I am the dad of a Girl Scout, and last year her troupe leader asked me to help out with a Girl Scout Achievement program called "Games for Life," a badge that can be earned by doing a list of tasks around either analog or digital games. There's a career exploration component and she asked if the girls could visit the game lab and get a presentation to cover that aspect of earning the badge.
Well, after I said yes, I checked out the badge and saw that I could build a one day workshop around video games and "Games for Life" that would let the girls complete 90% of the requirements in one shot.
So this year, RIT partnered with the Rochester Chapter of the Association for Women in Computing and I partnered with Dr. Jessica Baylis , three of my games grad students (Sela Davis, Heather Arbiter and Kelly Piering) and three of my undergrads (Cade Carter, Amy Li and Lo Pierce) and we delivered the first workshop. We had the help of two awesome guest speakers,Tobi Saulnier, CEO of 1st Playable Productions and Tory Van Voorhis, CEO Second Avenue Software.
In the morning the girls learned about game design and game mechanics. Then they put that knowledge to use by playing some web games, reading reviews of the games and then doing their own reviews of the games as well.
At lunch they ate pizza and learned alot about making entertainment games for kids and serious games for all ages from Tobi and Tory.
After lunch my students led them in a guided design exercise to make virtual pinball machines based on several of the other Girl Scout badge requirements using Future Pinball. During part of this Tobi, Tory, Jessica and I led a Q and A session for the leaders and parents about all things game from careers to college degrees and everything in-between.
We're all pretty pleased with the way this first one went. We're looking to run another in the fall, perhaps using Game Maker or Microsoft's Kodu (we've been offered the opportunity to look at the beta and see if it will fit our needs)
After then next one runs and the bugs have been worked out RIT and AWC in Rochester will team with the GSA Genesee Valley Office to make the materials and curriculum available to any of you who'd like to team with a troupe and run the workshop in your towns.Local news footage of the event