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VR For Change Is Now XR For Change

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Technology is constantly evolving and transforming. At G4C, we aim to keep up with the innovation and adoption of new media technologies as drivers of social change. In 2017, we launched the XR for Change Summit in response to growing interest from our community to explore the application of these new technologies for social good. The response has been overwhelming and we are encouraged that there is a need for a convener to help grow a community of practitioners across sectors who believe in the power of emerging tech and social change.

 

VR For Change is Now XR for Change

After carefully listening to many voices across different parts of our community, we have decided to rename VR for Change as XR for Change. As XR (Exponential Realities) suggests, this new initiative aims to include many versions of emerging technology – existing and yet to be developed – in the hopes of being more inclusive for developers across VR, MR and AR.

We believe there is tremendous potential for impact in all of these technologies and look forward to helping grow a community that can explore the full breadth of possibilities in making social good experiences.

Our commitment stays the same – XR for Change will be a convener of the community of practice with the XR for Change summit, encourage dialogue and foster collaboration between different sectors led by an Ambassador Group and incubate new projects as drivers of social change with Challenges and XR Jams. We strongly believe that XR for Change presents a unique opportunity to advance this field, and spark partnerships between content creators, hardware and software companies and cause-based organizations.

 

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XR for Change Talk and Play Event Hosted At SAP’s Leonardo Innovation Center, NYC
February 2nd, from 6-8pm

Join us at the first XR for Change Talk and Play event which will explore XR projects that advance social and civic issues. The session will be moderated by Erik Martin (Unity) and speakers include Navid Khonsari (InkStories), James Pallot (Emblematic Group), and  media artist Zohar Kfir (Testimony) plus a few more surprise guests. The event will take place February 2, 2018 from 6-8pm at SAP’s Leonardo Innovation Center in NYC and will feature a one hour panel followed by one hour of demos, networking, and cocktails. Admission is free and is open to the public but space is limited so RSVP’s are required in advance.

RSVP NOW

 

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XR for Change Summit Submissions Are Open 

As part of the 2018 G4C Festival, G4C will be convening the one-of-a-kind XR for Change Summit in New York on Saturday, June 30, 2018. The G4C Festival Curatorial Team is seeking technologists and social innovators developing projects that incorporate VR/AR/MR to improve communities and create social good. Applications are open until February 7 for ideas for talks, panels, demos and workshops that engage with the latest immersive technologies.

Do not forget to submit your best XR Impact Game to with a prestigious G4C Award within the catergories of: Most Significant Impact, Most Innovative, Best Gameplay, Best Learning Game, and Game of the Year.

SUBMIT XR IDEAS                                                                SUBMIT XR GAMES

 

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VR Educational Games At 2018 ED Games Expo

G4C’s President Susanna Pollack recently attended the fifth annual ED Games Expo at John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts (Washington D.C.) to moderate a panel discussion in the So You Want to Be a Game Developerseries. During the panel, game developers such as Randy Weiner (co-founder of Brainquake), Maria Burns Ortiz (CEO and co-founder of 7 Genration Games), and Devin Young (co-founder of Classcraft, a G4C Industry Circle member) shared professional insights with more than 125 local students about learning game design skills. During the Expo, G4C also had the opportunity to meet developers and learn about their VR games which are improving education, creating interactive learning and skill-building. Check out the list of VR games and developers that are immersing students in hands-on-situations and creating impactful learning experiences within the fields of science, engineering, history, medical training, and health.

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Virtual Reality at the ED Games Expo

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Come out to the the Kennedy Center in Washington DC on January 8 to Demo 11 New VR Learning Games.

Virtual Reality (VR) is an emerging area in education that holds promise for enriching student learning both in and out of the classroom. VR can immerse students in hands-on situations that often times would not be possible otherwise, all while connecting the experiences to academic learning and skill building. VR’s advances have improved the quality of content and gameplay, increased the potential for individualized learning and allowed commercial viability through off-the-shelf kits. Thanks to this, more and more game developers are tapping into the VR landscape and creating unique experiences for educational games.

Susanna Pollack, president of Games for Change, will be attending and moderating the panel discussion So You Want To Be A Game Developer on Monday January 8 at 11 am, in which leading developers will share their professional trajectory with high-school students who want to learn game design skills.

