Microsoft has put $1.5 million into a "Games for Learning Institute," to study links between video games and learning, and how to enhance them.
The research wants to analyze the reactions and processes of avid gamers to see whether games develop learning skills that transfer to the classroom. Already the project has lined up middle school students for a study.
The research will not necessarily involve games that are designed to be educational. In fact the Associated Press story describing the venture mentions Gears of War 2 a lot, and how the awareness one has to have in that environment leads to decisions, choices and analytical behavior that researchers want to understand more,
"We want to figure out what's compelling about the games," said John Nordlinger (pictured), head of gaming research for Microsoft. "If we can find out how to make the games fun and not make them so violent, that would be ideal."
Microsoft is partnering with New York University and other colleges, but the story does not say where the Institute is based. Then again, I don't know where the Pond's Institute is located, either.