CGI awarded ETS grant for game-based assessment project

Transformational Play

Games can be designed to enable players to step into different roles, confront a problem, fail safely, make meaningful choices, and explore the consequences.

The Arizona State University (ASU) Center for Games & Impact (CGI) has been awarded a grant with Educational Testing Service (ETS) to explore the affordances of game-based assessments, with a focus on informing future design and development of interactive computer tasks for National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) assessments.

“In our project, we will build a new game-based assessment item using Unity3D technology to engage learners within in a 3D role-playing game scenario that they are invested. Here, they will be demonstrating what they are able to do by working through a game scenario in which they are making decisions, receiving scenario-based feedback, and having opportunity to optimize their decision.” said Sasha Barab, Professor and Pinnacle West Presidential Chair in the Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College at Arizona State University, and Director of the ASU Center for Games & Impact.

3D World Image for ETS Blurb

Student learner navigating 3D environment.

The game-based assessment system proposed would reveal more than an individual’s ability to identify a right answer; instead, it would provide data on the individual’s ability to use what they know to solve a problem in which they are invested, as well as their ability to leverage and optimize their performance using consequential feedback from the scenario. This will allow learners to reveal a greater range of ability, at the same time making the test-tasking situation a positive experience for all.

“The Center’s hope is that this is the first stage of an initial set of game-based strategies focused on enhancing the quality, meaning, and enjoyment of large-scale assessments,” added Barab.

Project development will begin in late spring and will continue through 2015.


The Center for Games & Impact (CGI) mission is to investigate, innovate, and cultivate game-infused solutions to society’s biggest challenges with the goal of unleashing the unique power of videogames to create sustainable solutions for society’s biggest social, cultural, scientific, economic and educational challenges.

PBS Kids’ new online world launches (via USA Today)

Prof. Reed Stevens Talk “Cyborg Learning” on 4/23 at ASU

RSVP below to join us to hear Professor Reed Stevens talk, “Cyborg learning: How our increasingly mobile and networked lives transform the possibilities for learning and education.” This event is sponsored by the Center for Games & Impact, ASU Teachers College, and ASU Learning Sciences Institute.

Description: In this talk, Professor Reed Stevens will borrow the provocative trope of cyborg—a functioning system part human, part machine—to explore what are superficially acknowledged but theoretically and empirically underdeveloped issues for learning and education.Drawing on ideas from distributed cognition and actor network approaches, he will argue that “there’s an app for that” and “just Google it” barely scratch the surface as metonyms for both what and how our lives are being reorganized by our cyborg learning experiences. We explore, work, navigate, search, connect with each other, and play in an ever increasingly media- and information-saturated world. Furthermore, our cyborg learning experiences are thoroughly mediated, as he will show from a decade-long program of research on everyday youth media practices. Taken together, these phenomena have theoretical and methodological implications for research on learning and cognition. Finally, the reality of cyborg learning has massive, uncomfortable implications for 19th and 20th century models of schooling, which obdurately persist. These implications will be considered and possibilities of designing for cyborg learning will be presented.

Event Details:

  • Date: Thursday, April 23, 2015
  • Time: 10:00 AM to 11:30 AM (MST)
  • Location: University Club At ASU (Heritage Room), 425 East University Drive, Tempe, AZ 85281 (click for map)
  • Notes: Refreshments will be served. Click here to view the event flyer.
  • For more information on Dr. Stevens work visit: http://www.fusestudio.net/program-design

