The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

March 1, 2010

CTC touts video games to teach math, science

By SUSAN EVANS

JOHNSTOWN — A new statewide plan to use video games to help teach math, science and technology is taking root in Johnstown.

A business executive who also serves on the state Board of Education is taking the lead in ways to bring cutting-edge gaming technology to the classroom.

Ed Sheehan, Concurrent Technologies Corp. president, recently hosted Pennsylvania education leaders and Secretary of Education Gerald Zahorchak to plan ways to use video games to teach kids math and science.

As part of that effort, Sheehan said CTC will field a team of 3-D gaming and Hollywood special effects experts to be certain the new program “fully captures the imagination of student participants,” according to a statement released Friday.

Using video games to teach kids math and science has been increasing during the past several years, with Microsoft Research working with such colleges as New York University.

“With NYU at the heart and a number of other New York and New England universities, Microsoft has contriubted half of the funding for an institute called the ‘Games for Learning Institute,’ ” said a Microsoft statement released in 2008.

Since then various video games have been made available to educators in some states.

Sheehan said the goal is to launch what he called “an innovative statewide technology program that boosts student math, science and technology achievements by actively engaging them with cutting-edge 3-D gaming technology, real-world, project-based internships and technology camps.”

CTC, an applied scientific research organization, has extensive experience in gaming technologies and was awarded in 2008 for its 3-D gaming technology, Sheehan said.

“This technology has broad student appeal and represents the future of computer-based training rooted in behavioral science,” he said.

“This is the kind of gaming technology that we hope more Pennsylvania students will show an interest in, whether in the classroom or outside of it,” Sheehan said.