The annual 2018 ED Games Expo will demo 11 new virtual reality learning technologies (along with other 100+ learning games) at the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C. Attendees will also have the chance to meet the developers while playing one-of-a-kind games. The VR games will be targeted towards students of all ages and will focus on diverse topics including science, engineering, history, thinking, medical training, and health. 

The 11 VR exhibits will include:

  • SuperChem VR, high school students perform chemistry experiments safely and in a cost-effective manner in an immersive virtual reality (VR) game environment. In development by Schell Games through a 2016 ED/IES SBIR award.  
  • Cell Runner is a virtual reality (VR) cell surface dune buggy/bumper car game which puts students (of any grade) in the driver’s seat of learning the abstract concept of the rapid and chaotic diffusion of proteins on the cell surface. Developed by Molecular Jig Games with support provided by NSF SBIR.
  • BioDive uses virtual reality and digital experiences to place middle school students in the role of scientist as they conduct an expedition to seek out venomous marine snails. Developed by Killer Snails with support by NSF SBIR.
  • In the Wright’s First Flight middle and high schools students learn the basics of engineering a plane through hands-on and online activities, then get a firsthand look at what it looks (and feels) like to fly it through a virtual reality (VR) simulation. Developed by the Smithsonian Institution.
  • In Journey Through a Supernova Remnant middle and high school students take a 3D/VR exploration through the invisible remnants of the Cassiopeia, a supernova. This is a groundbreaking 3D representation based on real telescopic data.  Developed by the Smithsonian Institution.
  • VR-EaT is a virtual reality game that supports development of executive functions (switching) for grade 6 and up. Developed by NYU CREATE Lab with partial support from a 2016 IES research award.
  • Osso VR is a virtual reality surgical training platform that helps students explore careers in healthcare professions while teaching actual medical procedures through realistic, hands-on simulations in an operating room. Developed by OSSO, in part supported by OCTAE’s EDSim Challenge.
  • In Brush Up VR  children learn how to brush their teeth more effectively and get used to healthy habits .Developed by Games That Work with NIH SBIR support.
  • ChirosVR encourages middle and high school students to experiment with molecular construction to gain an intuitive understanding of the principles that shape the universe. Developed by Alchemie through a 2017 NSF SBIR award.
  • Gaspee VR takes middle and high school students back to the year 1772, to the first act of war by the Colonists against the Crown. The project is being produced by Adam Blumenthal, with students from Brown University and will be distributed by the online high school, ASU Prep Digital, at Arizona State University.
  • The Wizard of Menlo Park is a Virtual Reality (VR) experience middle and high school students to explore Thomas Edison’s lab in 1879, to learn about the impact of new technologies on society, and The Gaspee VR takes middle and high school students back to 1772 to the first act of war by the Colonists against the crown. In development by a team including the ASU Prep Digital at Arizona State University, Optimity Advisors, and Brown University.

Most of the learning games and technologies at the Expo were developed with the support of 17 different programs in the federal government, including more than 40 from the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program and the Research Grants Program at the Institute of Education Sciences (IES) in the U.S. Department of Education.

The 2018 ED Games Expo is a free event and is open to the public from 10AM to 8PM. To attend and for further information please visit the ED Games Expo website and don’t miss out on this event that will feature more than 100 demonstrations of impactful learning games and new technologies.

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Here’s To A Great Year, 2017 🚀

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Dear Games for Change Community,

Join us this holiday season by supporting the initiatives driven by Games for Change that empower game creators and social innovators to drive real-world impact. G4C harnesses the power of games to help people learn, improve their communities, and contribute to make the world a better place.

During 2017, G4C has had the incredible opportunity to witness the games for change community grow. G4C’s efforts have made room for diverse perspectives, creative and progressive thinking, respectful dialogue, and collaboration across industries and sectors. As a leader in its field and in order to create an open awareness about the work that we do, we would like to invite you to explore G4C’s 2017 achievements:

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CONVENINGS

  • The G4C Festival 2017 was the largest Festival in G4C’s history with over 1000 attendees from the public and private sectors including games designers, educators, government agencies, policy makers, technology and media companies, NGOs and foundations. At the Festival, we held our first VR Brain Jam that brought together 22 neuroscientists with 64 VR developers to explore the intersection of their respective domains. We also hosted a Minecraft HackJam with 75 teachers and curriculum experts teaming with Minecraft Education Edition programmers to create curriculum for use in the classroom.

