Playing 4 Keeps

[p4k/Teen] U.S. Troops x Katrina in New Orleans = A Better Product 

I'm thinking about a game where each level has two missions, one were U.S. troops are helping you, then a harder one where you are alone ( in both missions you must do the same thing). The mission where troops help represents what could have happened if the war would have been over, and the harder one were you're alone will represent what really happened.

[p4k/Teen] Hurricane Katrina 

Hurricane Katrina was one of the strongest storms to impact the coast of the United States during the last 100 years. With sustained winds during landfall of 125 mph (a strong category 3 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson scale) and minimum central pressure the third lowest on record at landfall (920 mb), Katrina caused widespread devastation along the central Gulf Coast states of the US. Cities such as New Orleans, LA, Mobile, AL, and Gulfport, MS bore the brunt of Katrina's force and will need weeks and months of recovery efforts to restore normality. I found this information on the website of the NOAA Satellite and Information Service.

[p4k/Teen] Deciding on a Topic 

Today we ''supposedly'' decided on a topic in which we decided on to merge the two topics our game was going to be about out topics were War and hurricane Katrina.It took two days(and alot of fustration and debate ) but we came to a compromise. I wanted to do a game on the counter intillegence program but from my blog we know how that went well hopefully this won't be total drag but on the other hand with a group I have to work with it would seem that way.

[p4k/Teen] I will tell you about p4k 

In p4k we design video games and use them to help us to see problems that are happening in the world today. The game that we have decide on making is a mixture of two world issues. These games will be on the war in Iraq and about the Hurricane Katrina. We are not sure yet on how we are going to do it but we will find out how to make a good game.

[p4k] Tragedy and Hope 

Last week was a challenging and exciting one for Playing 4 Keeps. On Tuesday, we came to Canarsie ready to start researching possible topics for our game. Instead, we were told the school was having a “rapid dismissal” and all after school programs were cancelled. There was a meeting after school where teachers were to be told the bad news before the Board of Ed went public: Canarsie is being phased out. Next fall, Canarsie will stop accepting freshmen and it will graduate its last class in 2011. Over then next few years, vacancies will be filled by three of even four new, smaller charter schools.

Some of the staff was outraged, and as I sat with my fellow GK trainers, we braced for the coming battle to keep up student morale. I’ve never been through this process before, but from what I’ve been told, it’s a struggle to keep students excited about education and stop them from feeling like the school system is casting them aside. We have a strong group at P4K, but we’re going to have to work extra hard to help everyone stay focused on the road ahead. The DoE’s decision has nothing to do with the quality of Canarsie’s faculty or students, and it’s our job to make sure the students realize this. Changes our hard, but learning to adapt to them is a vital part of growing up. I’m sure our students have the maturity to handle this transition.

[press] NY design school launches research lab for serious video games 

A recent nationally circulated Associated Press article online, written by AP writer Colleen Long, announces the new research lab at the Parsons design school which will be focusing on developing and studying serious games and their scope for social good.

PETLab, the first such lab in the country, will work on creating models of new types of games or interactive designs that address social issues and will do interactive research on whether playing the games helps effect positive social change.

Global Kids hopes to partner with PETLab on some of our projects this upcoming year (stay tuned for more on that). We also were overjoyed to be cited as a good example of what is possible in the field of serious games.

Lab researchers hope to create more games like the popular "Ayiti: The Cost of Life," developed by the nonprofit Global Kids and tech company GameLab, in which players manage a rural family of five in Haiti. The aim of the game is to keep the family healthy, and players make decisions on whether to save money or spend it on a party or at the store, and the family benefits or suffers based on the decisions.

You can read the full article here.

[p4k] Know Your Rights 

These are exciting days at Canarsie. It’s December now, and the program is gearing up, transitioning from pure education to production. We’re beginning to think about this year’s game concretely, beginning to apply the lessons we’ve learned. On Monday we held a four-hour workshop on the United Nations Declaration on Human Rights that was dramatically different from our past sessions.

Traditionally, our workshops have followed a model of introducing a topic, discussing it, playing an online game about the issue, and then discussing the game and the issue together. Monday, however, we took a break from the computers and gave the students the opportunity to really stretch their creativity. After discussing human rights, the class broke up into small groups and developed skits that demonstrated human rights violations. There are many parallels between theatre and games (as Agusto Boal and Gonzolo Frasca would surely agree) and, while the kids didn’t immediately see the connection, they dove into the task. We actually had to restrain their enthusiasm a bit, as some of the performances involved leaping around and screaming in imitation of police brutality and war.

[dmi] Education Week Article Features Global Kids 

An excellent overview of the MacArthur Foundation's Digital Media and Learning Initiative is now available from Education Week (both in print and online). Global Kids machinima program is mentioned, as are overviews of a number of other projects. As MacArthur is now officially a year into the project, it offers an excellent check-in.

Projects Probe New Media's Role in Changing the Face of Learning

By Andrew Trotter

Published Online: November 30, 2007

Published in Print: December 5, 2007

Online multiplayer games that immerse teenagers in scientific challenges and social networks designed to spark their creativity are among a range of research-and development projects that the MacArthur Foundation has backed since it launched its its digital-learning initiative a year ago.

The Chicago-based John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation committed $50 million in October of last year to a five-year initiative to understand how digital technologies are changing the way young people learn, play, socialize, and participate in civic life. ("Funder Seeding Work in the Emerging Field of 'Digital Learning,' " Nov. 15, 2006.)

[p4k] Hunger and Flow 

We finished another good week at Playing 4 Keeps this week. Despite the Thanksgiving break, everyone came back ready to work and think, and I was happy to se how little cajoling it took to get everyone focused and on task. Partly as a way to reflect on the luxury many of us had experienced over the weekend, we discussed world hunger on Monday. As usual, we used a mix of role-playing and video game playing to examine the issue. We also had a principal and teacher from a high school in Connecticut as guests. They’re considering bringing P4K to their school, and I think they were impressed with how we blend the digital with the physical to examine serious issues.

[p4k] War Games 

We only have one day of P4K this week, so we kind of made it a mash up of issues that would be discussed in separate sessions. The topic was war games, and we watched some videos that examine the intersection between virtual combat and real world conflict. We planned to watch more videos than we ended up seeing, but that was mainly because discussion (thankfully) lasted longer than expected.