Spreading Serious Game Design

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This is the powerpoint from the 2010 Games For Change Festival.

The Power of Design: Youth Making Social Issue Games Day

Monday, May 24th, 9:00 a.m. - 5:00pm, followed by a reception, Theresa Lang Student Center, 2nd Floor, 55 West 13th St.


Spreading Serious Game Design: Global Kids' Playing For Keeps Capacity Building Program
2:45 - 3:45

This panel will explore how Global Kids' successful serious game design program, originally created for an afterschool context, was redesigned to scale and spread to libraries, public housing computer labs, in-school tech clubs, and public school classrooms. Representatives from each site will report on their experiences and details will be shared about the professional development program developed to support their implementations. Results from an independent evaluation will be shared and the final work produced by participating youth will be shown.

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  • If time, ask who is here.
  • Introduce myself and GK. Co-founded G4K - so proud of how it has grown. In the summer of 2002, we began developing an after school program called P4K, to support youth to introduce youth to game design, serious game design. We wanted to see what would happen if we treated games as a form of youth media, as a yet another medium youth consume which they can then learn how to produce, and think critically about its content from a production framework. That was eight years ago. But this hour is not about that program. It’s about what has happened since then. So, why this panel - If it doesn’t bend, it breaks. To misapply a quote from Henry Jenkins, “If it doesn’t spread, it’d dead.”
  • Explain structure (Each presenter will be asked to BRIEFLY describe their institution and what P4K looked like within their institution, with the bulk of their 5 minutes addressing the question listed after their name below, followed by Q&A) and perhaps show a chart that highlights differences (in schools vs. in community; final output (game or no game), formal, intentional, youth-led learning, etc.) Otis H., Global Kids Youth Leader H. Jack Martin, Assistant Director for Public Programs and Lifelong Learning, The New York Public Library Thaddeus Miles, Director of Public Safety, MassHousing Selen Turkay, graduate student, Teacher's College Marc Lesser, Education Director, MOUSE Paul Allison, NYC Public School Teacher at the East-West School of International Studies & Tech Liaison for the New York City Writing Project
  • A group of kids came together twice a week at Canarsie High School to create a game to affect players to think about what they could do to make a difference in the world.
  • (good times, good times...)
  • Okay, so that was the initial program. Program funded by MS, who introduced us to this scaling framework. Introduce Scaling frame: http://www.microsoft.com/education/demos/scale/ Key points: We didn't know how to take the strength - working with professional game developers, to make a game - and make it scale. Could it work without a game developer involved? If so, how could the expertise be passed on? Would facilitators need to be trained to be game designers? And if a final game was not produced, would it be seen as not worth doing, by participants or institutions? Could it be youth-led?
  • Here are the four areas. Keep your eye on these four things as we move on to our next presenters, noticing: Where a less powerful version was created; how technology was used to take it to scale; what was changed to make a light version and what was retained?
  • NYPL
  • NYPL
  • NYPL
  • NYPL
  • Hi, as Barry said, I did the evaluation of the Playing 4 Keeps Capacity Building Program last year. Among the goals for the evaluation were to find out if the staff training trained facilitators about what they needed to do with their students, if the lesson plans were able to guide facilitators in the process? And, what did they learn that they can transfer to similar programs? To do so, I conducted semi-structured interviews with facilitators from six sites, used any evidence from program website, and from the documents facilitators provided me with, to capture facilitators’ and students’ experiences throughout the program. Then, I coded these qualitative data thematically.
  • After Jack and Thaddeus’ presentations you probably realized that there were differences between the overall structure of NYPL and Boston Neighborhood community centers such as the environment the workshops took place and the technology availability as well as differences among facilitators and student participants. For the sake of 5 minute presentation, I will give a snapshot how differences among student participants impacted tailoring the curriculum.
  • All the facilitators I interviewed pointed out several times that they needed to tailor the curriculum based on the students’ age, prior knowledge and motivation to do certain activities over other. This tailoring consequently impacted the dynamics of the workshops.
  • If you notice there is a big variation among the participant ages in Boston sites. Between the youngest and the oldest, there was 5 or more years of difference while it was not the case for NYPL sites. This was a result of the nature of recruiting. NYPL branches recruited youth specifically for the program so they were fitting participants to the curriculum, while Boston community centers used the existing participants meaning that they were fitting the curriculum to the participants.  Lets take a look at how the curriculum got customized..
