Last week, we … (last week already. Where does the time go?)
Last week we travelled to Washington, D.C. for an Unconference with the Higher Education in Video Games Association.
The gathering was titled “Games + Higher Education + National Impact.” HEVGA described it this this:
“This two day meet-up will assemble leading thinkers and creators of interactive media to address national priorities areas including educational tools for teachers and students, citizen science platforms for crowdsourcing discovery, and increasing diversity in STEM (and tech industries generally). By the end of this jointly hosted meet-up, participants will be up to speed on current funding priorities of federal agencies investing in interactive media for impact; will have expanded their professional network of potential partners across both campuses and agencies; and will gain actionable knowledge about best practices and common pitfalls in the federal grant proposal and review process.”
And it really was like that. Game educators sat in the same room as funding bodies, government agencies and private companies and talked about challenges and opportunities for games for impact.
One of the highlights was listening to the Executive Director of the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism talk about personality types that are easily radicalised and how, even through we use that term solely for certain kinds of terror, that type is similar across all ideologies, including our own gamergaters.
That presentation then went on to discuss how games can be used to combat radicalism and create healthy support networks for vulnerable individuals.
On that subject, we met our old friend, Heidi McDonald, who spoke about her new job at iThrive. They have a vision that “mobile and online gaming and app technologies can be used effectively as tools that build positive emotions in adolescents, improve quality of life and prevent the development of mental health disorders.”
They have an open competition coming up, and a Game Jam Diversifier. Go over to their site and read all about that. We’ve agreed that she should come and talk to our students in the New Year, so we’ll organise some coverage of that event.
All in all, it was another inspirational event. The Live Tweeting from the Gotland Game account was a little sporadic, given the nature of more conversation than conference, and less battery than we would like on the computer, but do look back and see what happened.