I am, I admit, a gloomy person, who spends a lot of time looking at the worst of the world. I am often saved, however, and made a little more hopeful, by the weirdness, creativity, and enthusiasm of kids. Today, in the midst of the financial storm clouds gathering around us, I was able to see some light at a meeting of the Connecticut Innovations Academy (CTIA).
Every year, the Center for 21st Century Skills organizes an Innovation Challenge to bring together Connecticut teens from urban and suburban neighborhoods to collaborate on high tech projects. Last year, the Challenge was to build a video game in MIT’s Scratch program, and build a whole mock company, website, white paper, and marketing campaign to support it. The winners put together a great educational game, but participants complained that they didn’t have enough game design education. This year, the Challenge is basically the same except all game designs will be about environmental issues, organizational kinks have been worked out, and they have dozens of Grow A Game to help spark young imaginations. I went to the program’s first meeting this year to talk to 130-odd students about designing games with values in mind.
26 September, 2008