so what’s up with serious games?

Let us reveal a little about the new shining gem of the gaming industry… serious games or, more focused on NGOs, games for change are those particular games developed with an educational purpose in mind.

Although there is an ongoing debate on whether such games are indeed helpful for learning goals or if by playing, the users remain only with… the fun of games, which therefore trivializes the subjects they should be educating on, the certainty is that more and more conferences are held worldwide (obviously or not, the US is the engine of this movement) regarding this, more scholars are agreeing to its uses, more game designers develop such games and yes, more organizations use them to promote their campaigns, communicate and inform their public in their goal to enhance social action.

There are numerous examples of such games in the NGO field, starting, of course, with the largest INGOs. Whilst I do not want to openly sustain serious games (as I am merely in the beginning of my research on this matter with my Master thesis), I encourage you to test such games and decide whether in your particular case this kind of edutainment does make a difference, other than just spending some free time…

digital natives, digital immigrants…

There are ongoing debates about the advantages and disadvantages of social network sites (Facebook, MySpace, Hi5 and all the others). This is not a post about that. It is, however, the starting point for my finding of the day, because from a friend of a friend from Facebook who wrote about a blog, I managed to stumble across this humorous short movie about the attempts of two non-media savvy parents to connect on Messenger with their son who is living in the US.

This short movie has both made me laugh and think nostalgically about the moments when simply creating a new folder on the computer was a group activity. I had the chance of living the experience of PCs entering the family life and also witness the “birth” of digital natives and digital immigrants, as Prensky puts it.

I feel at ease with using new media technology and I find it natural to be such a present part of our lives, whilst I can also still remember the times when we used “boring” landline phones or merely shouting in front of the window, instead of instant messaging or video calling to contact our friends to go out, simply because these applications did not exist back then. I feel suspended between my parents who, for example, need to read all the instructions in order to run a new application and my younger sister who acts around new media technologies as if she was born with one in her hands…

Also, as an abroad student myself, the short movie made me think of the things parents go through just to talk for two minutes with their children. And so I am grateful that I live in an era where we can instantly connect with others, regardless of the physical distance. I am grateful that I have supporting parents who not only encourage me to try my best, but also work on improving themselves for our sake.

So here is the movie for today:

taking it easy

Finally, after reading many many blogs of others, I have managed to press the right buttons and voila!, my very own one. Since this is the beginning, I have decided to keep it simple and straight to the point: so salutations to all of you out there interested in reading about things related to new media, (I)NGOs, social activism, edutainment and serious games (or games for change).

As days will pass, my online space on this blog will be covered with posts about exciting things that I will come across and, hopefully, so will the pages of my master thesis…