GlassLabs mods Plants vs. Zombies 2 to serve as a teaching tool

PopCap and nonprofit GlassLab launched a special classroom version of Plants Vs. Zombies 2 on the App Store this week that's been modified to help teachers analyze players' problem-solving skills.

PopCap and GlassLab, that educational game nonprofit launched by the Institute of Play, Electronic Arts and the Entertainment Software Association back in 2012, launched a special educational version of Plants Vs. Zombies 2 on the App Store this week.

The goal is to see Use Your Brainz Edu used in classrooms of students ages 11-18, and the game has been modified with an analytics engine that subscribing educators can use in conjunction with a lesson plan tailored to the game to assess players' problem-solving skills and address each individual students' weak points. 

This is intriguing because it's the inverse of traditional "gamification" efforts in the classroom -- rather than designing a game to teach a skill, the developers of Use Your Brainz EDU seem to have cracked open an established game and modified it to surface player data that can then be used to better address students' educational needs.

The game was developed in conjunction with Florida State University professor Val Shute, who helped publish a report last year suggesting that games designed to be entertaining are better-suited to enhancing players' cognitive skills than explicit "brain training" games and game-like programs.

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