After more than a decade, the field of social impact games may be mature enough to step back and investigate how “impact” is understood. To start the conversation, Games for Change has released a new report, published by ETC Press. (The report was co-authored by myself, Nicole Walden, Gerad O’Shea, Francesco Nasso, Giancarlo Mariutto and Asi Burak. Our advisory group included game scholars and designers like Tracy Fullerton, Debra Lieberman and Constance Steinkuehler.) Right now may be an inflexion point in the evolution of games in the public interest — from civic learning to fighting asthma.
I don’t have the metrics, but I’ll stake my professional reputation on the following statement: In the last one or two years, there has been a seachange in how even the most traditional academic, nonprofit, or corporation values, respects, and “counts” relevant, professional online publication and interactivity. The keywords are “relevant” and “professional” and how you present your digital contributions is not only key to your success, but also itself contributes to the larger culture of peer learning. This year, as I’ve been on leave and been on what is turning into a never-ending lecture tour
Get a group of social scientists together to talk about prospective research and it won’t take long before the conversation turns to the question of human subjects board approval. Most researchers have a war story, and all have an opinion of the Institutional Review Board (IRB), the committee in US universities that must approve any planned investigation to make certain that the subjects of the research are protected. Before too long, someone will suggest doing away with the IRB, or avoiding human subjects altogether. Research in the field of Digital Media and Learning (DML) tends to