  • Will not talk about each site but just take a look at Bradley Properties and Grand Concourse Public Library Branch. One general finding was that the youths at the Boston sites were very interested in learning and discussing about serious issues. The Bradley Properties’ facilitator Ms.Moris said that since many of the teens in her group came from immigrant and low-income families, they were very sensitive to the issues and wanted to discuss them more and learn more about global issues given in the curriculum. Once they started talking, it was difficult to stop them whereas kids in Grand Concourse perceived issue workshops as something they needed to do in order to move on the game design part of the curriculum. So, the facilitators merged serious issue workshops or quickly went over them. Another point is that kids at the Bradley properties were not really exposed to concept of games. For example, they did not think board games as games. So, the facilitator had them play different games as much as possible and have discussions until she thought they comprehended the topics. On the other hand playing different games was distracting for kids at Grand Concourse site. So, they picked and played one at a session. Therefore, youths at the Bradley properties needed, wanted, and were motivated to go over all the concepts related to both issue and game design so this made the program’s time line longer. At the time of writing the evaluation Bradley Properties had not completed their game prototype. (If there is time left for some reason) A few more examples are… In Boston sites, because of the age differences, participants had varying level of understanding. As a result, older participants sometimes took the role of mentors and taught younger ones as much as they could. Or, sometimes facilitators needed to lecture instead of facilitating. For example, when they played the game called Hurricane Katrina: Tempest in Crescent City, younger kids did not know that the game was based on an actual disaster. So, the facilitator and the older participants talked about Hurricane Katrina. A few workshops of the curriculum required teens to conduct research on serious issues. Many were not happy with the idea. Pelham Apartments’ facilitator Ms.Gomez-Debrosse had realized that teens in her group was very interested in hands on activities so she invited an expert on recycling from a nearby recycling plant and then arranged to take kids to the recycling plant as part of research for their game. Ms.Couri from Teen Central tried to make the research as much like as a game as possible to keep them engaged.
  • So, the facilitators did not cover everything on the lesson plans, instead they picked and chose and modified based on the teen participants. They basically set different goals for their sites. For some, the goal became to end up with a great game prototype for others teens having more knowledge on serious issues or facilitators having a broader point of view on how to engage kids in learning. No matter what modifying the lesson plans based on their students’ needs worked for all the sites.
  • So, the facilitators did not cover everything on the lesson plans, instead they picked and chose and modified based on the teen participants. They basically set different goals for their sites. For some, the goal became to end up with a great game prototype for others teens having more knowledge on serious issues or facilitators having a broader point of view on how to engage kids in learning. No matter what modifying the lesson plans based on their students’ needs worked for all the sites.
  • So, the facilitators did not cover everything on the lesson plans, instead they picked and chose and modified based on the teen participants. They basically set different goals for their sites. For some, the goal became to end up with a great game prototype for others teens having more knowledge on serious issues or facilitators having a broader point of view on how to engage kids in learning. No matter what modifying the lesson plans based on their students’ needs worked for all the sites.
  • earlier I referred to this cycle of youth development, and how everything we do really strives to achieve that ideal – whether it’s a single activity or full day of training – we see this cycle as the thing that really drives are students and our programs to succeed what a lot of new programs don’t necessarily realize right away is how many of these opportunities happen organically (as a result of adapting the program to a specific context) and, second, how many happen beyond certification, on the job as a technician, and beyond the helpdesk through projects that happen at the powerful intersection of our students’ passions and our educators’ creativity > all of us, as educators, know the value of engaging our students through their own passions and interests and ourgoal is to help support you in doing that. It starts with realizing your MOUSE Squad as the perfect vehicle for doing just that… let me give you an example.
  • NYCWP, Institute for Literacy Studies at Lehman College, CUNY - http://nycwp.net one of over 200 local writing projects in the National Writing Project: Over our 30-year history, more than 12,000 NYC teachers have taken part in Project-sponsored seminars, workshops, graduate courses and special programs. Their work in the teaching of writing has reached more than 250,000 students. Technology work for the past 10 years, and Tech Thursdays for the past 6 years. This spring, we turned three of our Tech Thursdays into workshops with Barry Joseph and Rafi Santo at Global Kids, with support from the National Writing Project's Digital Is proje ct, which is funded by the MacArthur Foundation's Digital Media and Learning Initiative We have found that gaming is an elephant. The six of us who have met together this spring and have planned curriculum together might describe different parts of the elephant, but we know that any of our descriptions would be incomplete. We are thrilled to have begun this journey, and we are thinking of ways to share our learning with our colleagues in the NYCWP this summer and in the fall. This is new content that we want to include in our curriculum, not some sort of innovative way to present material that we have always taught. There are important new literacies that we are beginning to address in this work.
  • (5 sec.) Scott Price, a producer at Gamestar Mechanic, will be our guest on Teachers Teaching Teachers - http://edtechtalk.com this Wednesday at 9:00 p.m. where we will be talking more about our next steps.
  • Level Up!
  • Spreading Serious Game Design