  • G4C held the first annual VR for Change summit, which launched a year round initiative featuring innovative projects and best practices from leaders in the sector that are creating social impact in the fields of MR/AR/VR.

  • G4C Industry Circle Webinars continue with our 3rd edition of the program. Starting with Filament Games in December 2017, we will continue to host sessions with leading members of the Games for Change community, including: E-Line Media, Schell Games, Classcraft, Triseum and Yogome.

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EDUCATION

  • The G4C Student Challenge is now live in 5 cities across the country including New York City, Los Angeles, Pittsburgh, Detroit and Atlanta. We have doubled the number of teachers that have been trained to run games designs courses from 60 to 120, and we will have reached a total of 3,000 students by the program’s end.

  • G4C partnered with CS4All and the NYC Department of Education to launch the CS4All Hack League competition in mid-November 2017. This year, over 60 public middle and high schools from across all five New York City boroughs were invited to participate in a bracket-style competition where students created games tackling real-world issues.

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EXECUTIVE PRODUCTION

  • The mobile game that we executive produced with Skilled Creative, Title IX, was beta tested in 5 schools and we anticipate a national roll out to universities across the country in January 2018. The mobile game was funded by Women’s Sports Foundation.

  • We secured our first grant to executive produce an immersive VR projectwith Princeton University’s Nuclear Futures Lab that explores nuclear weapons risk. The two year grant was funded by the MacArthur Foundation.

5b8b5096-b109-4ede-abfa-cb47f78bfdcfYOUR SUPPORT

For 2018, Games for Change will continue to lead programs such as the G4C Festival, Student Challenge, Industry Circle, CS4ALL Hack League, and its most recent year-long initiative VR for Change. That is why we need your support and continued participation!

G4C is a nonprofit organization supported by interns, volunteers, contributions from individuals, corporations, foundations, in part, and with funds from government agencies. We hope that you will join us this year as we continue to break down technological barriers for underrepresented communities, narrow the gender gap, and promote games for socially positive experiences that tackle real-world issues.

We look forward to taking this journey together!

The G4C Team

GIFT NOW

 

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📢 2018 Games for Change Festival Dates & Open Call

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#G4C18 Festival Dates

 

Save the date! We are excited to announce that the 15th Annual Games for Change Festival will take place from June 28 – 30, 2018 at Parsons School of Design at the New School in New York City. This will be the biggest Festival yet as G4C celebrates the past 15 years of groundbreaking work from the games for impact community, and explores the exciting new developments that will continue to push social impact games forward into the future.

By popular demand, we are bringing back to you the following four tracks:

  • Games for Learning Summit
  • Neurogaming & Health
  • Civics & Social Issues
  • VR for Change Summit

#G4C18 is full of networking opportunities and hosts an Awards Ceremony, and the G4C Marketplace, where you can showcase your new games and products to Festival attendees. For partnership opportunities, please contact Asif Khan, Senior Director, Partnerships and Programs, at asif.khan@gamesforchange.org.

In the meantime, take a look at the recap of the 2017 Festival and videos of past talks on our YouTube channel.

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Submit games and ideas for #G4C18

 

We are now accepting submissions for our 2018 G4C Festival. We welcome your ideas for sessions (talks, panels, workshops and demos) and game nominations for our annual G4C Awards. A limited number of submissions will be selected and receive complimentary passes to the Festival.

The Festival is a platform for all voices and backgrounds, and provides an opportunity to celebrate and reinforce G4C’s core values: diverse perspectives, creative and progressive thinking, respectful dialogue, and collaboration across industries and sectors. As such, our team of Festival curators will strive to highlight the work and achievements from underrepresented communities.

As we celebrate 15 years of Games for Change, we are not only reflecting on the amazing growth of the sector, but also exploring where the G4C community is headed over the next 15 years. What will be the pressing issues of the day? How will technology change the face of games? Who will have access to those technologies? How will these experiences create social change? Please propose session ideas that celebrate the past and explore the future for the games for change community!

 

Session Ideas

The 2018 Festival will focus on emerging areas in the impact games sector, each as a unique track of programming:

  • Neurogaming & Health
  • Civics & Social Impact
  • Games for Learning
  • VR for Change Summit

Have an idea for a talk that doesn’t fit in one of these tracks? Don’t worry — presentations, discussions, demos and challenging ideas outside of these topics are welcome too!
Deadline: February 7, 11:59 p.m. EST

SUBMIT IDEA

 

Game Awards

Each year, we celebrate the year’s best social impact and learning games at our G4C Awards ceremony and an on-site arcade of the Awards finalists for Festival attendees to play. If you have launched or will launch a game between January 1, 2017 and March 31, 2018, then go for it!

