Part "shrieking, snot-nosed need-blobs," part charming distractions from the dismal grey that encompasses the human experience, children walk among us. Some of us loathe them; others, such as myself, harbor a grudging fondness for them. For those who fall into the latter camp, there is the question of how best to educate the kiddywinks.
Thus, we have "Steam for Schools," Valve's attempt to tame these creatures of impulse, and mold their minds through the magic of video games. At the "Teach with Portals" website, the company outlines its offer to educators - one that the company is spearheading without outside funding (though the positive PR certainly doesn't hurt) - and the benefits to be reaped therefrom:
We heard loud and clear from hundreds of educators that they wanted a place to learn about and share compelling, engaging and creative content for using Portal and Portal 2 in their classrooms. Here is that place where you can sign up to receive for free the educational collection of Portal 2 and its Puzzle Maker through STEAM for SCHOOLS, the school-friendly version of our game distribution service; access lesson plans and unique puzzles; and join a teachers-only community forum to share experiences.The aforementioned lesson plans, as one might expect, connect a variety of subjects to the in-game experience. Currently, only physics and math are available, though as time goes on, categories such as game design and language arts will be made available.
So until Valve abandons all his "no bosses" bother, lays off its entire workforce, and sees all future Valve releases designed and coded by Gabe Newell's child army (someone's got to finish HL2: Episode 3), I'll flip the cynicism switch into the "off" position, and concede that Steam for Schools seems like a helpful idea. If you work in the education field, and would like to sign up your school for the program, visit the Steam for Schools website and fill out the application, which can be found at a link on the top right of the page!