Games for Change (G4C)


Day 1: G4C Festival Workshops

Posted by Mark Smith on 05-24-10


Two simultaneous workshops launched this year’s festival—G4C 101.5: A Workshop for Making Social Issue Games, a new iteration of past years’ 101 Workshop, and The Power of Design: Youth Making Social Issue Games workshop, a brand new event for 2010. 

This year’s official hashtag is #g4cfest10, for those who want to share or catch up via…

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7th Annual Games for Change Festival May 24-27, 2010

Posted by Mark Smith on 04-26-10



U.S. Chief Technology Officer 
Aneesh Chopra, Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, 
“Law and order: SVU” EXECUTIVE producer neal baer, M.D. Army Brig. Gen. Loree K. Sutton, M.D. AND DIGITAL PIONEER ALAN KAY
HEADLINE 7th annual Games for Change™ Festival
NEW YORK CITY, MAY 24 – 27, 2010


Festival expands to four days and includes day-long programs presented by the…

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Game Changers Kids Competition 2010 | DMLcentral

Announcing the Digital Media and Learning Game Changers Kids Competition! Please share the news and the link to the competition web site, with any kids or colleagues who work with young people who may be interested in applying. The deadline is May 21st. Here are the details for interested kids and teens:

Game Changers Kids Competition 2010
Join the 2010 Game Changers Kids Competition for Spore and Little Big Planet players. This is your chance to prove yourself as an innovative video game creator!  Winners must be under 18, and will be selected based on Creativity and Playability.


Create an inspired LittleBigPlanet level with a team of 2 or 3 of your friends, or on your own for a chance to win a PSP PlayStation Portable device and game! Learn more at:

SPORE Galactic Adventures

Design an inspired adventure with a team of 2 or 3 of your friends, or on your own for a chance to win a visit to Electronic Arts, home to Spore! Learn more at:


How Many Jews Does It Take To Light Up a High Court Firestorm? – J.J. Goldberg –

May 10, 2010, 1:27pm

How Many Jews Does It Take To Light Up a High Court Firestorm?

By J.J. Goldberg

Does anybody care if there are three Jewish justices on the Supreme Court? We’re about to find out. The first few hours since Elena Kagan’s nomination have seen a low-grade but steady buzz about the court’s religious balance that sort of dances around the topic. This Washington Post blog leads off with the absence of Protestants on court and solicits the opinions of three talking heads, including Arthur Waskow as the Jewish voice. Of the three panelists, only Protestant theologian Martin Marty reluctantly concludes that religion matters, not on its merits but because that’s how Americans are.

Nina Totenberg raised the topic gingerly in a National Public Radio piece a month ago, when John Paul Stevens first announced his retirement.

Let’s face it: This is a radioactive subject. As Jeff Shesol, author of the critically acclaimed new book Supreme Power, puts it, “religion is the third rail of Supreme Court politics. It’s not something that’s talked about in polite company.” And although Shesol notes that privately a lot of people remark about the surprising fact that there are so many Catholics on the Supreme Court, this is not a subject that people openly discuss.

Note that Totenberg is willing at least to discuss the fact that people don’t discuss the Catholic issue, which is sort of like discussing it. Jews get mentioned as a statistic — three out of nine — but without follow-up discussion about what it would mean to discuss it, if you follow me. If religion is radioactive, Jews are weapons-grade plutonium.

The New York Times fairly begs for a discussion in its sidebar profile of Kagan, which manages to bring up her bat mitzvah in the very first sentence. Apparently she got into a fight (no hint what it was about) with the rabbi at the synagogue, which is described as “conservative” (small C — it’s not clear whether it’s an accident or a way to change the topic).

The only fully-developed examination I’ve found of what three Jews would mean to the court is this piece by Kevin MacDonald on his white-rights website Occidental Observer. MacDonald is a psychology professor at Cal State-Long Beach who’s best-known for his unabashed, vehement and conspiratorially-minded dislike of Jewish influence in Western society. Discussing Kagan a year ago, when her name came up to replace David Souter, he wrote:

Kagan’s candidacy raises a number of issues. If nominated and confirmed, there would be three Jewish justices on the Supreme Court — all on the left. Jews are of course always overrepresented among elites — especially on the left, but 33% is high by any standard given that Jews constitute less than 3% of the US population. This is much higher than Jewish representation in the US Senate (13%) and the House of Representatives (~7%). The last time I checked, if there were three Jews on the Supreme Court, the percentage would be about the same as the percentage of Jews among the wealthiest Americans.

Jews as one-third of the Supreme Court seems sure to raise the eyebrows among people like me who think that Jewish identity often makes a big difference in attitudes and behavior. …

We’ll probably be seeing a lot more chatter like that on the Web and around the margins of polite society in the weeks ahead. In the mainstream it will mostly be hinted at in discussions about Protestants and Catholics (not that the Christian vs. Christian issue isn’t a substantive one in its own right). But some of it may already be edging close to the surface, depending on how you want to interpret Texas Republican Senator John Cornyn’s questioning Kagan’s background in the “rarified atmosphere” of

Harvard Square, Hyde Park, and the DC Beltway. These are not places where one learns how ordinary people live.

One concern I’m still waiting to hear about is her late father’s service, according to the N.Y. Times, on the board of the West End Synagogue in Manhattan. By background, at least, this would make her the first Reconstructionist on the high court. Unless you count post-Civil War Chief Justice Salmon Chase back in the swinging (18)60s.



The Mind Research Network and Charting Creativity

The question is part of a classic test for creativity, a quality that scientists are trying for the first time to track in the brain.

They hope to figure out precisely which biochemicals, electrical impulses and regions were used when, say, Picasso painted
or Louise Nevelson assembled her wooden sculptures. Using M.R.I. technology, researchers are monitoring what goes on inside a person’s brain while he or she engages in a creative task.

Yet the images of signals flashing across frontal lobes have pushed scientists to re-examine the very way creativity is measured in a laboratory.

“Creativity is kind of like pornography — you know it when you see it,” said Rex Jung, a research scientist at the Mind Research Network in Albuquerque. Dr. Jung, an assistant research professor in the department of neurosurgery at the University of New Mexico, said his team was doing the first systematic research on the neurology of the creative process, including its relationship to personality and intelligence.

Like many researchers over the past 30 years or so, Dr. Jung has relied on a common definition of creativity: the ability to combine novelty and usefulness in a particular social context.

As the study of creativity has expanded to include brain neurology, however, some scientists question whether this standard definition and the tests for it still make sense. John Kounios, a psychologist at Drexel University, argues that the standard “has outlived its usefulness.”

“Creativity is a complex concept; it’s not a single thing,” he said, adding that brain researchers needed to break it down into its component parts. Dr. Kounios, who studies the neural basis of insight, defines creativity as the ability to restructure one’s understanding of a situation in a nonobvious way.

Everyone agrees that no single measure for creativity exists. While I.Q. tests, though controversial, are still considered a reliable test of at least a certain kind of intelligence, there is no equivalent when it comes to creativity — no Creativity Quotient, or C.Q.

Dr. Jung’s lab uses a combination of measures as proxies for creativity. One is the Creativity Achievement Questionnaire, which asks people to report their own aptitude in 10 fields, including the visual arts, music, creative writing, architecture, humor and scientific discovery.

Another is a test for “divergent thinking,” a classic measure developed by the pioneering psychologist J. P. Guilford. Here a person is asked to come up with “new and useful” functions for a familiar object, like a brick, a pencil or a sheet of paper.

Dr. Jung’s team also presents subjects with weird situations. Imagine people could instantly change their sex, or imagine clouds had strings; what would be the implications?

In another assessment, a subject is asked to draw the taste of chocolate or write a caption for a humorous cartoon, as is done in The New Yorker magazine’s weekly contest. “Humor is an important part of creativity,” Dr. Jung said.

The responses are used to generate what Dr. Jung calls a “Composite Creativity Index.”

Dr. Jung’s tests are based on ones created by Robert J. Sternberg, one of the country’s pre-eminent intelligence researchers and the man partly responsible for the standard definition. Dr. Sternberg uses similar types of tests at Tufts University, where he investigates how people develop and master skills. He explained that his team asked subjects to think through what would have happened if, say, Rosa Parks had given up her seat for a white woman when that Montgomery bus driver told her to move to the back, or if Hitler had won World War II. They might also present them with a fanciful headline, like “The End of MTV.”

As for Dr. Jung, his research has produced some surprising results. One study of 65 subjects suggests that creativity prefers to take a slower, more meandering path than intelligence.

“The brain appears to be an efficient superhighway that gets you from Point A to Point B” when it comes to intelligence, Dr. Jung explained. “But in the regions of the brain related to creativity, there appears to be lots of little side roads with interesting detours, and meandering little byways.”

Although intelligence and skill are generally associated with the fast and efficient firing of neurons, subjects who tested high in creativity had thinner white matter and connecting axons that have the effect of slowing nerve traffic in the brain. This slowdown in the left frontal cortex, a region where emotional and cognitive abilities are integrated, Dr. Jung suggested, “might allow for the linkage of more disparate ideas, more novelty and more creativity.”

Dr. Kounios, of Drexel, said that Dr. Jung was doing original and interesting work, but he maintained that trying to find a correlation between creativity and a single area of the brain is an “old-fashioned approach.”

This article has been revised to reflect the following correction:

Correction: May 8, 2010

An earlier version of this article misstated the city in which Rosa Parks made her famous bus ride. It was Montgomery, Ala., not Birmingham.