Roblox, a highly popular gaming platform for young people, is adding some educational content into the mix. Last week, the company announced Roblox Education, an initiative that seeks to foster creativity and imagination with a series of efforts, including free curriculum to use with their product for educators, an online ‘Creator Challenge, and summer coding camps for kids across the world.
Roblox currently sees 60 million users every month. It provides an open creative landscape similar to Minecraft. It currently houses millions of user-created virtual environments.
Roblox and Their 3-Pronged Education Effort
For the first branch of the Roblox Education initiative, the company is trying to get the product used in schools as an instance of game-based learning. The curriculum they have designed for teachers includes roughly 12 hours of step-by-step tutorials on how to play and what is possible. They also include numerous outlines for lesson plans that can be used in numerous teaching environments, such as after-school programs and summer camp, in addition to traditional instruction. It has been made available under a Creative Commons license. Anyone can access it and adapt it for their own use.
The company also announced this week that the design aspect of their platform, Roblox Studio, will be used by numerous summer coding camps across the world in countries such as the U.K., U.S., Brazil, Spain, Canada, Portugal, Hong Kong, and Singapore. (Roblox was recently made available in Spanish. Other languages are expected later this year.) The game will be used to teach the fundamentals of coding, game design, and even digital citizenship and entrepreneurial skills.
For those who’ll spend this summer by the pool or elsewhere, Roblox Studio is free to download. The company also offers free hosting for anything built on the platform.
“Roblox’s mission is to power and fuel imagination while inspiring a new generation of creators,” said Grace Francisco, Vice President of Developer Relations at Roblox in a statement. “We are thrilled to be launching our education initiative to give young people of all ages and backgrounds the chance to develop the crucial skills needed to be tomorrow’s entrepreneurs and creators.”
In addition, 45 of the more accomplished Roblox developers will be invited to attend the 4th annual Roblox Summer Accelerator internship program. It lasts 12 weeks and allows young people to experience what it’s like to work with a team of developers.
And finally, the Roblox Creator Challenge will cap off the company’s efforts to stave off the summer slide experienced by students throughout around the world. To head up the challenge, Roblox has partnered with Universal Brand Development. The challenge asks players to create their own games by taking inspiration from the upcoming Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, which will debut in the U.S. on June 22.
The challenge asks developers to rescue Blue—the velociraptor in the latest Jurassic World Series—from a volcano. The game-based learning initiative walks learners through a series of guided lessons. These will include modifying topography in a 3D landscape and adding mechanics to existing items in the game. When learners complete the challenge, they’ll be rewarded with some company swag.
A Move for Global Expansion
Roblox has recently benefitted from some new leadership. In mid-May, former head of Apple’s international expansion, Chris Misner, was instated as President of the company. He’s been brought on to expand the platform on a more international scale.
“The approach for how to be both sensitive and successful in international content is being built into every aspect of the company,” Misner told Kidscreen. “When Roblox takes on more international expansion, the entire company gets behind it.”