[sl] Major GK Events at the Games For Change Confernce

So much to report from the Games For Change conference in New York City!

Global Kids Wins Award

Global Kids was thrilled to be awarded one of the top game prizes of the conference, the GaCha award. The game from our Playing 4 Keeps program, Ayiti: The Cost of Life, was awarded the best Awareness-Raising Game. We couldn't be more pleased. We accepted the award with our students and folks from GameLab. Afi French gave a very moving acceptance speech that left quite a few in tears.

    Best Awareness-Raising Game - for the game that best raises awareness of an important social issue through engaging and meaningful gameplay coupled with innovative and successful distribution techniques towards a broad reach.

    Criteria: Is it a good game, with good game play and a solid integration of game mechanic and content? How did this game reach new audiences, find innovative distribution avenues, and ultimately raise awareness for a particular cause? Tips: These are often low budget games, made in a grass roots context, virally distributed.

Beth Kanter posted this photo of Lithelson holding the award:

Global Kids Coordinates Teen Panelists

Global Kids coordinated eight teens (7 in person, one in TSL) to talk about their work across five different programs making, modding, evaluating, and making movies out of games.

Teens from Computer for Youth, the Bronx River Art Center, Global Kids Playing 4 Keeps & Virtual Video Project, and the Institute for Urban Game Design in Washington, D.C. were represented.

The teens ranged in age from six grade to two who graduated just two days earlier (one as valedictorian). Each group presented for 5-8 minutes and we then took questions from the audience. We showed the Global Kids machinima's from WITHIN Second Life and then Brooke Barmy, who met us in-world, talked about what it was like to build set and props for the upcoming machinima on child soldiers.

Jonathan from Playing 4 Keeps introduced the program as Sanji gave an overview and showed a demo of Ayiti. We then went into Second Life where Jonathan showed this year's game in development, an interactive experience about racism and the history of medical research in prisons.

Due to end-of-the-year finals, none of the students from Global Kids' machinima program, the Virtual Video Project, could attend. However, we WERE able to show their work, projected on a screen in Second Life (where the movies were filmed). In addition, the set and prop designer - a TSL resident named Brooke Barmy - spoke to us through Skype and in Second Life about using his building skills for socially-conscious machinima.

Watch Beth's video blog interview with two teen panelists is definitely worth checking out.

Read Beth's live blogging during the panel and her link to the video from one of the panelists.

P4K Student Leader Gets Game Scholarship

During the conference, we sent Vladimyr, one of the Global Kids Leaders, to meet with an official of Parsons who had asked him in so she could offer him a scholarship to their summer gaming program. These programs are designed for high school students to help prepare them for a degree in digital design. Vladimyr had visited the program with Global Kids earlier in April. After the April visit, on the way out the door, he asked "How do I make a portfolio?" We told him, at the time, get this scholarship. Congratulations Vladimyr! We are so proud of you.

Global Kids watches and participates in mixed-reality event

The Virtual Activism Panel - the mixed-reality panel at the Games 4 Change Conference - was held in Second Life as well on the non-profit commons.

Virtual Activitism Panel - mixed-reality panel at Games 4 Change Conference and in Second Life

More blog coverage on the Games 4 Change Conference:
  • Games for Change Expo
  • It was also covered in the Harvard Law blog video vidi visum : virtual and you can read the post below.

    Panelists include young people from: Global Kids, Computers for Youth, McKinley Technology HS, and Bronx River Art Center, moderated by Barry Joseph, Global Kids.

    This panel comprised the young people that many G4C developers want to reach: it was remarkable hearing from the youth themselves. The discussion focused heavily on using the game design process, rather than games themselves, as the program driver. To the extent that educational interventions work best with personal involvement, teaching, and mentoring, this all makes sense. I think the question for G4C is whether the games themselves can educate/change, and the degree to which they can do so in a scalable and low-cost way.

Photos from Rikomatic, In Kenzo and Beth: