Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Reflections on Games for Change

After a week of reflection post-conference, a number of elements have emerged to guide my thinking on Games for Jewish Learning. These are issues that are not exclusive to Jewish learning, but go some way towards informing the wider field of Transformational Gaming. My top three take-home points are as follows.

1. Transmedia

This was a subject that was raised by a number of the speakers as something that will become increasingly important across genres, including in the field of social issue gaming. The idea of telling stories across multiple channels and formats in which the audience takes an active role in narrative consumption has been experimented on a number of occasions. A series of games were highlighted during the festival that used Transmedia elements, including EVOKE, The Curfew and America 2049. These games urge and reward the player for taking an active role in seeking out the story. There are obvious possibilities for using these types of elements in Jewish Education by developing a production across media channels and encouraging the user to immerse themselves in the content. (I shall write a future blog post on a Transmedia project that I am working on in Kenya.)

2. Game Design as Education

A number of companies at the festival showcased simple tools for use in schools that allow students to design and build their own basic games. Game design as a vocation is certainly not for everyone, however the process of trying to embed an educational objective into a game can be extremely effective at informing the designer on the issue. Thus, introducing game design into the classroom could be an effective method for engaging learners in Jewish Education curriculum objectives.

3. Community Games

In order to seed greater integration among desperate individuals within a community in Macon, Georgia, the Knight Foundation funded the roll-out of Macon Money. This real-world game encouraged players to seek out the holder of a matching bond made up of special symbols. Once a match is found the pair can redeem the bond for a voucher redeemable at participating local shops. The game gave residents a reason to meet people outside of their immediate circle and potentially forged long-lasting relationships. There are possibilities for replicating this type of real world game to bring desperate Jewish communities together, or as a means to build collaborative teams among students at different schools.

Any questions or follow up: @philg1

No comments: