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Over the past year, the Engagement Lab and the Egyptian United Nations Development Program (UNDP) have partnered on a new initiative focused on using games and play to tackle global issues, ranging from environmental sustainability to cultural and political empowerment.
This week, the lab is hosting UN staff and designers and entrepreneurs from Egypt for a week-long, intensive game development camp.
Every day this week, we will share a new blog post written by one of the game makers. Today, Mona Shokrof shares her experiences during the fourth day of the development camp.
The theme of the day was MIT creativity!
The day started with a brilliant session by MIT Game Lab Director Scot Osterweil about the history of play and how early learning for children always involves play. He also presented some awesome games to help engage kids in math and science.
We were then joined by Peter Stidwel, who presenting about games made specifically for learning. He also introduced us to a network of institutes, organizations and universities working in this field.
What struck me most about both sessions was the extent to which play is involved in all games for learning — it’s not simply a matter of applying game structure to learning materials.
Both sessions were really fun because they made me love to play.
After the presentations, we visited the MIT Media Lab to attend a weekly discussion of people working in the lab. This was a gathering of brilliant people both working in the Media Lab and some outsiders to talk about new projects and ideas. I was really surprised when the director of the lab mentioned Parlio, the social network by Wael Ghonim as a great new platform for discussion about hard issues, and how he plans to write about it on a weekly basis.
After the discussion, they started presenting some projects. For example, one project is a really cool blogging framework called Fold, where you can create your stories as cards and attach anything from external sources to it. It’s still in beta, but I think it’s very promising.
We then presented some of our work to the audience and had some good discussions about new opportunities between the UNDP and the Media Lab.
At night, we had a showcase for our games for the Emerson community. We had so much fun playing our games and getting to know more people at Emerson College. It was the perfect end of the day.