Reed StevensSpeaker Bio: Reed Stevens is a Professor of Learning Sciences at Northwestern University. As an ethnographer of everyday experience, Stevens conducts field studies exploring how learning, thinking, and joint action are comparatively organized in range of cultural settings. A leading goal of these studies is to understand the ways that individuals, groups, and standing cultural practices organize and sustain productive activity and, in particular, how people learn together. In the past two decades he has conducted field studies spanning classrooms, professional workplaces, homes, and museums. Topics of prior work have included: STEM learning in and out school, designing by young people and by professionals, learning in families, and media practices among children including video game play, television viewing, and use of mobile devices. Insights from these studies inform designs of new learning technologies and new learning experiences, in both school and out-of-school settings. A current widely adopted project is FUSE Studios (http://www.fusestudio.net/), funded by the Macarthur and National Science Foundations. Stevens has co-led two NSF Centers, one focused on engineering learning (CAEE) and one focused on learning in and out of schools (LIFE). He has expertise with a range of field methods with special expertise in video interaction analysis methods. In 2004 he was awarded the Jan Hawkins Award for Early Career Contributions to Humanistic Research & Scholarship in Learning Technologies from AERA. In 2000 he created the video annotation software VideoTraces, among the first tools of its kind.

Wash Away Mobile Game Challenge by UBS Optimus Foundation (via Innocentive)

Learn more about the Wash Away Mobile Game Challenge by UBS Optimus Foundation at via Innocentive:

“AWARD: $20,000 USD | DEADLINE: 6/19/15 | ACTIVE SOLVERS: 19 | POSTED: 3/23/15 In the Southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu, 5 phones exist for every 2 toilets.

Even in areas with toilets, a lack of education and understanding about proper use has led to 60% of the population practicing open defecation. As a key factor in debilitating health and social inflictions, open defecation is one of the facets that has resulted in an infant mortality rate of 36/1000 (a fifth of these deaths from sanitation related illnesses). This Challenge requires Solvers to present their ideas for a mobile phone game which can educate 5-14 year old children about better hygiene practices and persuade them to instinctively use sanitation facilities rather than defecate in the open. This is a Theoretical Challenge that requires only the submission of a completed application form.”

Click here to read the full challenge brief and visit the Center for Games & Impact Innovation Lab with your game ideas and for support in developing a proposal.

A Tale of Two Cities: Rhetoric in Two Environmental Video Games

This is the first post from our new contributing blogger, Michael Springer. Michael is a Faculty Development Associate at Bryan University where he builds websites, manages a tutoring center, and gets to play with a lot of technology. He writes about video games and education on his blog, Playing with Education.

Few video games wrestle with tough environmental topics and Michael is very interested in exploring this issue. Some post-apocalyptic narratives use global warming as a backstory, explaining the social collapse that took place before the game began, like the Fallout series. However, video games that try to illuminate the problems that face our environment are scarce. This is the first in a series of posts exploring the rhetoric in a few of these games.


Why would Chevron fund a video game about global warming?

This was a question I asked myself after discovering Energyville, a simple “educational” game available at www.energyville.com. Designed by the Economist Group and financed by Chevron, the game’s apparent goal is to educate players on environmental issues. Another game with a similar premise is Energy City, which was designed by JASON Learning, a non-profit company that develops games focused on teaching science.

Screenshot from Chevron’s Energyville. Possible energy sources line the bottom of the map; current energy levels are on the upper right.

Screenshot from Chevron’s Energyville. Possible energy sources line the bottom of the map; current energy levels are on the upper right.

Both games are reminiscent of management simulation franchises like SimCity or Civilization, although the range of player actions are stripped down and simplified. The player takes an existing city and must find ways to generate enough energy to keep city life moving while also not destroying the environment. As years go on and more decisions are made, the environment will either improve or grow worse depending on the player’s choices.

Barometers in both games measure environmental impact and keep track of budget and the passage of time. In these major ways, the two games are identical. But in a couple of important ways, the arguments made by these games are quite different.

Screenshot from the JASON Project’s Energy City. Interest groups are on the lower left; current power level is in the glowing bar on the right.

Screenshot from the JASON Project’s Energy City. Interest groups are on the lower left; current power level is in the glowing bar on the right.

Political Pandering and Petroleum Perpetuity

While playing video games, players are “taught,” through a system of rewards and punishments, what actions will lead to the best outcome. For example, players of Super Mario Brothers will learn that jumping on turtles is usually a good idea, while jumping on fireballs is not such a good idea.

