Gaming & Education

Institute of Play Closing Down, Handing Work over to UC Irvine

Institute of Play, a nonprofit in New York City that pioneered and promoted the use of gaming principles for learning, has decided to shutter operations, effective by the end of summer. The organization said it would hand over its learning assets to the Connected Learning Lab at the University of California, Irvine.

In a public message, the organization stated:

"We are so proud of the work we have been able to do over the past 11 years. 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. We are confident that our work will continue as those we have touched continue to push boundaries, try new things, and share the amazing work they do."

The university will receive a "non-exclusive license" to the "entire archive of materials," which it has committed to making freely available. Those include learning games, Absolute Blast and Socratic Smackdown, as well as a number of resources to help teachers create their own games and integrate gaming into their lessons.

UC Irvine's Connected Learning Lab was launched in 2017 as an interdisciplinary hub focused on learner-centered innovations in education technology, including game-based learning. The lab is sponsored by the university's School of Information and Computer Sciences, School of Education and School of Social Sciences, as well as the UC Humanities Research Institute.

There's no word yet on whether UC Irvine will continue running TeacherQuest, an Institute of Play professional development program.

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a former senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal, Campus Technology and Spaces4Learning.