This is a re-post from the Hive Learning Network column on Huffington Post Teen.
By Shajed Ahmed and Karen Le
What do you expect in the library? Do you see a quiet environment in which one is “shushed” as soon as their mouth opens? Well, this is not the case at the Brooklyn Public Library, especially on Saturday afternoon.
On Saturday March 30, both T4s (Today’s Teens Tomorrow’s Techies) and Global Kids met for a day full of fun and gaming, led by instructors from MinecraftEdu. We started with a series of game design workshops, then the main event was HungerCraft, a cooperative mod for the game Minecraft. In case you don’t know, Minecraft is a sandbox game, where you could build anything and everything from the threads in your imagination.
The instructors from MinecraftEdu challenged us with a series of tutorials, teaching us the basics of Minecraft. We started with simple move commands, then moved into how to build and survive on our own before everyone was released into an open world. After the tutorials, we started formed their own little groups, so we could experience the freedom of Minecraft. Our particular group decided to go out really far and explore cave systems.
It’s the start of a new year and that means Hive NYC and its members are planning and launching even more great programs and events for young people across New York City. Everything including writing workshops, opportunities to help create museum experiences, video game competitions and more!
- WNYC Radio Rookies is hosting a live chat about sexual cyberbullying that coincides with a new story airing on WNYC tomorrow, Jan. 8th by Rookie Reporter Temitayo Fagbenle. If you or your class is interested in participating, please contact Radio Rookies Associate Producer, Courtney Stein at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can listen to Temitayo’s story here.
- Applications are due tomorrow, Jan. 8th for the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum‘s DesignPrep Sophomore Scholars Program. Participants will attend Design Camp at North Carolina State University, a week- long program with projects involving each of the following design disciplines: architecture, landscape architecture, industrial design, art + design and graphic design. Visit http://www.cooperhewitt.org/events/designprep for more details and to apply.
- The New York Public Library and The LAMP are kicking off Deconstructing Fashion workshops this week. Teens will investigate the real messages behind fashion industry advertisements and commercials and create multimedia responses. Workshops start tomorrow (and run every Tuesday at 4pm through Feb. 26) at Inwood Library in Manhattan. Another session on Thursdays at 4pm will run at the Bronx Library Center from Feb. 7 through March 28. Show up or visit nypl.org/teens for more details.
- The American Museum of Natural History is hosting DIGITAL LEARNING WEEK 2013, a series of four, FREE one-day programs during Regents week, from Tuesday, Jan. 22 through Friday, Jan. 25th. The program is open to high school students (grades 9-12), and is an opportunity to test digital media tools and build prototypes for upcoming programs and exhibits, including an audio tour for the Hall of Pacific Peoples (Dum Dum!) and a Minecraft game related to the new exhibit, Our Global Kitchen. Visit http://www.amnh.org/learn-teach/grades-9-12/digital-learning-week for more information or to sign up!
- Urban Word NYC is starting up its Winter Wordshops in early February. These free, after school writing workshops encourage creative expression in the literary arts, spoken word, hip-hop and performance. Weekly workshops are offered in Chelsea, in Crown Heights in Brooklyn, and at The Point in the Bronx. Email Signup@urbanwordnyc.org or click here for more details.
- The National STEM Video Game Challenge will be accepting applications later this month! Hosted by the Joan Ganz Cooney Center at Sesame Workshop and E-Line Media (Hive NYC is also a sponsor!), the competition is open to middle and high school students across the country. See the 2012 winners below and click here to learn more about contest categories, prizes and to enter your video games!
What does game-based learning look like in the context of Hive NYC?
Youth and educators from Brooklyn Public Library, Global Kids and TeacherGaming came together to explore two popular phenomena—the world-building game Minecraft and the young adult novel The Hunger Games. Together, they created a challenge-based, virtual learning environment wherein youth used MinecraftEdu to explore social themes such as inequality, suffering, and resource distribution.
In a one-day workshop, teens split into two teams, representing The Capital and District 12, and maneuvered their way through a customized mod of Panem developed by teacher/MinecraftEdu co-creater and TeacherGaming co-founder Joel Levin. Teens built their communities with available resources: those in the Capital had access to precious metals and other materials, while those in District 12 had meager supplies. Then, facilitators introduced conflict in the form of hunger and protection. Through play and an exploration of the game dynamics and design constraints, the teens were able to think critically about their actions, experiences and decisions, both in relation to the game and to their lives in general.
Hive NYC Director Chris Lawrence had this to say about the Minecraft Hunger Game Learning Jam: “I had a blast observing and interacting with the participants as they fluidly maneuvered from in-world/out-of-world interactions as well as played and commented on the narrative. I was also hugely impressed with the depths to which teens were willing to reflect and mine the experience for insight into current political issues and concerns.”
This is but one example of how Hive and its members have games on the brain. Stay tuned for more including a few game design jams for early 2013 that encourage youth to participate in the National STEM Video Game Competition (with Joan Ganz Cooney Center).
Here are some additional Hive NYC member happenings at the intersection of games and learning:
Many thanks to JR Sheetz for shooting/producing the video above – he is currently Documentarian at Institute of Play working on the Playmaker series and we’re big fans of his work! Also to Sheila Schofer from Brooklyn Public Library and Barry Joseph, who at the time of this production was Director of the Online Leadership Program at Global Kids and is currently Associate Director for Digital Learning at the American Museum of Natural History. Both were essential in bringing this collaboration to life.