    1. 1. Spreading Serious Game Design Serious Game Design <ul><li>Global Kids' Playing For Keeps </li></ul><ul><li>Capacity Building Program </li></ul>May 24, 2010 The Power of Design: Youth Making Social Issue Games Day
    2. 2. Once upon a time... If it doesn’t bend, it breaks. If it doesn’t spread, it’s dead.
    3. 3. Panelists
    4. 4. <ul><li>2007/2008 </li></ul><ul><li>High School students </li></ul><ul><li>Twice a Week </li></ul><ul><li>Canarsie High School </li></ul><ul><li>Make a digital game </li></ul><ul><li>To affect players </li></ul><ul><li>To make a difference in the world. </li></ul>Playing For Keeps
    5. 5. Playing For Keeps thanks to AMD for the video
    6. 6. Two years later... <ul><li>The world of gaming & what goes into creating a game </li></ul><ul><li>Communicate </li></ul><ul><li>Valuing other’s opinions </li></ul><ul><li>Research skills </li></ul><ul><li>World issues </li></ul><ul><li>Making a difference </li></ul>What I learned:
    7. 7. Tempest in Crescent City <ul><li>www.TempestinCrescentCity.org </li></ul>PLAY!
    8. 8. Taking P4K to Scale: Spread
    9. 9. Taking P4K to Scale: Spread
    10. 10. New York Public Library “ I know that they never wanted to feel like being at school in this program. When they got a little restless we gave them free time to play with the laptops, to play games. They liked playing games online when it worked.” Ms. Lopez, Grand Concourse NYPL Branch
    11. 11. New York Public Library “ The teens went beyond my expectations during this project. I thought that they would forget their lines, but they actually brought extra things to make their project better such as make-up, fake money etc.” Ms. Burns, Port Richmond Branch, New York
    12. 12. New York Public Library
    13. 13. New York Public Library
    14. 14. Neighborhood Networks
    15. 15. Neighborhood Networks
    16. 16. Neighborhood Networks
    17. 17. Neighborhood Networks • Technology differed site by site and instructors had differing skill sets. • Sites are spread out from each other, and remote from GK in NYC.  • Used to intensive programs for youth like this, rather than drop in programs, so we had to manage P4K within the schedule of other technology offerings, for people of all ages and not always for education. • The toughest part was the train the trainer, for the older instructors, who were required to move forward before they were ready, when this type of work was outside their job description. 
    18. 18. Playing For Keeps Evaluation <ul><li>Six sites (3 NYPL, 3 Boston Neighborhood Community Centers) </li></ul><ul><li>Semi-structured weekly interviews (n=45) </li></ul><ul><li>Online survey after the staff training </li></ul><ul><li>Program website </li></ul>
    19. 19. <ul><li>Differences in program participants </li></ul><ul><li>Age </li></ul><ul><li>Prior knowledge in serious issues &games </li></ul><ul><li>Motivation </li></ul>Playing For Keeps Evaluation
    20. 20. <ul><li>“ Overall I think that the program is great. Kids can benefit from it a lot. Just, I think that we should modify it to fit our group of kids because all kids are different. They learn differently and they all have different interest ranges.” </li></ul><ul><li>Ms. Boone, Four Corner Community Center, Boston </li></ul>Playing For Keeps Evaluation
    21. 21. Playing For Keeps Evaluation
    22. 22. Playing For Keeps Evaluation Tailoring the Curriculum
