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Change, the Game

Change, the Game: making local, positive impact easy, fun and addictive for everyone with a 5th grade education or above. Let's build a mobile game that leverages big data, citizen science, geolocation, and inexpensive technology to enable players to collaboratively solve real-world problems while leveling-up skills in innovation, tech and entrepreneurship. With Challenges ranging from videography, to coding, to data analysis, players can choose the breadth and depth of their engagement. No matter your interests, the structure of the game takes the guesswork out of finding useful applications for your skills. Easily plug into Teams and/or Missions in need of your Specializations and display your achievements to potential employers.

Photo of Libby Falck
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We’re agreed: the US education system is broken.  Fortunately, innovative educational initiatives like Sparktruck, KIDmob, and IDEAco are returning relevance to education with a new set of ingredients: 1) maker education, 2) design thinking, and 3) real-world problem solving. Combined, these skills enable students to understand user needs, rapidly prototype and test ideas, and roll out real products and solutions. This means that future graduates will be able to do more than "get jobs," they'll be able to create jobs.

The problem? The model doesn’t scale. How do we twist it to reach more people? Gaming.

As a person with an academic background in educational games and a professional background developing curriculum for 21st century learning, I am bamboozled by the disconnect between the two fields. A handful of inspiring examples like Leo the Maker Prince and have hinted at the potential of a pairing but most (if not all) lack one of three key things: 1) story, 2) community, 3) real-world impact. I’m not suggesting that pairing these ideas is easy; simply that it’s time to begin trying.

By borrowing mechanics, technology and structure from the game industry’s greatest success stories (from MMORPG’s like World of Warcraft to alternate reality games like Geocaching), learning theories from top researchers like James Gee and Katie Salen, content from the most innovative schools around the world, and packaging it all within a powerful story world, we can redefine the field of education… and employment.

Who does this idea benefit, who are the main players and what's in it for them?

Learners ages 13-24 (starting with high school) 1) hands-on and fun 2) social 3) concrete accomplishments serve as great resume builders 4)opportunity to travel the world for Mission assignments Schools 1) structured hands-on learning without the need of expensive facilitation built-in achievement tracking Local governments and NGO’s 1) review proven track-records for potential employees or volunteers 2) solve problems with local talent 3) high skills, low cost

How is your idea specifically increasing access to employment opportunities and pathways for young people?

Players level-up technology and innovation skill-sets by completing Challenges and Missions in their local communities. Achievements are tracked through mobile documentation and peer review and top performers may be recruited by real organizations like UNICEF and The Red Cross for deployment to locations in need of their demonstrated skills. Specifically 1) visualizes skill development and tracks real-world achievements 2) creates a portal for employers to find dedicated and highly trained youth 3) fosters the creation of youth-centered volunteer opportunities with potential future employers

What early, lightweight experiment can you try out in your own community to find out if the idea will meet your expectations?

Early prototypes include Skill Maps (the mapping of necessary skills to include in the game by community stakeholders), user brainstorming sessions, and paper playtesting in high school classrooms and after school programs.

What skills, input or guidance are you keen to receive from the OpenIDEO community to help you build out or refine your idea further?

Looking for collaborators and help with concept refinement!

The idea emerged from:

  • An individual

How do you envision your idea being implemented?

  • Keen to prototype it, find partners and pursue implementation


Join the conversation:

Photo of Liz Duffy

Great infographics! Check out Classroom, Inc. -- they're doing some of what you're proposing and might make a good partner and/or you could learn from their 20 years of experience. Good luck.

Photo of Libby Falck

Oh, this is fantastic! Thank you!

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