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Source: Simon Fraser University

Game transforms computing classroom

October 26, 2006

A team of Simon Fraser University computing science professors is ready to transform the classroom experience for the facultyís third- and fourth-year students.

An HP Technology for Teaching grant from Hewlett-Packard (Canada) Co. will enable professors Jian Pei, Arthur Kirkpatrick, Ke Wang, and Jiangchuan Liu to help their students learn more effectively.

Using HP wireless Tablet PCs, teams of students will design and manage simulated on-line bookstores. By competing with each other on customers and price, and collaborating when seeking rare books, students will learn complex mechanisms for organizing, managing and coordinating multi-party interactions in a dynamic, competitive environment.

"This approach will help to make abstract computer science feel more real for students," says Pei. "It answers the ĎWhy am I doing this?í question."

Says James Galbraith (of North Vancouver), a student in Peiís class, "Iím looking forward to learning this way. By competing with my classmates in a game-like situation, I will immediately see the consequences of decisions that I make. This will help me to own the subject matter, not just memorize it."

"We received many high-calibre applications," says Lynn Anderson, Vice President Marketing and Alliances, HP Canada. The awards were given for the first time this year. "This one stood out because it goes beyond just Dr. Peiís classroom. The game platforms that he develops will be made available as shareware, potentially benefiting students around the world."

SFU is one of four Canadian universities to receive an $80,000 HP Technology for Teaching grant, which includes HP products and a faculty stipend. Between 2004 and 2005, HP Canada donated more than $4 million to education initiatives. More information about the program and the 2006 grant recipients is available at



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