The Institute of Play was founded in 2007 by a group of game designers in New York City. Their main goal is to use design elements, such as video game design, to spark interest in young minds to make education more fun and enjoyable. The organization does work in school design, educator development programs, game creation in all forms, from board games to video games, and even programs and workshops for corporations. They created Quest to Learn in 2009, a middle and high school founded on game-based learning, which is still in operation today.
An announcement earlier today on the organization’s website revealed the sad news that the organization will be winding down. “After long and careful consideration the Institute of Play’s board and executive staff have come to the difficult decision to wind down the organization.” The post reflected on their 11-year history, stating that they were proud of the work they had accomplished. “The Institute of Play has been at the forefront of games and learning since its inception and since that time we have worked tirelessly to spread our work by partnering with organizations to train educators, design schools, develop game-like curriculum, and empower individuals through design and play.”
One of their education initiatives was a multiplayer video game called The Meaning of Beep. Students are presented with sentences with a word removed and must type a synonym of the beeped-out word to receive points. After all players have entered their guesses, everyone votes on the submissions for which would fit best in the sentence, and receives an additional point for a correct selection. You can play the game for yourself here.
While the Institute of Play itself may be winding down, the work that they do will not. “We have decided to provide the Connected Learning Lab (CLL) at UC Irvine with a non-exclusive license to our entire archive of materials.” The post also announced that the CLL will continue the Institute’s mission to keep all materials free and readily available to all who would like to use them. The complete wind down of the organization is slated for the end the of summer this year.