When the game world overlaps in a meaningful way with the real world—for example, when you are playing a video game about global warming—this procedural training of players can create a rhetorical argument. Players attempt actions and learn through trial and error which actions lead to negative outcomes. These players can then choose whether this rhetorical argument applies to the real world or not.

After repeated playthroughs of Energy City, one of the take-home messages is “Do everything your citizens tell you to do.” Several interest groups make suggestions about what you should or should not do on each turn of the game, and the consequences for ignoring these requests can derail your attempt to preserve the environment. Your Health Council tells you, “This city suffers from dirty air and obesity! Build bike paths right now!” The business lobby says, “You have to spend money to make money. Spend at least $40 this turn.” For each request you ignore or disobey, a financial or environmental penalty will effect you. The correct play in Energy City always seems to be to follow public whim. Once your people have been appeased, you can then evaluate whether you have the money left to do what you actually think will have the most impact.

A Request from the Health Council in Energy City

A Request from the Health Council in Energy City

This aspect of the game is unique in that it does not ignore the politics of policy change. I struggled for quite a while before realizing that my very first priority should be pleasing the public, and making the smartest decision should come as a second priority. That said, the player is beholden to only four interest groups, and all of these groups have reasonable and attainable requests, so it is still a vast simplification of the political pressures on those involved in making environmental policy.

Energyville does not illustrate the political complexity of making changes to the environment, but it does make an argument of its own: “Petroleum is really, really important.” During a playthrough of Energyville, I received a warning. “Though alternative fuels can reduce the need for petroleum, airplanes and a significant portion of ground vehicles will continue to rely on petroleum for fuel.” In Energyville, you cannot mix and match energy sources. Electricity and petroleum are distinct and each has their own uses. In Energy City, though, any form of energy can power anything.

This is a striking rhetorical difference, and both games make simplistic yet opposing points. Energyville argues that petroleum will continue to make up a “significant portion” of our energy. No other options are presented by the game. Moving all ground vehicles away from petroleum-based fuels is not an option. Reducing our reliance on airplanes is also not a possibility. No player action can move us to a sustainable set of energy sources, and the game does not present this as problematic.

On the other hand, Energy City makes it clear that conservation and research are both necessities in fixing current environmental problems. Players have the option to research new energy-producing technologies like fuel-cells, then use that research to begin moving away from the non-sustainable energies of the early game. Players also have a variety of conservation options, which cause gradual improvements in air and environmental quality.

In contrast, Energyville does not allow scientific breakthroughs, and you also cannot use conservation as a broad strategy for dealing with energy issues. In Energyville, “conservation” is a one-click option that cuts down slightly on your energy needs, and the gameplay does not make it clear what this concept even means. For each energy source, a red “Learn More” button can be clicked to reveal a wall of text providing sources and information. You can either click the “conservation” button or you can ignore it and click a different button. In neither case are you presented with a rhetorical argument about conservation.

Embracing Variety

The two games agree on one important rhetorical point: it is best to make use of a number of energy sources, not to rely heavily on just one or two. In Energy City, you must continue to rely on non-renewable energy sources through the early game as you develop alternatives. Only by embracing all available alternatives can you move away fully from fossil fuels. Energyville requires a set of energies that include both electricity and petroleum. Maintaining a variety of energy sources protects you from randomized events that occur between years. So, both games recommend diversifying energy.

The consequences for not doing so are similar as well. Relying too heavily on non-renewable energy will degrade the environment and cause you to lose. Adding renewable energies too quickly can cause you to run out of money, which also means game over. Both games require players to embrace variety and keep an eye on multiple metrics, considering both cost and environmental impact.

None of this answers my initial question, though, about why Chevron would finance an environmental game in the first place. In the next post, I will examine this question and take a look at what has so far been missing from the rhetoric of these environmental video games.

