Games for Impact–Can games positivity affect society? And how can you help?
Can games, “be entertaining, engaging, and also something more: educational, enlightening, and perhaps even designed to motivate action”? We who actually extensively game know so, but now even the White House is cluing in. They’re seeking ideas from the public on “games for impact” to identify opportunities to study in gamification for social and societal gain. The Office of Science and Technology Policy set up a website where the public can submit ideas which are voted on, and the top ideas will be studied further (and hopefully supported by in some way).
A lot of the ideas are video game related, but they’re missing a whole genre of gaming: Live Action Role Playing. Seekers Unlimited is “a 501(c)(3) public charity organization dedicated to fostering education by developing and producing live action role-playing (LARP) programs for classrooms. We use the oldest art form–play pretend–to create a unique and thoroughly engaging learning experience.” They use LARPs to teach and inspire students. And I’m proud to now be a Board Member assisting Seekers in it’s next stage of development.
Paraphrasing their website–Educational LARPs provide the best of two worlds: The benefits of the simulation-based training with the added emotional and mental engagement of narrative enactment. When students enact a role and immerse themselves into an ongoing story, they experience a level of agency unlike traditional instruction. Students see that their actions can actually affect the world. Unlike passive narrative like movies or books, edu-larp encourages students to feel as if they are an important part of the story. Edu-larp merges social, practical, and academic skills, maximizing the benefits offered by classroom instruction. And as a dynamic live event, educators have much more control and customization options than in a computer or video game-based curriculum.
Do you need to join the Board of a non-profit to help? Nope. To start, you can help just by going to the OSTP’s IdeaScale website and voting up Seeker’s idea. You just have to register with a (real) email address to vote. We’d appreciate the support, and it would be the start of more exposure for a non-profit group that deserves it. I’ll be discussing more about Seekers Unlimited, and more ways you can help, but please start by clicking the link below and voting