provost Opportunity Grant.

Jared E. Bendis at Case's New Media Studio has been working on Virtual Worlds and Gaming for nearly a decade and is a national authority in the area of 3D and mobility forms of gaming.

Juregn Faust and his colleagues at the Cleveland Institute of Art are well along in both an undergraduate and graduate degree program in Gaming. The CIA and the Cleveland Museum of Art have collaborated on an online massive player game on discovery and exploration in ancient Egypt.

Then of course, there is the plan for a massive investment in simulation technology by the Case School of Medicine in partnership with other academic units at Case, the Cleveland Clinic Foundation, the Veteran's Administration Hospital, Tel Aviv University, and Simbionix, among others.

A quick environmental scan suggests that the academic potential in Cleveland for a Gaming cluster for academic curriculum development in music, art, science and medicine. The new inter-departmental program in Cognitive Science will be yet another important dimension and differentiator to the offering in Cleveland. What we need is to wrap these discrete and largely unconnected activities into a single integrated and branded package. This has been done very effectively out at UC San Diego and UC Irvine in the much publicized Cal-IT2 Gaming Culture and Technology Lab.

Then of course there is this week's announcement at USC in creating the first endowed chair in gaming. Video game maker Electronic Arts and the University of Southern California (USC) this week created the nation's first endowed chair for the study of interactive entertainment. Bing Gordon, chief creative officer and cofounder of Electronic Arts, will serve as the first holder of the new chair at the USC School of Cinema-Television. Electronic Arts, which launched in 1981, is the leading producer of computer games, and Gordon was involved in nearly every game the company has produced. Gordon previously co-taught a class at Stanford University on video-game design. The endowed chair will rotate every one to two years among leaders in the field, and each chair will serve as a visiting professor at USC. CNN, 8 February 2005

The time is right. I hope we can seize the moment and begin to brand Case and Cleveland with having the next killer academic multi-degree major in gaming. The Horizon Report is right on. We have two or three years at most. Let's step up.

Posted by lsg8 at February 13, 2005 11:17 AM and tagged Bytes 

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