Breaking it down: Start using data to power up personal change

Playing for Health: The Games & Impact Cycling Team is blogging, and racing, their way to better health and wellness. The team’s first race, the 2014 El Tour de Tucson is 5 days away and you will be able to track their progress on social media on the CGI Facebook and Twitter pages. Check out the team’s introductory post here


We live in a data obsessed culture. At any given moment you can check your credit score, find out if your child has turned in an assignment, log the nutritional profile of your lunch, see a report of your sleep quality, and check the stock market all from your nearest web browser or smart phone.

But, what do you do with the overload of information? It is easy to get lost in the data, wading through a jungle of numbers without a real sense of what they represent. Data can be more than a quick temperature read, more than something that seems positive or negative without a sense of long term implications. Used as component of your personal tool kit, data can be a very powerful tool on the road to making a change.

Data from the last Games & Impact Team training ride before our race. This is an example of how the Runkeeper app presents the workout map, elevation, and speed information.

Data from the last Games & Impact Team training ride before our race. This is an example of how the Runkeeper app presents the workout map, elevation, and speed information.

What types of goals can benefit from data collection? All of them! Of course, health and fitness related goals are some of the first to come to mind. Fitness tracking devices and apps are becoming standard on newer phones, and some companies are offering them to employees to encourage healthy behaviors. With any change you have in mind, there your starting point and your desired result. The progress between the two can be planned, realized, and measured.

Let’s break it down:

The Goal
Creating your goal is perhaps one of the most important steps to success.The key to a good goal is determining what success looks like for you. Perhaps you want to reduce stress. Great! So what does that look like? Maybe that means you want to spend 5 minutes breathing deeply each evening, or take a yoga class, or spend one evening a week with friends. Thinking about a fitness goal? Frame your fitness goals in terms of what you would like to be able to do, in my case, I want to be able to cycle 55 miles in a day.

The Plan
Successful projects start with a plan. Think of your plan as an iea of the steps needed to get from A to B and resources you need to accomplish each step. It is helpful to assign the steps to a timeline or schedule to help you keep track (collect data) on your progress. It is also helpful to be flexible with yourself as you go along. When I jumped back on my bicycle for the first time in a year just a few months ago, I was riding 7-10 miles at a time. I knew that in order to accomplish 55 miles, I would have to add a few miles to the total each week. I threw in a few rounds of hilly rides to build strength, and I had a fairly simple, reasonable training plan.

Do It!
This is the part where you have to dive in with both feet. It is easy to become trapped in “paralysis by analysis”, meaning you spend more time planning, mulling, and tweaking the plan, that you never getting around to the doing and the learning by trial. You will never really get any data to improve the plan until you test, so once you have a reasonable draft of your plan, move forward and try it! You may discover right away that there are pieces of the plan that need to be revised, the point is to that getting started will help you build forward momentum.

You will want to use some method of tracking to help you gather data about your progress. This can be a fitness tracker that you wear, a website that lets you log activities, or simply a spreadsheet that you create. We will talk more about some of the methods we are using later and you can see an example of the Runkeeper app in this post (pictured above, left). Right now though, the form is less important than the function, whatever you choose should be something you will use consistently.

Tweak and Improve
Once you begin tracking your progress, it is time to review where you are at in terms of your longer term goals. If you are meeting the progress points on your timeline, take a moment to celebrate your early successes! If you find yourself off schedule or just not making progress, take a bit of time to review the data you have collected and have an honest assessment of why you are off track. Are there factors that are interfering with your ability to consistently follow your plan? It might be that it will simply take longer to achieve your goal, in which case adjusting your timeline might be the right move.

Congratulations, you just used data to inform your plan design! Most plans will yield better results when tweaked and adjusted over time, don’t be afraid to experiment, but if you are making steady progress, don’t be afraid to stay the course.

Tracking data has been an important part of training for the Tour de Tucson with the Games & Impact Cycling Team, what data can you track to help achieve your goals?

Play & Design Wednesday: Creating a Design Document

So, you want to make a video game.

