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Gaming Literacy in New York City

As reported by NPR and Gamasutra, there is a new high school opening in New York City with a curriculum focusing on designing video games.

Said Gamelab Institute of Play executive director Katie Salen, "We are conceiving the school as a dynamic learning system that takes its cues from the way games are designed, shared and played. All players in the school – teachers, students, parents and administrators – will be empowered to innovate using 21st century literacies that are native to games and design."

"This means learning to think about the world as a set of in interconnected systems that can be affected or changed through action and choice, the ability to navigate complex information networks, the power to build worlds and tell stories, to see collaboration in competition, and communicate across diverse social spaces. It means that students and teachers will engage in their own learning in powerful ways," she added.

—Gamasutra, "New NYC School to Promote 'Gaming Literacy'"
And now the MacArthur Foundation has pledged $1.1 million to support this effort to reinvent education by redefining what it means to be literate. As explained in the NPR podcast, the idea of envisioning the world as the interplay of dynamic systems is something unique to life in the 21st century and requires new ways of preparing children for those challenges.

This is exciting news. The Internet has brought about fundamental changes in the way we think about and use information. In Google era, the fundamental question has shifted from "What is the answer?" to "How do I find it?" Today more than ever, we need to synthesize many different viewpoints and explore ideas through many different media.

Game design is all about understanding the implications of interconnected systems, and the built-in motivational power of a game system can be just the sort of shot in the arm that the educational system needs – especially here in New York. The school is set to open after a two year incubation and planning period. This is an exciting project, and one I hope creates a new way of looking at both games and education.

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The Red Bull Diary is the personal pulpit and intellectual dumping-ground for its author, an amateur game designer, professional programmer, political centrist and incurable skeptic. The Red Bull Diary is gaming, game design, politics, development, geek culture, and other such nonsense.