Playtime Online: Master Planners: What Does SimCity-based Curriculum Look Like?


About This Episode

Last month the team from GlassLab joined Playtime Online to give educators and SimCity enthusiasts alike an exclusive sneak preview of SimCityEDU, a new online community for teachers to create and share SimCity-based lesson plans for classroom learning.

Recently launched, is now open to the public and ready to be a 21st century resource for forward-looking schools and individuals. But what tools or previous knowledge do teachers and school administrators need in order to begin contemplating and ultimately creating original SimCity-based curriculum? And how can they make the most of their SimCityEDU experience?

Connect with GlassLab a second time and engage with the team through an extended Q&A conversation. Learn how you can join SimCityEDU and contribute to the online community as the team discusses the site’s unique offerings while providing viewers with a detailed walkthrough of existing lesson plans designed by the Histrionix Learning Company.

Tune in to Playtime Online and learn:

  • How to begin writing your own SimCity-based curriculum
  • What features SimCityEDU will be rolling out in the coming months
  • What SimCityEDU can do for classroom learning

Episode Highlights

4:00 Mat introduces SimCityEDU
9:25 Seth discusses the advantages of using video games for classroom learning and why accompanying lesson plans are key
10:30 “While games provide a wonderful chance for students to engage with content material … you want to have a surround the supports that learning and formalizes it so that kids are gaining the vocabulary they need to talk about the discipline.”
12:04 Mat reviews features on the SimCityEDU website
14:44 Rick and Jason discussion the power of games in the classroom and gamifying state-mandated curriculum
24:55 Rick and Jason explore a SimCityEDU unit plan and its supplemental files in detail
41:30 Seth explains SimCityEDU was built with teachers in mind
41:55 “Overtime teachers build their lesson plans: they add to them, they take away, they revise, and so on.”
46:15 Mat describes future features to look forward to
46:30 “As we speak, we are working on building a … standards picker of all the common core … based on the particular state that you’re in.”

48:20 Is this done as an MMO? I’d like to see how it would work in a collaborative setting.
49:25 Can I use older versions of SimCity to create lesson plans for my classroom, or do I need to use the latest release?
50:26 Can you talk about the “Copy and Edit Unit” feature? What is the purpose, and does it make it easier for me to create my own curriculum?
51:52 I’m an art teacher and have always been a huge fan of SimCity. Are you looking for teachers to contribute curriculum outside of STEM subjects? How might I go about creating a SimCity-based lesson for my art students?
54:15 When will EA start offering classroom discounts? Until then, how do you propose teachers start creating and sharing SimCity curriculum in the interim?

Twitter hashtag: #playtimers


  1. Posted March 27, 2013 at 4:04 pm | Permalink

    I look forward to learning and sharing with you all.

  2. Posted March 27, 2013 at 5:01 pm | Permalink

    I am already set up with Edmodo. This should be fun:-)

  3. Liz Smith
    Posted March 27, 2013 at 5:04 pm | Permalink

    Awesome Video! I’m a Civics teacher in Florida and this is a fascinating new idea for me to hear. This is only my second year teaching and no one at my school is a big gamer. Technology still pretty new to the school and I know that I’ll be blowing the minds of the History department… but I’m definitely going to start checking out your lesson plans. With my enthusiasm with iCivics I’ve already been given my own classroom laptop cart… so this is going to be really fun to play around with. Thank you for all of your hard work!!!

  4. Nanny LaLa
    Posted April 23, 2013 at 7:32 pm | Permalink

    I’m not a teacher, but would love to see my grandchildren have access to the learning environments that will evolve from this collaboration.

    I hope you can get more gaming companies and more countries involved, I’m in the UK.

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Seth Corrigan
Seth is the Director of Education & Evaluation at Institute of Play. He has worked in educational measurement, assessment and evaluation for over ten years and has taught elementary, middle and high school science and mathematics.

Jessica Lindl
Jessica is the General Manager at Institute of Play.  She has spent over 15 years leading teams that design, develop, market and sell learning games to the global education market, and  loves testing new learning games with her husband and two sons.

Mat Frenz
Mat is the Producer at Institute of Play. He  works with the team to define the processes and structures that commercial game companies and learning experts can use to adapt GlassLab's unique collaborative development model. 

Rick Brennan
Rick is the CEO of Histrionix Learning Company. He is a former public school teacher with 13 years experience, and believes that classrooms are sacred spaces. Rick lives in Houston's historic East End with his family and rides his bike to work.

Jason Darnell
Jason is the President of Histrionix Learning Company. A veteran public school teacher with 13 years of classroom experience, he believes that learning should be meaningful, intuitive and fun! Jason lives in Houston, Texas with his  family.