Categories include: Most Significant Impact, Most Innovative, Best Game Play, Best Learning Game, and Game of the Year.
Deadline: February 7, 11:59 p.m. EST

SUBMIT GAME

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We’re Hiring: Partnerships Intern

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About this Job

Games for Change (G4C) is looking for an intern to support partnership and business development efforts for the organization. The intern will support projects related to business development, fundraising, corporate and foundation relations, and event sponsorship. G4C Senior Director, Partnerships & Programs leads on supporting the organization in cultivating, building and nurturing strategic relationships and alliances that are essential for advancing and successfully achieving the mission of G4C. Candidates for this unpaid internship should meet the below qualifications and requirements.

 

Position Details:

  • Support G4C Senior Director, Partnerships & Programs (and other staff as needed) in research, project management, outreach and communication activities across a range of game development projects and funding opportunities.
  • Assist with planning, logistics and invitees list for G4C’s new Virtual Reality (VR) for Change initiative.
  • Help with partner outreach, sponsorship and programming for G4C’s Annual Festival being held in New York City in June 2018.  
  • Compile contact lists and research contact information.
  • Assist in creating, editing documents and presentations.

 

Key Qualifications:

  • Very reliable, self-motivated and proactive
  • Passion for and interest in social impact games and education.
  • Highly organized and detail-oriented.
  • Strong communication skills (Keynote, Google Docs, Adobe) and ability to work with remote teams.
  • Strong English language skills (oral and written).
  • Demonstrate strong computer skills and ability to produce high-quality information visually.
  • Proven abilities for problem-solving, multi-tasking, meet deadlines and work under pressure, strong follow-up skills.
  • Be able to work as part of a team in a constantly evolving work environment

 

Requirements:

  • Weekly commitment of 20-30 hours/week; minimum of 10 weeks. Start date 2/5/2018.
  • Position based in G4C offices in Midtown East, New York City (with the possibility of remote work for the right candidate)
  • Internship is for school credit only. Applicants must be enrolled in a college or university level program and be eligible to receive school credit

To apply, please send an email with the subject line “Partnerships Intern” to Marissa Harts, Operations Manager (marissa@gamesforchange.org). Please send your resume as an attachment and include the following information in the body of the email:

  • Availability (hours per week) and location
  • School, program and expected graduation year
  • Overview of interest and experience with business development and corporate/foundation partnerships.
  • Details on any prior related internship experience

 

About Games for Change

Founded in 2004, Games for Change empowers game creators and social innovators to drive real-world change using games that help people to learn, improve their communities, and contribute to make the world a better place. We convene stakeholders through our annual G4C Festival and foster the exchange of ideas and resources through workshops and consulting projects. We inspire youth to explore civic issues and learn 21st-century and STEM skills through our Student Challenge and train educators to run game design classes on impact games. We incubate projects through our game design challenges and executive production expertise in coalition building. We act as an amplifier by curating and evangelizing games for change to the public through our games arcades and awards.

 

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We’re Hiring: Social Media Intern

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About this Job

Games for Change is looking for a social media intern to support a range of projects promoting games for social impact this fall. Candidates for this unpaid internship should meet the below qualifications and requirements.

 

Position Details:

  • Draft social media content for Games for Change’s social media accounts on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn
  • Help manage our social media and communications calendar
  • Schedule approved posts via Tweetdeck and social media scheduling tools
  • Research leaders and influencers in key areas for specific G4C programs
  • Provide reports from Google Analytics and social media tools
  • Research industry news and updates from game developers
  • Add posts to the Games for Change blog

 

Key Qualifications:

  • You have excellent grammar, writing, and research skills
  • Ideally, you’ve handled social media accounts for an organization before. At minimum, you have active social media accounts on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, and are familiar with or willing to learn social media scheduling tools.
  • Know how to collect and report social media metrics
  • Basic photo-editing skills for editing and resizing photos and screenshots
  • Knowledge of Excel, Word, Google Docs
  • Comfortable with WordPress and HTML
  • Driven to complete tasks on time and able to switch gears quickly
  • Knowledge or interest in the games, especially social impact games

