Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What is Steam?
    Steam is a free online service that lets users download games (some free) and communicate with other players. Steam is used by tens of millions of gamers worldwide.
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  3. What is STEAM for SCHOOLS?
    STEAM for SCHOOLS is the educational version of Steam, specially designed for use by teachers and students in a school, afterschool or summer program setting (site). All functionality that isn’t core to the education experience – our Store, News and Community – has been disabled in this special version of Steam. STEAM for SCHOOLS includes access to Portal 2 and the Portal 2 Puzzle Maker.
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  5. Is there any cost for STEAM for SCHOOLS?
    STEAM for SCHOOLS is provided free for educational purposes, along with select Valve games and tools.
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  7. What is the Portal 2 Puzzle Maker?
    The Portal 2 Puzzle Maker is a 3D game design tool by which one can create puzzles, or levels, of the game Portal 2.
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  9. What are Portal and Portal2?
    Portal and Portal 2 are non-violent, cleverly written games that challenge players to solve puzzles within a three-dimensional world. Student players must maneuver objects and themselves through the world in order to solve the puzzles and progress from one level to the next. The game features Chell, the player-controlled female protagonist, and GLaDOS (short for Genetic Lifeform and Disk Operating System), a computer artificial intelligence that monitors and directs the player.
     
    Players primarily interact with the world by using a hand-held portal device to place interconnected portals on walls, floors, or ceilings. Once a pair of portals is positioned any object entering through one portal will exit though the other.
     
    The game takes place in the Enrichment Center for Aperture Laboratories—also known as Aperture Science—which is the fictional corporation responsible for creating the portal device.
     
    The Portal games were created using a physics engine, which is computer software that simulates real world physics.
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  11. Are Portal and Portal 2 Age Appropriate For My Class?
    Anyone from age 2 to 70 and beyond can play and enjoy Portal. The games appeal to both boys and girls and prior gaming experience is not necessary. Portal got a Teen rating from the Entertainment Software Ratings Board (ESRB); Portal 2 is rated Everyone 10+.
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  13. How Can I Use Portal or Portal 2 As Part of My Curriculum?
    The Portal franchise was developed as an entertainment product, but the games have the potential to be used as experiential learning tools.
     
    In the Portal world, students interact with physically simulated objects (cubes, catapults, lasers, etc.). The interaction tends to be free-form and experimental and as students encounter new tools and challenges they may develop an intuitive understanding of physical principles such as mass and weight, acceleration, momentum, gravity, and energy. The games also put a premium on critical thinking, spatial reasoning, problem solving, iteration and collaboration skills, and encourage overall inquiry into STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) learning.
     
    foundry10 offers free resources for teachers and provides a community where educators can share curricula, lessons and classroom experiences by registering as part of a forum solely for educators.
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  15. Installing STEAM for SCHOOLS?
    Steam for Schools is no longer available for download.
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  17. Assigning usernames and passwords to students
    Teachers will receive the requested number of subscriptions in the form of anonymous user names. The passwords are randomly generated. Teachers should not distribute the passwords to students so as to ensure the integrity of STEAM for SCHOOLS.
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  19. Setting up Portal and Portal 2 in the classroom
    STEAM for SCHOOLS, Portal and Portal 2 can be run on either PCs or Macs. Below are the exact specifications but as a rule of thumb most computers made after 2008 should be able to run the game.

    PC System Requirements:

    • OS: Windows 7 / Vista / XP
    • Processor: 3.0 GHz P4, Dual Core 2.0 (or higher) or AMD64X2 (or higher)
    • Memory: 1GB XP / 2GB Vista
    • Hard Disk Space: At least 7.6 GB of Space
    • Video: Video card must be 128 MB or more and should be a DirectX 9-compatible with support for Pixel Shader 2.0b (ATI Radeon X800 or higher / NVIDIA GeForce 7600 or higher / Intel HD Graphics 2000 or higher).
    • Audio: DirectX 9.0c compatible

    Mac System Requirements:

    • Processor: Intel Core Duo Processor (2GHz or better)
    • Memory: 2GB
    • Hard Disk Space: At least 7.6 GB of Space
    • Input: A two button mouse is strongly recommended
    • Video: ATI Radeon 2400 or higher / NVIDIA 8600M or higher / Intel HD Graphics 3000