by Idit Harel Capteron
For the ninth consecutive year, we’ll come together at the G4C Festival next week to envision and learn to build the future of gaming for social good. Games ARE changing the way we entertain, tell stories, interact and communicate—there’s no question about it. Worldwide gaming is bigger than the music industry, DVD sales, movies or television. According to one of the G4C Festival sponsors, the Entertainment Software Association, gamers are more diverse than most of us realize: nearly as many women as men (47% and 53% respectively), and as many adults as teenagers (68% of gamers are 18 or older). The divides are closing fast. Gaming is truly becoming a universal language, and interactive gaming media platforms are how the world connects and communicates.
The same engagement trends are evident at the G4C Festival. G4C co-Presidents Asi Burak and Michelle Byrd have seen participation rates climb each year, and people of diverse backgrounds, professions, sectors and industries are starting to recognize the power of games to shape the way we communicate to form an interconnected society.
In my view, in order to fully leverage diverse perspectives in any community, it’s imperative that all people, despite geography or socioeconomic background, have the capability to communicate by using this “new language” called games, at the core of which lies coding.
Moreover, some members of the G4C community have learned that the creation of games is a perfect way to engage young people in learning to code. In today’s EdWeek Digital Directions article, Ian Quillen featured our Globaloria students and teachers in West Virginia, Texas, California, and Florida for a look into how this game design is helping to teach coding and digital literacy.
“The specialization that often occurs in groups of students that design games—when they split the tasks of coding, graphic artistry, and concept design, for example—and the resulting communication lessons are becoming more widely recognized by mainstream educators,” writes Quillen, who recently visited Globaloria classrooms in Middle and High Schools in rural West Virginia.
Check out these “faces of concentration and engagement” in Matt Roth’s photo blog.
As we gather at G4C this year, let’s make sure to think hard about the next generation and about what it takes to ensure that they’ll have 1) an equal opportunity to access our growing G4C community of gamers, developers, business and government leaders, and educators, and 2) the capabilities to be included in the community. Beyond just creating and spreading dynamic and intense learning experiences through social-issue games, the G4C Festival provides an opportunity for us to create a learning revolution worldwide!
Idit Harel Caperton is a member of the G4C community and the President and Founder of the World Wide Workshop. She and her team invented Globaloria back in 2006 to show how all kids, from a young age, can become fluent in using global networks to master the new common language of games by programming their own applications and making original games for solving the world’s most pressing problems. Globaloria is feeding the pipeline of next-generation ‘Games for Changers.’ Idit speaks about “Coding as the New Writing” on Tuesday, June 19, at noon.
To see Idit’s talk live, visit our Livestream page at http://new.livestream.com/g4c