Editing The Dilemma of Games: Moral Choice in a Digital World
3:15-4:45 (This session will extend into coffee hour)
How can video games -- which rely so heavily on giving users meaningful choices -- promote pro-values such as responsibility, charity, or sacrifice? Can video marry these values to the kind of "systems thinking" at which they're particularly good and which are becoming more vital in our networked world? WGBH, the renowned public television station, is launching a transmedia TV show and game that tackles these questions head-on. In this workshop, you'll help have a chance to shape this project that aims to teach children about environmental systems and their own choices within that system.
What you'll brainstorm in this workshop
WGBH is proposing a transmedia TV show set within a game as well as video games to give children ages 9-12 an understanding of the environment as a complex system and their ability as individuals and engaged members of society to affect that system. Ultimately, the goal of the program is not just to advance scientific understanding, but also deepen participants' concern for the Earth.
In this workshop, we will have the chance to develop game concepts related to one unit of the underlying curriculum.
What you'll do in this workshop
After project leads from WGBH present the basic goals of the show, we will be breaking up into small teams to brainstorm game designs that will advance the presented goals. We'll reconvene to hear these ideas and give each other feedback. We'll then break up a second time to hash out the ideas further, and present our final suggestions.
Each group will develop gameplay with special attention to a different issue:
- Evaluation: How do we know that players are learning the intended knowledge, skill, or values objectives?
- Affect: How can the design deepen moral, spiritual, personal, or other values-based commitment to environmental protection? (Or, alternatively, raise the question in a meaningful way?)
- Motivation: What are the incentives for youth to play this unit?
- Safety: How does WGBH ensure the safety of the participants while also encouraging maximum engagement and openness?
- Transmedia opportunities: What opportunities arise because the game will run alongside a TV show?
- Engagement: How does the program resolve the apparent tension between a show that encourages engagement with nature and a medium (video games) that's often tied to an indoor computer or console?
- Participation gaps: How can the game ensure that significant gaps do not open up across genders, class, rural/urban, or other social divisions?
- Business model: Can this game be financially sustainable? Profitable?
- Gene Koo, Berkman Fellow
- Shenja van der Graaf, Berkman Fellow
- Marisa Wolsky, Executive Producer, WGBH
- Blyth Lord, Project Director, Children's Programming, WGBH
- Gary Goldberger, VP and Director, Fablevision
- Dr. Doris Rusch, MIT-Singapore GAMBIT Gambit Game Labs
- Dr. Jaroslav Svelch, Fulbright Scholar, MIT-Singapore GAMBIT Gambit Game Labs
- Peter Rauch, MIT Comparative Media Studies '07
- Josh Diaz, developer, MIT Comparative Media Studies '09
- Sam Gilbert, Research Assistant, GoodPlay Project @ HGSE
(Please add your name to this list)
- Prof. Helen Haste, University of Bath, Harvard Graduate School of Education
- Prof. Barry Fishman, University of Michigan, Harvard Graduate School of Education