On June 11, Games for Change celebrated NYC’s best young game designers at the Museum of Moving Image. The NYC G4C Student Challenge was an educational game design program for middle and high school students, supported by an amazing group of partner organizations. With the help of their teachers and veteran game designers, hundreds of students from public schools across NYC were taught how to create original digital games about educational and social issues in their communities, on five themes, provided by major sponsor organizations, who also provided domain expertise, workshop opportunities, and prizes:
• Civic Journalism – Sponsored by The New York Times
• Smart Cities – Sponsored by the NYC Mayor’s Office of Technology & Innovation
• Literacy – Sponsored by the XPRIZE Foundation
• Animal Welfare – Sponsored by A Kinder World Foundation
• Youth Justice – Sponsored by American Civil Liberties Union
During June 2015, NYC teachers and students were invited to apply to participate in this first-of-its-kind citywide Challenge. Twenty teachers from schools in all five NYC boroughs were selected to receive robust training by Globaloria to run game-making courses in their schools and after school programs. After students submitted their games, a jury of experts selected the best games. An awards ceremony and a public arcade featuring the top games was hosted at the Museum of the Moving Image on June 11, 2016.
During the Awards Ceremony, Shannon Sullivan, Globaloria Vice President, and Jonathan Hodrick, Senior Classroom Support Specialist, honored the participating Educators and Mentors who taught and encouraged their students to continue their game design learning journeys. Ai Ling Loo, Globaloria National Operations Manager, provided technical and operational support for the judging process.
“Our team’s mission and passion is to engage any and all students in computer science education and to empower any teacher to enhance the learning experience in their classroom through game design and coding, said Shannon Sullivan. “We were so excited when Games for Change invited us to partner with them on this first Student Challenge in NYC, and I’m grateful to be part of this collaboration, and proud to be a citizen of our learning city. It’s beautiful to see how many creative people, activists, and organizations really get it: from the Department of Education and the Mayor’s Office, to non-profit thought leaders, corporate powerhouses, media and cultural institutions, tech startups, and individual New Yorkers. The investment of everbody’s time, money, talent and resources – from so many sectors of the city – is truly inspiring.”
At Globaloria, we know that the excitement and hunger for learning computer science, coding and game design is spreading like wildfire across the US. Everyone is beginning to understand the importance of these skills for students’ future academic and economic success. These skills are equally important for digital citizenship and civic participation. In the 21st Century, being able to create impactful digital media experiences is critical for expressing ideas, creating movements and taking action about issues that matter. The students in this Challenge used the making-of-games as a vehicle for teaching their peers and game-players about social issues. By doing this, they are inspiring action and change in the real world.
The 2016 G4C Student Challenge was led by Games for Change in collaboration with Globaloria, Institute of Play, and The Museum of the Moving Image, and NYC Department of Education’s iZone and Digital Ready. A consortium of cross-sector partners provided additional resources, prizes, and expertise, including the leading game platform Unity and Susan Crown Exchange (SCE) Foundation.