Portal and Portal 2, those brilliant brain games made by Valve, are entering the classroom. Starting this summer, Joystiq reports, Valve is enlisting beta users for Teach with Portals program, part of its Steam For Schools initiative. Access to the program is free, and teachers, homeschoolers, organizations and anyone else in touch with students in the U.S. can sign up to test it out. The program allows the educator administrator privilages to custom-design levels to teach a concept. Lesson plans for Physics (on harmonic oscillators, terminal velocity, and, well, gravity) and Mathematics (parabolas, volumes in 2 and 3D) are already posted on the Teach With Portals website, and it looks like Chemistry, Game Design, Language Arts are next up to be filled out. Perhaps more than other games, the design of the Portal series lends itself to classroom use as the game’s founders strongly believe. “The interesting thing about Portal 2 is that it doesn’t fit the traditional simplistic model of what a game is, Valve co-founder Gabe Newell said during his Games of Change keynote last month. “It’s not a collection of weapons, it’s not a collection of monsters… It’s about spatial reasoning, about learning physics, about problem solving, and often during the course of the game you’re going to be solving problems with somebody else.”
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