    23. 23. <ul><li>“ It is a great opportunity to get young people interested about and thinking about serious issues that are already affecting them but also giving them the language and knowledge to look at these issues in a different way. I think that goal of mine was accomplished even though we have not completed the game yet.” </li></ul><ul><li>Ms. Morris, Bradley Properties, Boston </li></ul>Playing For Keeps Evaluation
    24. 24. <ul><li>&quot;In general the workshops went well. We used them as a guideline to what needed to be covered, since we could not strictly follow them. Some days we were able to combine a few workshops together and other times it took the whole time allotted plus half of another session to cover a workshop. I think what worked for us is that we allowed them extra time to play the games, and after a discussion we would break into an ice-breaker…&quot; </li></ul><ul><li>Ms. Burns, Port Richmond Libraries, New York </li></ul>Playing For Keeps Evaluation
    25. 25. <ul><li>“… This curriculum and the things it has, games and issues, brought a broader view of what kinds of things we could use in our community center. It encouraged me and also pushed me to be a lot more creative, showed me that I can be creative in what kinds of things I can use. I like the Free Rice game. You both play a game and do a service. It gave me a way to rethink how to do things with kids, to keep them engaged, while at the same time being innovative and creative. I never thought about doing history kinds of things with kids or even human rights….” </li></ul><ul><li>Ms. Boone, Four Corners Community Center, Boston </li></ul>Playing For Keeps Evaluation
    26. 27. <ul><li>Specialist Certification </li></ul><ul><li>Mentoring & Modeling </li></ul><ul><li>Leadership Skills </li></ul><ul><li>Specialist Events </li></ul><ul><li>Design Activities </li></ul><ul><li>“ Unplugged” </li></ul><ul><li>Advanced Specialization </li></ul><ul><li>Mentoring & Modeling </li></ul><ul><li>Leadership Skills </li></ul><ul><li>Job Shadowships </li></ul><ul><li>Social Change “Legacy” Project </li></ul><ul><li>Paid Summer Internships </li></ul><ul><li>College Prep </li></ul><ul><li>Help Desk Certification </li></ul><ul><li>“ On-the-job” experience </li></ul><ul><li>Teamwork & Teambuilding </li></ul><ul><li>Troubleshooting </li></ul>MOUSE Squad MOUSE Corps
    27. 28. <ul><li>adapting content to a minimally guided environment </li></ul><ul><li>the difference with geeks </li></ul><ul><li>situating the narrative </li></ul><ul><li>system constraints </li></ul>Marc, don’t forget these points!
    28. 32. National Writing Project
    29. 33. National Writing Project 1) Sayeed (2015) on Ayiti: Cost of Life - Issue-Based Games 2) Finding Haiti i n Wonderland - Allesia - Issue-Base d Games and Favorite Video and Board Games 3) Susan Ettenheim, Elean o r Roosevelt High School, and Shantanu Saha, Baccalaureate School for Global Education: Modifying Games - Board Games • Risk-Iraq Edition • The Leg acy of Globalizat ion (Monopoly) • Glo bal Snakes and Alternative Ladders • Game Project • Save the World • Reduce, Reuse, Recycle 4) Evoke - Hannah (2 010) Inspires a Community/School Garden - Alternate R eality Games ( A ) ( B ) • The Ea st-West Corner Gar den • What are the co nnections between garde n ing and gaming?
    30. 34. Further Spread? LEVEL UP! http://LevelUpBootCamp.org
    31. 35. <ul><li>Q & A </li></ul>

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