"Steam for Schools" is Valve's next push into edutainment. This summer, educators can apply for beta inclusion in the program, which includes a "limited version of Steam" featuring Portal 2
, the game's level editor, and its workshop for hosting and organizing user-created levels. This new version of Steam will be free for educators (in and out of beta), and will give educators administrator access – meaning that kids cannot share levels.
"We have a limited version of Steam, which is called 'Steam for Schools.' And what we're doing is asking for teachers, after school programs, organizations – anywhere where there's a student relationship, which includes homeschooling – for them to submit a form to be part of it. It's still in beta," Valve's Leslie Redd told attendees of today's Games for Change festival in New York City. The initiative is a continuation of what Valve head Gabe Newell spoke about during his keynote
at last year's Games for Change event, where he professed 'no difference'
between education and entertainment approaches.
The Washington-based company intends on opening up that level of access in the future, but Redd said that "children need that walled garden." In the future, Valve intends to allow more openness.
Valve isn't receiving any outside funding or grants for the program. "Valve is a commercially successful company," Redd explained with a smile. Of course, facilitating a massive education program for free is pretty great public relations. Other publishers aren't involved just yet, but Redd said there've been some initial talks.
For more information, Valve's "Teach with Portals" website
is now open and will expand in the coming months as the beta extends across the summer (hey, that starts today