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Matthew W.

DLL Program Assistant

​Happy holidays! Digital Learning and Leadership is midway through another school year, and we’re going strong with our Playing 4 Keeps program in middle schools around New York!
As video game technology improves, students are constantly realizing the ability of games to tell stories with social impact. However, even with the most sophisticated digital software, sometimes embracing more “analog” technology is just as compelling! Before students can flex their game design muscles, they need a solid understanding of the principles!
​​Pictured are sixth graders at P.S. 109 in East Flatbush, where trainers Matthew and Cheyenne have been introducing the components of games. In a recent lesson, students were blindfolded and tasked with making it through a maze guided by verbal directions from their classmates. To incorporate a social issue, the maze represented struggling with poverty, and other students stood inside representing barriers to getting out of poverty such as “lack of education.”

​As a result of this activity, students got a hands-on perspective of game concepts like “player,” “controller,” “obstacles,” and “themes.” In the new year, students will put these ideas into practice and begin working on projects with Scratch, the online, block-based programming language, incorporating their knowledge of social issues they’ve been building through Global Kids. Given their aptitude for tackling important issues from a game design perspective, we all expect big things in 2017!

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