Friday, 11 September 2009

Life Game Project (LGP)

LGP Vision

Games for Living - Harnessing the power of immersive games technology to foster the development of life skills and positive lifestyles throughout New Zealand communities.

LGP Purpose

Creating a self managing framework for the Auckland based IT industry and Educationalists to engage New Zealanders with today's immersive games experience to teach life skills in fun and sustainable ways.

Background to LGP

The concept for LGP was born recently out of a meeting between Ian Howard, Parikshit Basrur and myself. Exactly how it came about is something of a blur to me. However, in my brain this is what happened.

My family and I are committed to making a difference in New Zealand society. The vision we have for this is that we want New Zealand to be a place where everyone in New Zealand can be and is "Safe and Loved". I have been thinking about what I could do to make a difference and move us forward towards this vision. As I thought about this several threads of internal conversations began to form:
  • I believe in the power of technology to make a positive difference. It is one of the main reasons that I do what I do as everyday I get to think about and work on real solutions that make a difference for The Warehouse and for New Zealanders. I wondered, how could I apply technology to this broader mission?
  • The current trends in technology are beginning to change how people are defining reality and community, and how people interact with each other and can support each other. While this movement has huge positive potential, it also has the potential to simply ingrain the "have and have not's" in our society through the digital divide. Once again, communities most in need could miss out as they cannot afford access.
  • I believe in the power of education. When I say education I mean education in the holistic sense. Yes, this includes reading writing and arithmetic; but it also includes learning how to lead a successful life and develop yourself to fulfil your potential. It has been a major part of my life and has provided me many opportunities and there are many examples of programs that show that if people have the skills to be successful in society then virtually everyone will choose a positive role. My favourite example of this is the Delancey Street Foundation who turn around the lives of hardened criminals through peer support and mentoring. Over 90% of Delancey's graduates never offend again. This compares to their peer group where recidivism is typically well over 90%.
I was thinking about all of this and thinking about how I could put it together. As I pondered this my mind turned to the possibility of introducing learning labs into less advantaged communities. That is when I met Ian Howard (thanks to Baz).

Ian introduced me to the huge potential of using modern games to educate in a compelling, fun and personal way. Many modern games today are driven by participants decisions and their ability to complete specific quests or tasks. As Ian showed me some examples I began to see how you could shape the experience in a way that the gamer would begin to naturally assimilate powerful lessons in life in a fun and positive way. I could also see how gamers could be supported by peers and mentors with social networking technologies.

Thus the concept of the Life Game Project was born; and the rest will be history in the making. Game On!

If you would like to know more or contribute in some way then contact me and let's talk!