Tim O'Rielly posted about Using Half Life in Academia. The Microsoft Research Group and VALVe has released the Half Life 2 SDK that will allow developers to add artificial intelligence that can be run on the Half Life game engine. Basically giving students a state-of-the-art game engine to create their own games, environments, or whatever they want. Microsoft is actually creating a tool to tie Visual C++ into the released SDK. You can watch the presentation here. (IE only) However, it's for colleges only.
Mark Oehlert has blogged about America's Army becoming a platform and the role of games in learning. Could this another learning 2.0 seed? It seems so. Being able to remix Half Life 2 by controlling the objects within the environment using AI controls through an API is just cool. I would love to dig in and build an adaptive learning environment where objects changed their behavior based upon your performance. Could we develop problem-based learning scenarios and have the learner/gamer work through them? absolutely. Could you imagine a leadership course through this? (disclosure: I haven't played Half Life 2 or the orginal, my son's too young)
If there is a Higher Education Institution out there who wants me to pull together a team of programmers and build a Half Life 2 learning environment, contact me.