11.14.12

Portal Puzzle Maker helps kids understand "speedy thing goes in, speedy thing comes out"

The level editor for Portal 2, Puzzle Maker, is suprisingly easy to use. It reduces the many variables involved in a Portal level to a few intuitive controls. The game also helps players use their intuitive understanding of physics to solve puzzles. Educators loved it, and there are already lots of lesson plans to teach math and physics with the level editor. Katie Salen at Fast Company describes how the educational version of the level editor came about.

Valve worked with Lisa Castaneda, a middle school math teacher at a local school, and brought in students early and often to get feedback on the toolset during its development. They also launched the Teach with Portals initiative, where teachers can find lesson plans and community-created resources to support integrating Portal 2 and the Puzzle Maker into their curricula.

Since its launch in June 2012, the Teach with Portals initiative has brought Puzzle Maker to over 2,500 teachers nationwide. Valve still doesn’t consider itself as being in the education business, but the education version of Portal 2 Puzzle Maker continues to be updated with new features—the last release was less than a month ago.