 

Requirements:

  • Weekly commitment of 20-30 hours/week; minimum of 10 weeks. Start date 2/5/2018.
  • Position based in New York (with the possibility of remote work for the right candidate)
  • Internship is for credit and non-credit. Applicants must be enrolled in a college or university level program and be eligible to receive school credit

 

Applying:

To apply, please send an email with the subject line “G4C Social Media Intern” to Marissa Harts, Operations Manager (marissa@gamesforchange.org). Please send your resume as an attachment and include the following information in the body of the email:

  • Availability (hours per week) and location.
  • School, program and expected graduation year.
  • Sample tweet for the G4C program listed above that is of the most interest to you. This should be written as if it is coming from the Games for Change Twitter account.
  • Overview of interest and experience with social impact games (design, play, etc.)
  • Details on any prior related internship experience.

About Games for Change

Founded in 2004, Games for Change empowers game creators and social innovators to drive real-world change using games that help people to learn, improve their communities, and contribute to make the world a better place. We convene stakeholders through our annual G4C Festival and foster the exchange of ideas and resources through workshops and consulting projects. We inspire youth to explore civic issues and learn 21st-century and STEM skills through our Student Challenge and train educators to run game design classes on impact games. We incubate projects through our game design challenges and executive production expertise in coalition building. We act as an amplifier by curating and evangelizing games for change to the public through our games arcades and awards.

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We’re Hiring: Multimedia Intern

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About This Job

 

Games for Change is looking for a Multimedia Intern to support a range of projects promoting games for social impact this winter. Candidates for this unpaid internship should meet the below qualifications and requirements.

 

Position Details:

  • Work closely with the Social Media & Community Manager to create digital assets across online platforms
  • Take photos and videos during G4C events and edit these
  • Catalogue management for documentation
  • Handle CMS of G4C website and add posts to the Games for Change blog
  • Brainstorm and pitch editorial ideas about G4C’s featured games and #G4C17 videos
  • Occasionally draft social media content for Games for Change’s social media accounts on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn
  • Occasionally help manage our social media and communications calendar

 

Key Qualifications:

  • You have excellent grammar, writing, and research skills
  • Interest in new storytelling modes such as VR
  • Good eye for detail and editorial perspective
  • Adept in Photoshop, InDesign, Premiere and Illustrator for creating and editing images and other digital assets
  • Comfortable with WordPress and HTML
  • Knowledge of Excel, Word, Google Docs
  • Ideally, you’ve handled social media accounts for an organization before. At minimum, you have active social media accounts on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, and are familiar with or willing to learn social media scheduling tools.
  • Driven to complete tasks on time and able to switch gears quickly
  • Knowledge or interest in the games, especially social impact games

 

Requirements:

  • Weekly commitment of 20-30 hours/week; minimum of 10 weeks. Start date 2/5/2018.
  • Position based in New York (with the possibility of remote work for the right candidate)
  • Internship is for credit and non-credit. Applicants must be enrolled in a college or university level program and be eligible to receive school credit

 

Applying:

To apply, please send an email with the subject line “G4C Multimedia Intern” to Marissa Harts, Operations Manager (marissa@gamesforchange.org). Please send your resume as an attachment and include the following information in the body of the email:

  • Availability (hours per week) and location
  • School, program and expected graduation year
  • Sample tweet for the G4C program listed above that is of the most interest to you. This should be written as if it is coming from the Games for Change Twitter account.
  • Overview of interest and experience with social impact games (design, play, etc.)
  • Details on any prior related internship experience

About Games for Change

Founded in 2004, Games for Change empowers game creators and social innovators to drive real-world change using games that help people to learn, improve their communities, and contribute to make the world a better place. We convene stakeholders through our annual G4C Festival and foster the exchange of ideas and resources through workshops and consulting projects. We inspire youth to explore civic issues and learn 21st-century and STEM skills through our Student Challenge and train educators to run game design classes on impact games. We incubate projects through our game design challenges and executive production expertise in coalition building. We act as an amplifier by curating and evangelizing games for change to the public through our games arcades and awards.

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We’re Hiring: Communications Intern


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About this Job

Games for Change is looking for an Communications Intern to support a range of projects promoting games for social impact this winter. Candidates for this unpaid internship should meet the below qualifications and requirements.

