Sunday, November 11, 2012

Results of Games 4 Good.

The scores are being added, but it looks like our Level up Book Club members raised close to a thousand dollars in sponsorship for Games 4 Good! How cool is that?!

If you sponsored a Level Up Book Club member or gave directly to the American Red Cross to support those affected by Hurricane Sandy, Thank You! Check out all the good I did with games this weekend:

While playing The Garbage Dreams Game (@GarbageDreams) I learned that there's a big cost to recycling, but if we all work to do our part we can save the earth and a whole lot of money. PLUS, this game looks like it would be great to use with upper elementary students. Finally! A game that doesn't play down how significant our impact is on the environment, but chooses, instead, to focus on a people who don't mess around when it comes to recycling.

While playing Stop Disasters (@PlayerThreeUK) I failed to adequately prepare my town for an earthquake, but I earned a medal for my tsunami evacuation efforts. This is also a game that I could play with my intermediate students. We focus on natural disasters in 4th grade. Having played this game a couple of times, I know the mechanics well enough to support students in safety measures to consider (although they could probably do much better if I completely backed off and let them figure it out for themselves).

While playing Free Rice (@FreeRice) for just 15 minutes I was able to donate 1,740 grains of rice. That's about a third of a cup of uncooked rice. It also felt a bit like I was refreshing for the SATs, which produced just enough anxiety to keep with playing without turning me away. I highly recommend setting a timer. I had the students and parents at our recent book club play FreeRice and that's where I think the impact is most evident. It's not that I got a third of a cup of rice donated. It's that if I set FreeRice as a homepage and played for just a couple of minutes daily the donation total would reach some pretty incredible heights before long.

While playing SuperBetter (@SuperBetter) I discovered a strength in what I've increasingly felt is a weakness. I think it's easy for me to want to follow rules and look for structure that I can rely on in situations at work, in my personal life, and, well, everywhere. Sometimes I'm teased for worrying so much about following directions (you know... needing to let loose more, relax, have fun, etc.) Reflecting in this quest allowed me (and my wife) to reassure myself that sometimes playing such close attention to detail is actually a good thing and something people can appreciate.  Good growth via CBT. I wouldn't recommend this site for students, but I would highly recommend it for you if you want to get better (or super better) at anything in your life from recovery of injuries to improving social skills and self confidence.

While playing Twitter Vs. Zombies (@Jessifer and @allistelling) I failed as a human and feasted as a zombie. True to it's promotion, this micro-MOOC was "an epic zombiefied experiment in Twitter literacy, gamification, collaboration, and emergent learning" and it was AWESOME! A planned couple of minutes on Twitter became an encapsulating experience that felt part Walking Dead and part undead pun party. I'll definitely look forward to more experiences like this online. Playing with strangers that immediately felt like partners was something very cool. What a strong testimony to the strength of social media to bring others together... for fun, for play, for good, and for gore!


And now, it's time to call an end to our first ever Games 4 Good. It's bedtime, but not before playing a little Paper Mario: Sticker Star (@NintendoAmerica) on the 3DS.

I hope after reading this you see a couple of new ways games can work for good in your lives. There's still time to donate to Red Cross if you'd like to support us. Comment below or send a tweet to @MatthewWinner if you'd like to sponsor. Thanks again for all the terrific support and encouragement many of you shared throughout this weekend. I feel like this was a very big WIN for Level Up and for using games for good!

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