[casual_games] Global Kids/Gamelab launches Ayiti: The Cost of Life
bjlist at globalkids.org
Wed Oct 25 10:03:48 EDT 2006
I am very excited to finally be able to post to this list that Global
Kids has officially launched Ayiti: The Cost of Life, the casual game
our students developed with Gamelab, the NYC-based game developers.
The game is both fun and educational. Fun for the player because it
is a challenging, engaging strategy game and educational because it
teaches about poverty as an obstacle to education in contemporary
Please check it out at http://theCostofLife.org
The associated lesson plans will be available at that address in the
next few days, for educators to bring the game into their classrooms
and after school programs.
If you would like to blog about it, please be so kind as to link to
the following url, for both traffic and comments:
We all look forward to learning what you think.
Below is an excerpt from the press release. To read the full release,
please go to:
Global Kids and Gamelab, New York City's largest game development
company, today announced the release of the online game, Ayiti: The
Cost of Life (CostofLife.org), which uses the location of Haiti to
educate players about the obstacles to education faced by children in
developing countries. When distributed and used within either a
classroom or after school setting, the game will be a strong tool for
building students' global awareness and civic literacy.
The concept of the game was developed by youth in Global Kids'
Playing 4 Keeps (P4K) program and professionals from the
award-winning game design studio Gamelab.
Supported by Microsoft's U.S. Partners in Learning Mid-Tier Grants
Initiative, which seeks to find and support "pockets of innovation"
for increasing digital literacy and career readiness, the game will
be free and published with lesson plans for educators through a
UNICEF website Child Alert: Haiti (unicef.org/childalert/haiti/) and
the educational network TakingITGlobal (takingitglobal.org).
"It can be difficult to teach critical global issues to youth who can
sometimes feel that their everyday lives are far removed from things
going on in remote places around the world," said Mary Cullinane,
Director of Microsoft U.S. Partners in Learning. "Global Kids'
Playing 4 Keeps has found a way to use technology to bring these
global issues to life in a truly engaging way. We are proud to
support this innovative use of technology to make these issues more
real for these young citizens."
Playing 4 Keeps engages a cohort of twenty-four students from South
Shore High School, a largely minority school of approximately 2,300
students located in Canarsie, Brooklyn, in working with professional
game developers in the design, development and dissemination of
professionally-produced online games about important social issues.
During the school year, program participants conducted research about
global issues and gained digital literacy, leadership, and career
skills. Students participated in workshops on such global issues as
Defining Human Rights, Racism, Health, Education, and Children's
Rights, and then selected an issue on which to focus the game.
With professionals from Gamelab, they learned about a range of issues
related to game design as a form of critical media literacy as well
as the game industry and the game development process. The students
also took numerous field trips and spoke about their work at
prestigious conferences, including the Game Design Conference in San
Jose, the Games 4 Change Conference in New York City, and the
Microsoft Corporation in Redmond, Washington.
This year, participants chose to focus their game on the general
topic of poverty as an obstacle to education, based on their learning
about the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights and about
obstacles to receiving an adequate education that youth face around
the world. They then decided to use Haiti as a case study and setting
for the game. The youth have documented the process of creating the
game in a blog at http://holymeatballs.org/playing_4_keeps and are
publicizing it through http://myspace.com/thecostoflife.
In Ayiti: The Cost of Life, each player assumes the roles of family
members living in rural Haiti. Over the course of the game, the
player must choose among and balance various goals, such as achieving
education, making money, staying healthy, and maintaining happiness
while encountering unexpected events like disease and hurricanes. The
player must make many decisions that contribute to or detract from
achieving his or her chosen goals.
The game is designed as a serious learning tool that educators and
youth workers can use in their classrooms. With its lesson plans,
Ayiti: The Cost of Life, can educate players about poverty and its
effects on education in general around the world, as well as about
the effects of poverty on education in Haiti.
"Ayiti: The Cost of Life is a great way to teach American youth about
global issues such as poverty, access to education and human rights,"
said Chinwe Okorie, United Nations Representative for the World
Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts. "Players' efforts to keep
the family healthy, happy and both parents alive make you engulfed."
The educational effectiveness of the game is being evaluated by the
Educational Development Corporation's Center for Children and
Online Leadership Program
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