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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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Having trouble viewing the above infographic? See it full-size at http://bit.ly/1pbAuFG

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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 DIY.org 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

24 comments

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Comment
Photo of Liz Duffy
Team

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
Team

Oh, this is fantastic! Thank you!

Photo of Timothy Herlihy
Team

Work and play at the same time, sounds like a macro muncher if it isn't based on a browser point and click. It almost reminds me of the idea of digitalizing hacking, no code cyphering just plain language skills required. Realistically it beats the current trend of gaming now these days based on hustling your consumers, only 2 mins of data is worth 5.99$ With no guarantees of value. Quarter arcades had more points then these free-to-play based on third world ideas "Korea". Anyways good concept depending on the backing of the play style you're shooting for. This could be a new market for realism/role playing if that made sense for concept connection.

Photo of Libby Falck
Team

Hi Tim! Have you ever played an ARG?

Photo of Timothy Herlihy
Team

My urban dictionary for acronyms isn't up to date. Is it a form of pirate gaming or a more of a interactive board game then life? ARG !!!

Photo of Libby Falck
Team

Haha, it stands for "alternate reality game," but maybe we should add some pirates to this game nonetheless!

Photo of Jes Simson
Team

Hey Libby, I love this idea! Really inspiring stuff!

Are you going to narrow down the skills that this initially offer? Would the partner organisations (Red Cross,UNICEF etc) administer real time briefs or would they just put out hypothetical issues that they routinely stumble across to see how the gamers tackle them?

Photo of Libby Falck
Team

There'd definitely be a focus on the former. As a mobile game, every Mission has the potential to be executed at the hyper-local level.

Photo of Meena Kadri
Team

Sounds cool, Libby. Perhaps you might try breaking up the awesome looking visualisation into separate parts so that it can be viewed in our image gallery (currently it comes up to small to read) Or you could upload it as a PDF via the submission form – and once you have, link the PDF back into your post so folks can find it easily? (Tip: to activate links in your post, hit the Update Entry button up there on the right, then follow the instructions here: http://bit.ly/oi_link ) We'd love to be able to see more of the goodness in your visualisation in order to better appreciate your idea – and we're sure others in the OpenIDEO community would too!

Photo of Meena Kadri
Team

Also thought you might find some interesting learnings from this post on Jane Gonigal's collaboration with the World Bank on the Urgent Evoke game initiative: http://blog.urgentevoke.net/2010/07/26/what-went-right-what-went-wrong-lessons-from-season-1-evoke1/ It's quite old now but perhaps has some lessons as you grow your idea...

Photo of Libby Falck
Team

Thanks, Meena! Yes, Jane McGonigal is an inspiring powerhouse in this space - I love her idea that a gamer should win the Nobel Prize. :)

Photo of Guy Viner
Team

+1 to Meena's comment. It would be great to see that delicious looking infographic in smaller bits so the community can read all of your juicy insights

Photo of Prabhat Karki
Team

Really lovable idea...

Photo of Sergio Marrero
Team

Like the idea of using game mechanics in order to engage students. One of the things I am trying to think about is how to design game mechanics into the learning process in a seamless way...but that is another subject.

World of Warcraft, great game. Have you checked out this:
https://www.ted.com/talks/john_hunter_on_the_world_peace_game

Photo of Rehmah Kasule
Team

Hi,
There may be funding for your idea here:
http://www.iie.org/Programs/WeTech/Seed-Fund-Application
http://www.coca-colacompany.com/stories/5by20

Photo of Libby Falck
Team

Thanks!

Photo of Guy Viner
Team

Great to see you participating in this challenge, Libby. Loving your focus on gaming and all the experience you're bringing to the table. Right on!

I'm wondering if you have any insights into how this platform will visualize skill development / track achievements, and how the experience will look like in the employer portal. Do you have any thoughts or mockups on these yet?

Super excited about where this idea is going!!

Photo of Libby Falck
Team

Thanks, Guy!

Tht Challenges would be accessed and viewed through a bracket structure (Have you ever played Civilization? I'm inspired by the "Science Advisor" in that game - see an example here: http://www.civfanatics.net/uploads7/tech_ancient3.jpg).

The nodes of this structure are being outlined through Skill Mapping exercises with stake holders/potential employers. Ultimately, an individual player's progress through the "Challenge Tree" would be anonymously available to the public, with direct access granted by the player.

Photo of priyanka botny
Team

Libby,

You are my pal in terms of thinking. In the research phase I was able to do this : https://openideo.com/challenge/youth-employment-pathways/research/a-game-that-helps-read-problems-answer-complex-problems-using-design-game-thinking-and-helps-gain-skills-necessary-for-employment . You can get some foresight from http://botnypriyanka.wix.com/gamethinking/host

I am working on the actual design and there's long way to go. We could collaborate and work together. What say?
Thanks,
Pri

Photo of Libby Falck
Team

Awesome - just checked it out! Left a question on your wall. :)

Photo of Erica Wong
Team

Libby! Love this. I'm such a big fan of diy.org. This is such a fantastic idea. I'll be your co-collaborator!!

One thing to think about is how to scale not only the technology necessary to access this platform, but also the materials/resources required to complete missions.

Photo of Libby Falck
Team

Yes, I have a more detailed story outline and business plan that didn't really make sense to post here. For tools I was planning on packaging "Challenge Kits" like the kits you find at Maker Shed. I also have some thoughts about how to get sponsors to make things more affordable. We should chat more in person - I'd love more feedback!

Photo of Aditya Sudhakar
Team

Libby, I really like the idea. Rather than teach kids 'grand theft' a 'first person doer' game where you're put in real life situations (business or crisis) where you need to make real life decisions and handle 'real money' can teach some amazing life skills. The game could have levels easy- difficult. The more difficult the more real life it gets. Could be as simple as opening a lemonade stand. The goal is to turn $10 into $100. The harder the level, the harder it is to attract customers and the more creative the gamer has to be with social marketing, picking the right location, etc.

Photo of Libby Falck
Team

Thanks! Exactly. :)