You have an idea already in mind with the art style, mechanics, sounds, and everything else. All you need now is a team of people to get the project moving forward, right? Here is the best advice I have: slow down.

You are not going anywhere until you write down these huge ideas 1) for you to evaluate, and 2) for someone else to see.

What you need is a game design document.

What is a game design document?

A game design document is a “living document” that contains every aspect of a game and presents the vision to the production team and future publishers. A few of the details included in a game design document are story, art style, mechanics, platforms, levels, and any other important characteristic of the game that artists and programmers may need to understand to produce the game’s components. The document is called a “living document” because the process for good game design is one of constant revision as the game is first conceived, iterated on, and then implemented.

Why is the design document important?

Many times a designer comes to the table jazzed about a new idea so grand that it is unrealistic or impossible to produce the game by deadline. Using a game design document helps to clarify what is realistic and necessary. Instead of focusing on creating the next entirely realistic fantasy game, with a completely randomized open-world that spans four countries in entirety, a design document can show the creator the reality of the difficulty of creating that kind of game, and can clarify the realistic costs of implementation. So instead of realistic art, the designer may realize that stylized art is more manageable, timely to produce, and cost effective. In this situation, the designer might also recognize that some amount of linear scripting is more helpful to the story than randomizing every interaction.

Game design documents also help keep the entire production team on the same page. On the one hand, it is nice to have artists and programmers look to the designer for help in their work, but after several weeks it becomes time consuming and less than desirable. If production is taking time trying to find the designer to ask questions, that is less time spent on the work itself. A game design document helps give vision to the artists and programmers so that their time is spent on the work for the designer’s approval. It streamlines everyone’s jobs, meaning deadlines are easier to meet.

What goes into a game design document?

While game design documents are central to the creation of a game, there is not one overarching or correct template for creating one. The content of the document depends a lot on the game and the designer’s vision for it. Some games may be mechanic heavy while others are mainly artistic and still others may be entirely driven by story. Even though there is not one way to make a design document, it is important to remember to keep these subjects in mind when creating one.

Overview: The people reading the document, whether they are publishers or teammates, need to know, at the core, what the game is about. The overview should be to the point without sacrificing necessary details to understand the game, and it should not describe a game in terms of other games without further description. It is ok to use other games to give an idea, but if it is not backed up by other specifics that make the game its own entity then the idea will not be clear to others reading it.

Technicalities: It’s nice to think about what a game will look like, but ultimately the player is the one playing the game, not the creators. This means that every aspect of the game’s controls needs to be explained. If there are skill trees, they need to be portrayed. If the game has a combat system, then how does that system work? If there are lives or health then what affects that system? What buttons can the player push to perform an action? Every small detail needs to be outlined as intimately as possible so that the programmers know what to program and the publishers understand the gameplay. It also helps the designer have a better idea of the function of the game as a whole and how every system and subsystem works together.

Story: This comprises of everything from the main characters to the culture of the world. A breakdown of levels may also be important to the game document if the game is level heavy. By defining the characters (playable and nonplayable) as well as the world’s culture and build, the artists will have a better idea about the direction the designer wants to focus on. Even sidescrollers cannot be created without some idea of the progression of each level and what the ultimate goal is.

Target Audience: This not only helps the document writer, but it also helps the others involved in the process know who to appeal to. If the game targets children between the ages of 5 to 8, then it’s not a good idea to write character scripts that are above a certain reading level. It may also be a good idea to focus on an art style that appeals more to children than adults. However the target audience is not just defined by age, it is also defined by gender and even personality. Games like Borderlands thrive on people who love morbid humor, and it is obvious that humor is part of their target audience. Describing the target audience is one of the most important parts of a design document because it affects how the story should be written and how the game should be played. If the game does not cater to a certain person, then the message is lost and the game becomes bland.

Below are some examples of design documents and the many ways that they can be conceived:

What’s next?

