Gaming for Good at Summer Camp

July 6, 2010

Microsoft, MassBioEd and Children’s Hospital Boston Host Week-long Learning Video Game Camp for Massachusetts Students

School’s out and few students statewide will be able to say they spent a week of their summer vacation learning how to develop a video game from industry leaders from the MIT Education Arcade, the Learning Games Network and FableVision. Generation Cures at Children’s Hospital Boston, Microsoft and the GamingMassachusetts Biotechnology Education Foundation (MassBioEd) are hosting 15 student-teacher pairs from across the state at the “Game for Good” Design Camp at Microsoft offices in Waltham.

The camp was inspired by Children’s Hospital Boston’s Generation Cures, a kid-led, parent-enabled community that inspires kids to give back to others.  At generationcures.org, free and safe online content speaks to kids in their own language through an online animated series (Zebrafish), science-based games (Caduceus), and for-kid, by-kid videos. The animated series Zebrafish- named after the transparent fish used to study disease- is now is available as a graphic novel, published by Simon and Schuster.

During the week-long program, participants will meet Children’s Hospital Boston doctors and researchers and get first-hand views of the labs and facilities where researchers search for cures for cancer, immunological and neurological disorders, among other diseases.

Following these presentations, the teacher-student teams will be asked to identify a topic for the new learning game they’ll design. They then work with designers and developers from the Learning Games Network, MIT and Generation Cures’ design and educational programming team to explore the elements of effective and fun creative learning game design.

Each team’s goal for the week is to produce a preliminary design document (prototype) and “poster presentation” to pitch their concept to an expert panel of judges from the pediatric medical research and learning games realms. One of the prototype games might eventually be produced and added to the Generation Cures roster of games.

Judges and presenters include Robert Ross of MassBioEd; Alex Chisholm and Dan Roy of the Learning Games Network; Generation Cures Caduceus game designer, Scott Osterweil, and Eric Klopfer of the MIT Education Arcade; Children’s Hospital/Harvard researchers Isaac Chiu, PhD, Henry Cheng, MD, Pablo Gomez, MD, and Yariv Houvras, MD; and Kate Cotter and Zebrafish book illustrator, Renée Kurilla of FableVision.

Generation Cures “In the Classroom” program leaders and MassBioEd will then take the concept, Generation Cures-tailored curriculum, as well as video and other resources taken at this design camp and offer it to other teachers nationwide.

ABOUT GENERATION CURES (www.generationcures.org)

Generation Cures is a philanthropic movement that teaches tweens to use their powers for good. The Generation Cures website offers free games (Caduceus), videos, music, webisodes and creativity challenges that inspire kids to care about others and want to make a difference in the world. Tweens can then turn their inspiration into action to help cure other kids through online and offline family fundraising initiatives that support Children’s Hospital Boston’s life-saving pediatric care and world-changing research. Since launching in late 2008, Generation Cures has won more than 20 national awards for creativity, education and family fun and Seals of Approval from Good Housekeeping and Kidzui. Celebrities, including Forest and Keisha Whitaker, Jennie Garth, JoJo Levesque, Mayim Bialik and Neal McDonough, support the initiative. Follow us: http://www.twitter.com/generationcures www.facebook.com/generationcures and www.youtube.com/generationcures.

ABOUT GENERATION CURES CADUCEUS GAME

Generation Cures’ Caduceus game transports kids to a virtual world where they take on the role of young healers tracking down the source of a mysterious plague. As they solve scientific puzzles, tweens experience the same hurdles that real doctors and scientists face in their work. They are challenged to track down the source of the disease, isolate its causes, and mix and match ingredients to find a cure.

As kids conquer each of the game levels, portions of their sponsors’ pledges are unlocked and donated to Children’s Hospital Boston.  If they complete all five, they cure the virtual plague, earn the title “Master Healer” and win the full donation amount to advance real-world cures for kids.  All funds raised go directly to research to find cures and treatments for debilitating childhood illnesses including cancer, diabetes and heart disease.

Kids can enter the Generation Cures Game for Good challenge by registering for free on the Generation Cures site (www.kids.generationcures.org).  Once registered, kids can reach out to parents, relatives and family friends, asking them to sponsor their game play by making a “Game for Good” pledge of any dollar amount.

ABOUT CHILDREN’S HOSPITAL BOSTON (www.childrenshospital.org)

Children’s Hospital Boston, Harvard Medical School’s primary pediatric teaching hospital,  is a leading source of life-saving treatments, groundbreaking research and compassionate care for children in New England and worldwide. In its annual “America’s Best Hospitals” issue, U.S. News and World Report has rated Children’s Hospital Boston one of the top two children’s hospitals for more than 20 consecutive years.  Children’s Hospital Boston has the largest and most active research program at a children’s medical center, with more than 1,100 Children’s Hospital/Harvard scientists.  Become a fan of Children’s Hospital on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ChildrensHospitalBoston or on Twitter at www.twitter.com/childrensboston.

 

About the MassBioEd Foundation (www.massbioed.org)

The Massachusetts Biotechnology Education Foundation (MassBioEd), founded in 2001, is a nonprofit charitable organization committed to supporting science and biotechnology education in Massachusetts through school programs, workforce training, and lifelong learning. Serving as a link between education, industry, and government, MassBioEd is working to ensure Massachusetts’ biotechnology sector, has an appropriately trained work force to meet the growing employment needs. MassBioEd’s BioTeach program provides professional development to over 500 teachers in their biotechnology curricula and provides grants and lab equipment to 179 schools across the Commonwealth. In addition, MassBioEd’s BioTech Learning Center offers professional development courses for employees in the biotech sector to advance their professional skills.

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