New UW Video Games Institution Will Get in GEAR Tuesday

January 4, 2017

From the article:

A new group dedicated to video games for learning launches at the University of Wisconsin-Madison Tuesday.

Games Education and Research, or GEAR for short, will be the spiritual successor to the now-defunct Games+Learning+Society group, an institution that pioneered the study of games and their educational properties and made the university a hub of video game scholarship. GLS disintegrated this year after the organization's leaders — education professors Kurt Squire and Constance Steinkuehler — announced they were leaving for new jobs at the University of California-Irvine.

GEAR's director Mike Beall said that while it's going to take time to get the "wheels on the ground," he's confident that the new group has the potential to "blow up" as a learning games institution on its own merits.

"It's not going to be the same thing that Kurt and Constance brought," said Beall. "But we can be a beacon."

GEAR will be distinct from GLS in a number of ways. For one thing, GLS was an unofficial network of academics who collaborated on research and game development. GEAR will be a formalized body within the Wisconsin Center for Education Research, and will operate out of the basement of a School of Education building on Mills Street.

Also unlike with GLS, the brunt of GEAR's work won't involve research. Instead, the focus will be on actually making and distributing games for learning.

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