 

Position Details:

  • Support G4C Staff (VP of Production and Sr. Manager of Production) in outreach and communication activities across range of game development projects
  • Conduct research on games, game related programs, tech opportunities and interventions, and game developers
  • Communicate / Outreach to partners seeking support with impact game projects and lease with game developers, funders, researchers, and evaluators
  • Compile contact lists and research contact info
  • Compose copy for overview documents and concept decks

 

Key Qualifications:

  • Very reliable, self-motivated and proactive
  • Passion for and interest in social impact games and video game development (production, design, & development)
  • Highly organized and detailed-oriented
  • Strong communication skills and ability to work with remote teams
  • Desire to share Games for Change’s mission

 

Requirements:

  • Weekly commitment of 20-30 hours/week; minimum of 10 weeks. Start date 2/5/2018.
  • Position based in New York (with the possibility of remote work for the right candidate)
  • Internship is for school credit only. Applicants must be enrolled in a college or university level program and be eligible to receive school credit

 

Applying:

To apply, please send an email with the subject line “Communications Intern” to Marissa Harts, Operations Manager (marissa@gamesforchange.org). Please send your resume as an attachment and include the following information in the body of the email:

  • Availability (hours per week) and location
  • School, program and expected graduation year
  • Overview of interest and experience with social impact games (design, play, etc.)
  • Details on any prior related internship experience

 

About Games for Change

Founded in 2004, Games for Change empowers game creators and social innovators to drive real-world change using games that help people to learn, improve their communities, and contribute to make the world a better place. We convene stakeholders through our annual G4C Festival and foster the exchange of ideas and resources through workshops and consulting projects. We inspire youth to explore civic issues and learn 21st-century and STEM skills through our Student Challenge and train educators to run game design classes on impact games. We incubate projects through our game design challenges and executive production expertise in coalition building. We act as an amplifier by curating and evangelizing games for change to the public through our games arcades and awards.

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The Games for Change Student Challenge Kicks Off in Los Angeles

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At the start of the school year, 22 teachers from 19 LAUSD and affiliated charter schools met at Skylight Studios in Los Angeles to participate in a teacher training for the third annual Games for Change Student Challenge. They learned how to teach game design and coding skills with support from the Games for Change team and curriculum partner Mouse. This teacher cohort is the first group from Los Angeles to participate in the national program. The Annenberg Foundation and Annenberg Learner are sponsoring the Games for Change Student Challenge in Los Angeles. The program will also run in New York City, Detroit, and Atlanta this year.

In their applications, the participating teachers expressed enthusiasm for providing their students with engaging and relevant curriculum and opportunities to build 21st Century skills. They teach a range of subjects including science, world history, computer science, business, English, and Latin American studies. While most of these teachers are integrating the Mouse Serious Games curriculum into their courses, a few teachers are running the program as an after school club. Most of the participating middle and high schools are Title I and half of the participating teachers are women.

These educators are now prepared to teach their students how to design and build video games using the Mouse Serious Games curriculum and Scratch during the 2017-18 school year. Their students will research issues that affect their community using materials provided by the national theme partners and create games to address those issues. This year, the national themes and partners are Kindness & Empathy, supported by the Born This Way Foundation, News Literacy, supported by Common Sense Media, and Wildlife Conservation, supported by the National Wildlife Federation and #SaveLACougars. Additional activities to support students throughout the year will include field trips, game jams, and mentorships from the gaming and tech industries. At the end of the school year, we will celebrate the students’ work at an awards ceremony and hand out prizes such as mentorships to the students with the winning games.

All students from LAUSD and LAUSD-affiliated charter schools may participate in the challenge this year. You can find the guidelines here. Games are due in April 2018. Click on the Resources tab for game building and theme resources for the contest. Additional program information can be found here: http://www.gamesforchange.org/studentchallenge/la/

Please email us at gamesforchange@learner.org for additional program information or if you are interested in becoming a tech partner for the program in Los Angeles.

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The Annenberg Learner Team

To read the original article click here.

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Launching 2017-18 Industry Circle Series with Filament Games Youtube Live

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We are pleased to present the third edition of the Games for Change Industry Circle, a program that acknowledges the achievements and opportunities in the impact games sector by highlighting leading studies that have made a significant contribution to our community. Following G4C’s recently announced VR for Change initiative, Industry Circle member Filament Games wrote an article sharing VR’s best practices to create an effective learning experience like no other. We hope you enjoy the following piece from the Filament Games Team, and that we will see you at our Youtube Live session and Q&A presented by Dan White, co-founder of Filament Games, and Jennifer Javornik, VP of Sales at Filament games, on Wednesday December 13 at 2 p.m. EST.

