In a recent article,Julia Morden of The Huffington Post wrote, "With all the turmoil inthe markets, it seems time to write again about people who are doinggood works..."
We could argue that anytime is a good time to write about people doing good works, but hey. It was nice to see a shout out for Suzanne Seggerman of Gamesforchange.com, one of the 2007 HASTAC/MacArthur Digital Media & Learning Competition winners. Games for Change helps organizations use digital games for social change, and just hosted the highly successful Let the Games Begin: A 101 Workshop for Social Issue Games.
But the spirit of the article could apply to any of the Digital Media & Learning winners, because each of one of them uses technology to address big issues in innovative ways. Virtual Peace is a digital humanitarian assistance game that creates alearning environment for young people studying public policy andinternational relations. And RezEd.org: The Hub for Virtual and Learning Worlds is the must-join network for educators interested in teaching with metaverses. Many of our winners use social networking tools, or knowledge networking, but these three winners - Virtual Peace, Games for Change, and RezEd are focusing on virtual worlds in ways that make best-selling video games look like junk food.
Our winners have had a nice presence on The Huffington Post this week -- Barry Joseph of RezEd.org did a wonderful job with his article, From Tech Geek To Social Reformer. In it, Barry shares a fundamental question: "Can the Internet be used to form connections between people in the places where they have been separated by prejudice?" I plan to memorize this question, and when friends of mine -- particularly those who have kids -- talk about the worrying effects of video games, I want to tell them that there are people like Barry Joseph and Suzanne Seggerman (I could write each of our winners names here, they all belong to this sentiment) who are at the frontier of technology and possibility, using these tools to create community leaders, teach others about social justice, create reform, and educate the next generation.
Over the upcoming weeks, I'll be reporting on other winners and their projects, sharing their progress here. Every time you hear "$700 Billion Dollar Bail Out," I encourage you to visit one of the Digital Media & Learning winners for a shot of hope. They're changing the conversation about technology, and in the process, are changing the way we talk about social issues.