by Anya Kamenetz
"I am trying to cut pollution while maintaining my city's energy supply. I've bulldozed the coal plant too soon, without realizing that the brand-new solar plant has a variable output. Industry, and therefore revenue, is being squeezed by the power cuts--meaning I don't have the money to upgrade or add an additional wind plant. As mayor of this 3-D cityscape, I'm feeling about as effective as Toronto's Rob Ford.
"SimCityEDU: Pollution Challenge!, the game I'm playing, debuted last week. For those who played SimCity in the 1990s or 2000s, this PC-based game feels familiar; it's built on the same bits but radically simplified into chunks that take no more than 10 minutes to play, with specific tasks for the player to complete. But what makes SimCityEDU different from other video games, even other video games that have been modded for educational use, is that while middle school players are figuring out how to play this game, the game will be figuring them out right back. As they are zoning neighborhoods or planning school bus routes, the software is gathering detailed evidence about their thinking processes and skills, and whether they're engaged or bored."
Jim Lerman's insight:
This sounds great! Anyone tried it yet?