Now you have a general idea of the importance, utility and components of a game design document and you have realized that writing it takes a lot of effort. The only thing left to do is to start. Draft a game idea into a design document of your own. Have others read through it and give you feedback it takes a lot of practice to create a design document that is understandable and realistic.

The good news is, game design documents are edited constantly through the game creation process to match the ever-changing vision and reality of the game. Just as your game will change through iteration, so will the document. Do not worry about getting the perfect design document together, just get started and know that just as every game has failed concepts that have to be scrapped or redone, so might your game design document. Embrace this mentality and it will benefit your game, and you as a designer in the long run.

Playing for Health: The Games & Impact Cycling Team

From building an activity habit to starting a cycling team

Zombies, Run! Logo

Aside, have you played Zombies, Run!? It is a great way to bring more zombie apocalyptic fun into your day in 30 minute to one-hour chunks.

This year CGI Innovation Lab team spent some time running. Well, for some of us (ahem, me) “jogging” is probably a better way to describe it… It all started with someone’s crazy idea that we should run together in the Warrior Dash in April 2014. A few months later, we found ourselves playing the mobile running game, Zombies, Run!, while working on a Public Health Impact Guide themed “Building an Activity Habit.” (What are Impact Guides? Learn more about them here.) The guide for Zombies, Run! prompts players to use the mobile game to build a regular walking or running activity habit and think about how a game-infused tool can support the success of this habit in a new or different way.

So, one of the outcomes of working on this guide and playing this game together is that it led our team at work to talk about other activities we enjoy and how we use game-infused tools to support achieving our activity goals.

Fast forward a few months and the (not-so-)crazy idea to ride in El Tour de Tucson’s 55 mile race distance and a little racing has turned into a bigger thing – the launch of the Games & Impact Cycling Team.

Going from an idea, to a race, to a team

Founding members of the Games & Impact Cycling Team

Founding members of the Games & Impact Cycling Team from left: Adam Ingram-Goble, Kathryn Dutchin, Juli James and Sean James (not pictured)

Maybe it’s not totally news that games for health and wellness is growing and we are seeing seeing changes and learning what works at the industry and individual levels. The developing goal of our team is to work together to look at how these game-infused tools are helping our society to rock positive changes in our daily lives (to start). Do you use interfaces to track your activities across devices? What’s worked for you? And, do you share your goals in a group or work on things individually? We each use, or have at least tried, many of the the myriad of health and activity trackers out there from wearables**  like the Jawbone Up24, Nike’s Fuel Band, or the Fitbit One. We also have played with smartphone and GPS tools like myfitnesspal (for diet data), Runkeeper, and Breeze (running, cycling, and walking), and each of us has brought a new flavor of activity (in addition to running and cycling, things like kettlebells or aerial fitness) to the table since we began “talking fitness” together throughout this year.

After running from zombies with co-workers, to jumping into that Warrior Dash together, and now forming the cycling team we are really looking at how ubiquitous interfaces are changing the knowledge and empowerment we can have over our own wellness picture, including important factors like rest, diet and activity. This is just to tease the early thought process that led us to forming the team. We’ll explore these ideas a bit more in posts as we continue training.

How we’re participating in El Tour

So, we began talking about how we can achieve our individual goals as a team, both challenging and supporting each other throughout the process. We will post more as we progress in our training but for now we wanted to introduce the team and share that we also like the idea that our own health goals can have a larger impact on this world. To that end, we are also participating in fundraising to support this year’s El Tour de Tucson primary beneficiary, Special Olympics.

You can follow along our training and even jump into the conversation with us on social media at our Facebook page or on Twitter with the hashtags #cgicycling and #eltourdetucson. Please donate to our team’s efforts and support Special Olympics.

And, check it out, from our most recent training ride:

#cgicycling Training ride approaches 40 miles!

#cgicycling Training ride approaches 40 miles!

