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Friday, November 6 • 11:30am - 12:30pm
Empathy at Play: Social Media Game Jam

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Games are often social experiences. The social aspect of games can be seen as a spectrum of social experiences from someone looking over your shoulder as you kill it at Two Dots to learning incredible insights about your relatives when playing Cards Against Humanity.

Immersion is also an important aspect to many games. Some games invite players to inhabit an alternate experience zone, gaining insight born of emotional impact. With their inherent social and emotional capacity, games can be the ideal tool to teach empathy and inclusion. Social media offers new tools for the game developer. There is near universal diffusion of mobile technology globally. The numbers for social media employment are staggering. There are more 300 million users for both Twitter and Instagram. Facebook boasts more than 1 billion users. Given the scale of use, social media can be an excellent tool in game development for the museum sphere. These consumer interfaces are well-known to users, and as such, they need no orientation to the interface. Additionally, employing consumer products is cost-effective.

Developing social games has its challenges. Game play, in controlled settings, can be uncomfortable for some people. Many people are averse to games that involve roles. Part of these challenges are born when games are developed without initial audience evaluation feedback about attitudes and behaviors. Forced social and emotional experiences can turn off participants. When done right, social games can also offer important emotional impact on players. In a conference setting, a collectively created game focused on empathy, can increase the power of the conference for its participants as a whole. Sharing a game experience creates bonds that survive long after the game is finished.

This session is formatted as a collaborative, though structured, work-session, featuring a panel of professionals engaged with game development on a variety of levels to create a conference-wide experience. Together, participants and panelists, will work actively to create a social media game, in real-time, to be played at the conference that focuses on empathy. Taking aspects of a game jam, this session will allow the professionals and the participants to consider how to employ readily accessible digital materials to invite performative engagement.

The panelists will offer the framework for game development, with its goals (enhance empathy) and audience (the conference goers.) The participants will begin by gauging their own behaviors and attitudes, brainstorm possible gameplay modes, and eventually help create the game. Careful planning on the part of the panelists, and structured group work during the hour, will ensure a workable game will result from the panel session. Participants will be invited to reconvene after a day of game play to make iterative changes. Participants will gain practical insight into collaborative game planning, prototyping, and iteration. The collaborative creation will have the practical benefit of engendering ownership amongst participants, increasing the likelihood of wide-spread implementation.


Seema Rao

Director, Intergenerational Learning, Cleveland Museum of Art

avatar for Susan Edwards

Susan Edwards

Associate Director, Digital Content, Hammer Museum
Digital engagement, digital experience strategy, digital publishing, and games.
avatar for David Schaller

David Schaller

Principal, Eduweb
Dave Schaller has been a media developer since first picking up a Super-8 camera in the third grade. Twenty-five years later, he founded eduweb to develop digital learning games and interactives and embark on the perpetual quest for the sweet spot where learning theory, digital media... Read More →

Friday November 6, 2015 11:30am - 12:30pm
Nokomis Hyatt Regency Minneapolis 1300 Nicollet Mall Minneapolis, MN 55403

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