A date for your diaries: 5th December 2008, at Channel 4’s headquarters in London.
This auspicious date will see the gathering of some of the heavyweights in the growing world of “games for good”: representatives from the BBC (Philip Trippenbach) and Channel 4 (Alice Taylor) will join Alternative Reality guru Adrian Hon (of Six to Start), and a series of speakers from charity (including Juliette Culver, founder member of the team behind Operation: Sleeper Cell) and higher education (including myself, Katie Piatt and Nicola Whitton) to discuss and debate the use of online reality games and entertainment to be a force for good (whether raising awareness, money or learning levels).
Full details can be found on the conference web site: http://conference.operationsleepercell.com/
Registration is limited to 70 places (£35 for students, £75 for salaried attendees) so book your place quickly!
As one of the organising committee, I’m also looking for ideas for some of the breakout sessions we’re planning between talks (or questions for the Q&As), so please add a comment below with any ideas.
Make tea not war
It’s an exciting time at the moment: this week sees the launch of a new online immersive game, Operation: Sleeper Cell, which was created by Law37 as the winning entry to the Let’s Change the Game competition run by Cancer Research UK and Six to Start.
I’ve been involved in Law37 and this project since May (when the existing members had already created something spectacular), creating puzzles and generally being part of the collective effort (ending up as Missions Co-Manager).
What’s very special about the project, as I hope you’ll be reading elsewhere shortly, is that it aims to raise money and awareness for Cancer Research UK’s work as part of the game, whilst also delivering a hefty slice of entertainment and gameplay (and to that end, I hope you’ve already clicked on the image and have signed up to play!).
What’s all this got to do with education you may ask? Well, a lot actually. Charities face many of the same problems we face in education, in engaging a noncommital, busy or latently-interested audience, educating them, and asking for a return (in their case, time and/or money; in our case, learning). Traditional methods of achieving this are failing (in both charities and education) and so new ways of engaging the audience and getting the required returns are being sought.
In the case of Operation: Sleeper Cell, we hope that we’ve got the model right and that, through the use of an immersive game which focusses on team building and communal effort, we’ll achieve our wider aims whilst providing a great deal of entertainment. I’ll be monitoring it closely, both as team member and as educational researcher, to see whether elements of the model would transfer across to higher education, and help to engage our students and generate a return in learning.
Much more on this to come.