About Special Olympics and our fundraising meter

The mission of Special Olympics is to provide year-round sports training and athletic competition in a variety of Olympic-type sports for children and adults with intellectual disabilities, giving them continuing opportunities to develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage, experience joy and participate in a sharing of gifts, skills and friendship with their families, other Special Olympics athletes and the community. – via El Tour de Tucson


**The mention of any activity tracker or device does not imply endorsement by the Center for Games & Impact. Additionally, we were not solicited by any company mentioned to evaluate any device or app, and neither the Center, nor its employees, received any compensation for doing so.

ICYMI: Top social media reads for August 2014

E-Line Scaling Learning Games and Impact (via Getting Smart)

Top 5 Learning Games from GLS 2014 Showcase

Gaming Research at ASU (via ASU Magazine)

Quest2Teach wins ASU President’s Award for Innovation

Dr. Elisabeth Gee appointed CGI Associate Director

Having worked with the Center for Games & Impact since its inception, Dr. Elisabeth Gee, Ph.D., takes on a new role as Associate Director this month. Photo Credit: Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College

Having worked with the Center for Games & Impact since its inception, Dr. Elisabeth Gee, Ph.D., takes on a new role as Associate Director this month.
Photo Credit: Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College

Tempe, Ariz. — The Center for Games & Impact (CGI) is pleased to announce the appointment of Dr. Elisabeth Gee, Ph.D., to the position of Associate Director. Gee, who has worked with the Center since its inception, will be involved in moving forward the Center’s mission of investigating, innovating, and cultivating game-infused solutions for positive social impact across interdisciplinary projects around the university, within the ASU Teacher’s College, and nationally and internationally with corporate and foundation partners.

“With the addition of Betty in a leadership position at the Center, we will be able to broaden our scope of work while enhancing the reputation and potential impact more nationally,” said Sasha Barab, executive director. “I see her as having the collaborative spirit and commitment to innovation and impact that lies at the core of our Center ethos. Her thinking about affinity groups and women in games more generally, are key to unlocking the power of games for impact, so it is with great enthusiasm that I welcome her collaboration.”

Gee cites her involvement with the Center as having connected her with other researchers with common interests and helping her to grow her vision for game studies classes at ASU. Over the last year and a half, Gee connected with Dr. Sinem Siyahhan, also a fellow at the Center, and together they created the Play2Connect intergenerational play research project. Gee also played an integral part in creating and securing approval for the Games & Impact Certificate program administered by the Center.

“In my new role, I am looking forward to getting to know the staff and projects better so that I can also help the rest of the world also get to know what we are doing with games and social impact,” said Gee. “Part of my charge as associate director is to support the staff in working toward the Center’s vision as well as maintaining alignment with the ASU Teacher’s College and larger university goals.”

Gee says in addition to maintaining and growing these strategic alignments, she also looks forward to the launch of the Center’s game-infused learning platform as part of the Games & Impact Certificate program experience, connecting researchers with like interests in games and social impact, and expanding the opportunities for graduate students to teach and research with the Center.

For more about Gee’s work visit:


The Center for Games & Impact (CGI) mission is to investigate, innovate, and cultivate game-infused solutions to society’s biggest challenges with the goal of unleashing the unique power of videogames to create sustainable solutions for society’s biggest social, cultural, scientific, economic and educational challenges.

Code for Impact with the Clinton Foundation

*Posted in partnership with CGU I and the Clinton Foundation.

Are you a designer or developer with a passion for social change? Apply now to participate in the Clinton Foundation’s Codeathon at CGI U 2014 at Arizona State University (ASU)!

Event Details

  • Dates/Times: Thurs, March 20, 12 p.m. – 6:30 p.m. and Fri, March 21, 8 a.m. – 4:15 .m.
  • Location: ASU Tempe Campus

Building upon the powerful intersection of technology and social impact, the Codeathon aims to spur innovation in the technology space and increase the scope, reach, and impact of CGI U’s Commitments to Action (click here to learn more about the CGI U Commitment to Action model). The Codeathon challenges developers and designers to build unique digital prototypes inspired by CGI U Commitments to Action in the following areas:

  • Education
  • Global Health
  • Water Quality

Over the course of two days, developers and designers will work in teams or as individuals to create new digital prototypes focused on these three key areas. The Codeathon will culminate with a presentation to a panel of expert judges working in the fields of technology and social innovation.