RSVP here.

 
HOW TO DESIGN VIRTUAL REALITY FOR LEARNING
 
By Filament Games
 

Consumer-grade VR has been around long enough now that diverse use cases have started to solidify across the spectrum of available devices. Whether you’re entering another reality through the lens of the humble Google Cardboard (mobile VR) or tethering yourself into the Oculus Rift or the HTC Vive ala The Matrix (PC VR). VR done properly can immerse you in a learning experience like no other medium.

That being said, like any creative medium, there are best practices to consider. We focus on four domains of VR design as we reconcile our approach to game development with the affordances of the target device(s): namely, computing power, input capabilities, spatial capabilities, and content.

 

Computing Power

 

This primarily depends on the device being used to facilitate your VR experience, ranging from a decked-out PC with a high-end graphics card to a single smartphone. On a PC, you can create more complex VR environments, characters, and interactions. You’ll still need to optimize for frame rate because, while PC VR does robust hardware, there is still a “low end” and a “high end” within the PC VR landscape.

Conversely, smartphone-enabled mobile VR is far more constrained in terms of the graphical juice that you can apply to a game. Textures, environments, and especially interaction need to be simplified, not only to accommodate the limited processor power, but also the input affordances, which we’ll discuss below. If you’re targeting mobile VR, don’t let this discourage you. Simpler doesn’t necessarily mean second-rate, as it can positively translate into approachability and universality in comparison to a more complex VR experience. Breaking Boundaries in Science, a game we developed for the Samsung Gear, serves as a nice example of mobile VR that toes the line of fidelity and simplicity:

 

Input CapabilitiesIn general, mobile VR lets you provide a singular type of input. Basically, you can click on things. Some of the premium mobile VR offerings like the Samsung Gear offer compatible peripherals which have a few more functions beyond a simple button, allowing for directional movement as well. This limited input paradigm has significant implications for user interaction: experiences must be streamlined so that the user feels agency and excitement in spite of the limitations of a singular, limited input vector.

PC VR is much more generous with interactivity. The Vive and Rift both have peripheral offerings that facilitate complex, layered interactions that bring the user much closer to the feeling of a real-world activity. Our in-development robotics VR game RoboEngineers is demonstrative of the more complex interactions of PC VR:

 

Spatial Capabilities

 

Another key difference among VR devices is space, with variance even among the high-end PC VR. In mobile VR, you are suspended at a single point, and your options for movement are limited to teleportation or directional movement on a peripheral. With the Rift, you are sort of stationary, and sort of not. Head-tracking allows you to occupy the space in situ, so you can duck down, look around, and so forth, but you can’t actually walk around. The Vive offers a bit more room, with walkable “room-scale” space up to 15 feet by 15 feet, but any movement beyond that requires teleporting your 15×15 square, which can be jarring and even disorienting. Fortunately, the VR horizon is crowded with solutions to these issues. Inside-out tracking, for instance, promises to revolutionize the way we handle space in VR. Learn more about the difference between inside-out and outside-in tracking here.

 

Content

 

This consideration applies to any digital experience, but as you may have deduced by now, VR is rife with affordances and constraints that are wholly unique to its field. The immersion of VR allows you to adopt new identities that take you as close to a first-hand experience as you can get. This is ideal for changing mindsets and generating empathy, and that is why we chose VR as a medium to help players deeply understand and learn about the lives and achievements of famous women in science.

The physicality and complex input paradigms of PC VR create high-impact embodiment that’s ideal for immersing players in a real-world activity, which makes it a great setting to learn and practice robotics fundamentals. Indeed, there are many that ways that VR changes learning, and we’re only starting to scratch the surface of what this medium can do.

Do you want to learn more about VR for learning? Join us for the Games for Change webinar, December 13th at 2PM CST, where’ll dive deep into our two VR projects, Breaking Boundaries and RoboEngineers. We’ll discuss insights gained from developing across the full spectrum of VR, and would love to hear what you think about the future of this medium.

Feel free to submit your questions on Twitter with the hashtag #G4CIndustry or e-mail them to contact@gamesforchange.org before the broadcast begins.

Register here.

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