Thursday, November 1, 2012

Games 4 Good

We all know that games are fun, engaging and can greatly impact student learning when put to use in the classroom.  However, given the magnitude of Hurricane Sandy and its impact on folks up and down the east coast of the US, we've decided it's time that we take a closer look at how games can, as Jane McGonigal says, make the world a better place.

So... buckle your seat belts, #levelupbc, we're about to change the world!

For the next #levelupbc challenge we're gonna play games AND raise money for the victims of Hurricane Sandy.  How, you ask?  Well, that's simple... we're having a Game-A-Thon!

Here's how it works:

Step 1:  Commit to playing a game (or many games) over a period of however many hours you would like, between 12:00am Saturday, November 11th and 11:59pm Sunday, November 12th.  If you think you can play for 5 hours, go for it!  If you think you can play for 2 hours, great!  If you think you can play for 48 hours, you're crazy, but we love it!  Bottom line, it doesn't matter how you play (console, phone, tablet, PC) or how long you can play, you just need to commit to being a gamer for part of that weekend.

Step 2:  Get your friends, neighbors, coworkers, compadres, brothers, sisters, cousins, distant relatives and sworn enemies to sponsor you! Tell them you're raising money for the victims of Hurricane Sandy and need their help!  If you've committed to gaming for 5 hours AND you can get 5 people to sponsor you at a rate of $2.00 an hour, by the end of the weekend, you'll have raised $40.00.  Get it?  You can even print out this handy, dandy sponsorship form to help you keep track of all the cash you're gonna collect! 

Step 3: Play some games, yo!  What games, you ask?  Well... any games!  However, now might be an AWESOME time to explore some of the games that have been specifically designed to foster social good.  Some of the ones we've been playing include:

  • Free Rice ( - "For each answer you get right, we donate 10 grains of rice through World Food Programme to help end hunger."
  • Games for Change ( - "Catalyzing social impact through digital games." Over 100 games created by independent game designers to inspire and challenge users.
  • Lure of the Labyrinth ( - A puzzling world with puzzling puzzles for you to discover, uncover, and, hopefully, solve. The focus here is clearly on math, but it's just so enticing we couldn't bare to leave it off our list.

Of course, you can play any game you want. In fact, use this challenge as an excuse to spend a little time this weekend just playing.  We've all got mountains of work to do and sometimes it feels frivolous to spend time engrossed in a game - but this weekend, you're not playing... you're SAVING THE WORLD!  (The dishes can wait!) 

Step 4:  Donate your earnings to charity.  Again, how you choose to donate is up to you, but one of the easiest way is by sending a text to the Red Cross.  Once you've collected your sponsorships you can just text that amount in and voila! Your sponsors can give directly to the Red Cross Disaster Relief, too, if you'd prefer not to handle any money exchange. TeacherCast has made it possible for your school or district to help those in New Jersey affected by the hurricane. Regardless of how you choose to help, you and your posse have made the world just a little bit better.

Step 5:  Document your experience!  If you're participating in this challenge, there are a few ways that you can share your journey and cheer on your fellow philanthropists.  
  • Fill out this Google Form to let us know that you're participating.
  • Send us some photos (either via Tumblr or Twitter) of you getting your game on!
  • Spread the word!  One of the things that is sooooo motivating about games is that they are SOCIAL.  What fun is playing Guitar Hero if you've got no one to giggle with?  Mario Kart stinks without someone to trash talk!  And Monopoly wouldn't be the same without someone else to land on your Park Place hotels!  Plus, the more people we can get to play, the more we can help others!
  • Tweet about it using the hashtags #levelupbc and #games4good
  • Finally, keep track of your donations.  Once the games have begun, we'll give you a way to share how much you raised.   
And, of course, there will be kudos and prizes for folks who raise the most money, get the most people to play and other fun stuff. 

So... spend this week committing to play, soliciting sponsorships and challenging your friends to play too.  In the end, all of your efforts will go to help some folks who really need it. 

1 comment:

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