"Games in the classroom
When the 82-year-old Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor took the stage at the 2008 Games for Change Festival and announced her intention to use games to teach civic education in the U.S., many were skeptical. But they were sympathetic to her notion that most U.S. kids can name the three judges on American Idol but not the three branches of Government. Since then, her iCivics team, along with Filament Games, created a rich portfolio of civics games that are integrated into 12,000 classrooms in 50 states.
Since August 2009, iCivics has reached 1.2 million players, and evaluation data show that 78% of students surveyed gained a better understanding of how their government worked. 47% even continued playing at home just for fun!
See also: The Quest to Learn school, led by game designer Katie Salen.
You should care because: you want to see schools that are more adjusted to the 21st century and provide compelling experiences for their students...."
Games in the developing worldThe main challenge is that Games for Change are difficult to make and easy to do poorly.
Social entrepreneur Dr. Paul Polak famously said that the majority of our world's designers are focusing all their efforts on products and services for only 10% of the population. The other 90% (5.1 billion people) live on less than $10 a day. And in many developing countries, the system fails to teach kids even the most basic skills. More and more international development organizations–-USAID, the World Bank, the UN, and private foundations–-are looking into gaming technology to bridge some of these gaps.
ZMQ, an Indian game developer, has led one of the best-known efforts in this space with their Java mobile games that focus on HIV/AIDS. Their games have reached 67 million devices with 10.3 million sessions registered. Evaluation showed significant increases in learning and qualitative research showed changes in attitude and safer sex practices.
See also: Play Power, creating educational games for $10 8-bit TV consoles
You should care because: impacting the hardest to reach with games is a lofty goal. But these low-cost solutions are creating significant learning opportunities in developing countries.
Burak also comments on:
Young Game Makers
New Innovation and Funding
Evaluation and Brain Research