cities: skylines

Learn Civics with the Educational Version of Cities: Skylines

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Paradox Interactive announced a partnership with TeacherGaming to launch a special educational version of Cities: Skylines. Cities: Skylines – Education Edition is designed for teachers to use in their classrooms as part of TeacherGaming’s subscription service.

“Transitioning our games into teaching tools that make learning fun and interactive is something near and dear to our hearts at Paradox,” said Shams Jorjani, VP of Business Development at Paradox Interactive. “We chose TeacherGaming to help structure our games for the classroom, because this is a new field for us and they have the right experience and knowledge to do it right.”

Cities: Skylines is the heir apparent to the SimCity builder series. It originally launched on PC in 2015 before coming to consoles last year. It’s been hailed as the definitive city builder sim, and Paradox have released numerous expansion packs since release. The most recent, Parklife, released earlier this year and added national parks and zoos.

Cities: Skylines – Education Edition includes eight custom lesson plans. Each scenario covers different relevant topics, such as government, engineering, and budgeting. The educational version also includes student progress tracking and in-game tutorials.

“Paradox Interactive titles turn niche topics like civics and serious history into unexpectedly entertaining experiences that educators will fall head over heels for,” said Santeri Koivisto, TeacherGaming CEO. “Committing to such an unconventional portfolio means Paradox is combating prejudices about the very nature of video games, and that’s also what we have been out to do for the past six years. In that sense, and many others, this partnership is a perfect fit.”

TeacherGaming offers both individual gaming licences as well as an all-in-one subscription service. Each game, including Kerbal Space Program, Universe Sandbox, and Epistory, offers multiple lesson plans tailored to classroom learning. The company was founded in 2011 in Finland by gaming educators. Their most successful program was MinecraftEdu, which has since been purchased by Microsoft.

Cities: Skylines – Education Edition is available now in the TeacherGaming Store.

Microsoft Unveils Windows 10 S Designed for Classrooms

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In a lengthy blog post Terry Myerson, Executive VP for Windows and devices at Microsoft, unveiled a brand new operating system. Windows 10 S, built upon Windows Pro, is designed specifically to be used by students in the classroom. Windows 10 S is launching this Summer.

“As part of our mission at Microsoft, we believe technology can be used as a tool to empower students and teachers to create the world of tomorrow,” writes Myerson. Myerson notes what many in tech and education have realized – tech skills and knowledge are woefully under-taught in schools. Computer science skills are increasingly in demand and continue rising with each passing year.

Back in my day we had Macintosh computers in the computer lab, but these days Microsoft Windows dominates in schools. Windows 10 S is a more closed system where all applications are acquired and run through the Windows Store. This helps streamlines performance but potentially limits what programs students can use, which has already drawn some criticism:

Windows 10 S does allow any teacher or admin to switch Windows 10 S to Windows 10 Pro, which allows them to install any app. But it’s designed to keep students in a contained and structured environment, which for K-12 may not be such a bad idea.

For college students and older, Microsoft has announced the Surface Laptop. The new tablet-like device is powered with Windows 10 S and boasts up to 14.5 hours of battery life. It features a 13.5″ screen and an i7 core processor. The Surface Laptops start at $999 and will launch on June 15. It is now available for pre-order.

Educators and students will be able to purchase a variety of Windows 10 S PCs starting at $189. It includes Minecraft: Education Edition and Microsoft Office 365. Windows 10 S will be launching this Summer.