Embracing the Power of Play with G4C Learn!

August 31, 2022 / by Leah Hirsch

Category: G4C Learn

Learning is most engaging when it just kinda feels like play. The second year of G4C Learn programming is packed with opportunities for educators, students, and parents to access the power of games and game design for learning. Last year, G4C Learn programs reached over 2,000 students and trained over 300 educators with unique curriculum that marries the principles of game design with innovative methods to empower students as change agents in their communities. 

The Games for Change Student Challenge is G4C Learn’s flagship program — now heading into its 9th year. . The previous Challenge, which just wrapped up in June, included professional development for 259 educators from across the country, 12 game jams with over 300 students participating, and 885 original digital games submitted by 1676 students from 22 states. Over 80% of participating schools are Title 1, ensuring the G4C Learn game design curriculum is reaching our nation’s most under-resourced public schools, and helping students across the socio-economic spectrum to develop 21st century, STEAM, and computer science skills. 

Get Involved: The 2022 – 2023 Student Challenge is currently accepting teacher applications until September 23. Educators must teach 5th – 12th grade public school students in the U.S. No previous game design experience is required, and teachers of all subject areas are welcome to participate. 

In 2021, G4C launched Game Exchange, a program supported by the Stevens Initiative, focused on connecting students from the United States, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, and Israel through their love of gaming. Game Exchange was featured in The Washington Post in an article about how  game play and game design helped make cross cultural connections between students in Detroit and Tel Aviv. This impact story shows how two students from New York City and Bahrain got to know each other and collaborated across borders to design a game intended to teach players about caring for the planet.  

In Game Exchange’s inaugural year, we reached over 350 students and 30 educators, hosted 9 game jams and meet-ups, and accepted 170 games to the Game Exchange Competition. More importantly, we helped youth from these four nations learn about a new culture, grow their worldview, and develop empathy and understanding for their peers around the globe. 

Get Involved: For Year 2 of Game Exchange, we are looking for educators committed to the core tenets of this program: supporting virtual exchange and cross-cultural relationship building through games, design, and play. The ideal educator will be passionate about international collaboration and comfortable learning and supporting students with block-based coding programs (i.e., Scratch). Learn more and apply today! 

We are excited to be working with Best Buy for another year on a series of game design and career readiness courses at their teen tech centers in Brooklyn, Minneapolis, and Bellevue, WA. Tech center youth, ages 11-18, will design their own games to enact social change, explore careers in the gaming industry, and consider pathways to becoming a game designer. 

The Career Pathways program prepares youth for in-demand careers and supports the gaming talent pipeline, particularly from underrepresented communities. The program fosters design thinking and other 21st century skills, introduces block-based coding, provides mentorship from game design industry professionals, and creates a playful environment where youth get to think about how games can be used for social good, and being a game designer can also mean being a change agent. 

Games for Change and Unity are again partnering on a series of workshops to empower educators to build the next generation of lifelong creators in real-time 3D game development. Educators will learn methods and strategies for teaching and supporting students in designing with Unity in their classrooms and receive hands-on training from experts. Similar to other G4C Learn programs, the Teach with Unity series is truly preparing youth for in-demand careers, providing them mentorship from industry leaders, and supporting educators with best practices for bringing this cutting edge technology into their classrooms. Applications for this Workshop will open in early September, but you can fill our our Educator Interest Form to receive priority registration!

The Future of G4C Learn

G4C Learn is well positioned to grow into the one-stop shop where educators, students, and parents from all over the world can find programming and resources to support learning through games. Whether it’s through game-based learning, the design process, game design, college and career readiness, or technical skills in Scratch, Unity, and more; G4C Learn will be leading the charge to engage and empower young people to be agents of change in their own lives, their communities, and beyond.

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