To participate in the Codeathon: http://www.clintonfoundation.org/clinton-foundation-codeathon-cgi-u

#codeforimpact

About the Clinton Foundation
The Clinton Foundation convenes businesses, governments, NGOs, and individuals to improve global health and wellness, increase opportunity for women and girls, reduce childhood obesity, create economic opportunity and growth, and help communities address the effects of climate change.

National Survey, Video Case Studies: Teacher Attitudes about Digital Games in the Classroom

Center for Games & Impact brings video games to life at the Phx Art Museum

Event Release
July 25, 2013

Center for Games & Impact brings video games to life at the Phoenix Art Museum
Creative play and impact experiences, events for museum visitors through Fall 2013

PHOENIX — The Center for Games & Impact (CGI) brings the art of gameplay to life at the Phoenix Art Museum in a series of events throughout “The Art of Video Games” exhibition, traveling here from the Smithsonian American Art Museum, through Sept. 29, 2013.

Media scholar Henry Jenkins said years ago, when his son turned on Super Mario Brothers for the first time, he knew “this was going to be a medium of enormous expressive capacity, of enormous social capacity. Video games were going to be the art form for the 21st century.”

The CGI team is collaborating with the Phoenix Art Museum to take the exploration of art and video games beyond the advances in visual aesthetics of the past 40 years. The events range from improvising new video game music together* while players are navigating thatgamecompany’s Flower (PS3), to working together to build digital art spontaneously in Mojang Studios’ Minecraft (multi-platform), to roundtable discussions on games and impact and how we can unlock the promise of digital learning for the future.

“Many players, while they love video games, may not have thought about the deeply creative play experiences they have with games. At the Center this kind of meaning drives what we do. In working with the Phoenix Art Museum we’re excited to provide Phoenix families with the chance to see how their interactions with video games are works of art, just as much as any one game is. The experiential nature of playing with this medium is something other media forms don’t offer, or can’t offer in quite the same way,” said Sasha Barab, CGI executive director, “We hope everyone will come play with us over the next few months and walk away thinking about the impact of gaming on our world in a whole new way.”

Games & Impact Art Museum Events 

  • July 31, 2013, 5 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. – Intergenerational Play Event *limited seating, register here
  • Sept. 7, 2013, 9 a.m. – How Games Teach, Educator Workshop *limited seating, register here
  • Sept. 20, 2013, 10 a.m. – The Art of Minecraft
  • Sept 21, 2013, 11 a.m. – Games & Impact Roundtable
  • Sept. 21, 2013 12 p.m. – The Art of Minecraft

Most events take place in the Great Hall of the Phoenix Art Museum (location map). Event costs are included with the price of general admission to the Museum though RSVP may be required depending on the event, check the Art of Video Games web page for more information. Contact, Sherry Thurston, administrative secretary, at (480) 965-0211, or by email at sherry.thurston@asu.edu, with questions.

*Check out the Facebook album from our first day of public events: The Art of Video Games Live Demo and A Night in the Fields.


About the Center for Games & Impact
The Center for Games & Impact (CGI) mission is to investigate, innovate, and cultivate game-infused solutions to society’s biggest challenges with the goal of unleashing the unique power of videogames to create sustainable solutions for society’s biggest social, cultural, scientific, economic and educational challenges. 

Playing for Impact at Home
Level-up your play experience by downloading and using CGI Impact Guides for popular games such as Minecraft, Flower, and The Sims 3. Share your thoughts on the Games & Impact Facebook page or on Twitter (@gamesandimpact) with the tag #impactguides.

Games & Impact Online: gamesandimpact.org | facebook.com/gamesandimpact | @gamesandimpact | #gamesandimpact

Media Contact:
Juli James
(480) 965-0810
juli.james@asu.edu