Went to 2nd session at DML2010
Kids As Game Designers and Programmers
Colleen Macklin (Parsons The New School for Design) moderating
Participants: Karen Michaelson, Chris Wisniewski (Museum of the Moving Image), Jill
Denner (ETR Associates), Jim Diamond (EDC Associates), Colleen Macklin (Parsons The
New School for Design), John Sharp (Savannah College of Art and Design)
Discussed digital game design as a strategy to increase and transform youth participation in
digital media. Questions: How can we construct programs that help youth transfer skills from
game design learning into other areas, such as STEM? What are the institutional structures
that exist to support or hinder these kinds of programs? Can these kinds of programs
engage young people who might not otherwise be interested in designing games? What
are the developmental challenges associated with asking kids to become
designers? Under what conditions is digital game programming used to transform media
representations and content? How do different types of programming environments limit
or enhance the games that are created? How can pedagogical approaches be
modified to engage diverse populations-- and particularly young women-- in creating
John Sharp spoke about a game design project that he has developed- currently being soft-launched with Boys and Girls Club of America -- 4,000 clubs and a potential reach of 5 million kids.
Karen Michaelson exec director of nonprofit media arts center tincan http://www.tincan.org/ spoke about their after school gaming for girls program funded by the National Science Foundation http://www.nsf.gov/
Chris Wisniewski, director of education at the Museum of the Moving Image http://ammi.org/ spoke about his after school gaming program for girls called Girls Future Lab
Jill Denner discussed her project Girls Creating Games “We have made the lesson plans, program guides, girls’ games, and publications available on our Web site.” Said Jill.
Jill shared three strategies that have worked well in the Girl Game Company.
Use instructional approaches that research and program staff say appeal to girls. A project-based, design-based learning approach has worked very well with the girls in the Girl Game Company. The girls make a product (a digi- tal game) that others can play. The project activities take place in the context of a ‘company’—the girls all have specific roles in the company, whose purpose is to make games for “clients.” The games are placed in the online
community of Whyville, which is an online community for preteens.
In addition, the instructional approach of pair program- ming is used. Two girls share one computer and they work together. Jill and her staff also believe that the female-only environment helps to foster a positive learning environment for the girls, expose girls to career paths in digital game design and the technology industry.
Family involvement is crucial. The Girl Game Co. hosts a series of ‘family nights’ where information is presented on internet safety, career options, what it takes to apply to college, and more. Child care is provided, and meals are served to make it easy for families to attend. Simultaneous translation is also offered, and this has made the gatherings very successful.
Girl Game Company at ETR Associates:
Girls Creating Games: