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Thanks for the memories  July 26, 2012

Now that's teaching with Portals!

About The Author

CNET Editor

Michelle Starr is the tiger force at the core of all things. She also writes about cool stuff and apps as CNET Australia's Crave editor. But mostly the tiger force thing.

(Screenshot by Michelle Starr/CNET Australia)

In collaboration with Valve, several teachers are using the Portal 2 Puzzle Maker to teach maths, physics, language and game design.

Cameron Pittman is a high school physics and chemistry teacher in Nashville, Tennessee. He's also a gamer — and believes, as many teachers are coming to, that games are a powerful teaching tool.

Rather than waiting for the tools to come to him, however, Pittman has been working with Valve and using the Portal 2 Puzzle Maker — that is, the game's in-game puzzle-creation tool — to create practical physics lessons for his students.

Pittman, however, is just one of a few teachers developing lessons within the game in collaboration with Valve. Lisa Castenada teaches middle school maths in Washington State, and Steve Isaacs teaches middle school game design.

The program is called Teach with Portals, and allows teaching institutions and students to download a free educational version of Steam and use it to create lesson plans and lessons using Portal 2.

Pittman's lesson plan can be found here, and some of his demo lessons on his website, Physics with Portals, here.

And just because, here's Pittman using Portals to explore the concept of terminal velocity:


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JamesO posted a comment   
United States

Wait they teach game design at middle school level now? Man I didn't get there until College (actually programming as a whole).

Great idea, and of course it's great it's Valve, they are very helpful with the community (I mean come on they give us all the modding tools, I mean Portal itself wasn't a Valve idea but a bunch of college students.


Im Batman posted a comment   

A bit of fun for the kids, aways good to have some variety in the class room.
I know that one of my favourite classes was due to the the lingering question "how is ken going to get water on the ceiling today!!!"


Chandler posted a reply   

Is that 'thinking with portals'? :P

In all seriousness but, this just goes to show how awesome Valve is!

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