As a high school teacher (13-17yo kids) in Brisbane, Australia, I am looking at some new ideas in the classroom for my teaching areas...... IT , Physics and Maths.
In the IT area I am currently working up an extended work proposal that will have the senior students (16,17 yo) developing game scenarios that I can re-use for with my younger maths and science classes.
As this is not an education/teaching forum I won't labour the teaching side of this but rather outline my thoughts on the other side of it.
Imagine a classroom where the senior IT classes no longer have to write a "salary database and Payroll system" for their major assignment (how dry is that!!) but rather they get to script up a game scenario based on a specification (giving them enough "room to be creative" but also making sure that the demonstrate the necessary competencies so we can assess their work.
There would also be good scope for collaboration across subjects with the multimedia/design classes helping with some of the artwork, and I have at least two english teachers who see the gaming environment as an increasingly significant "storytelling discorse" (much as movies are now recognised as a valid story telling genre - Bladerunner is a much studied movie in schools)
Anyway, the specification I would give my C++ programming classes would relate to the tasks I have in mind for my other classes. The study of AI is another area of extention into the gaming world. Maybe my programming tasks would guide them through modding out a scenario in which certain maths concepts are "discovered" within the game play.
I have spent some time now messing with UnrealEd and the Unreal engine, but am thinking I will eventually swap to a game engine/framework that places less emphasis on blood and carnage and more on problem solving and observation.
As an aside, I am also going tobe teaching senior science/physics in a year or two and see games like Half Life 2 etc being a rich simulation environment there.
I'd be happy to collaborate as well on any shared resources. As part of my post-fgrad studies I am currently working through some of this stuff in a formal way and would be willing to share throughts.