ASU Offers Certification in Games and Impact

In the fall 2013, Arizona State University Center for Games and Impact will offer a Certificate in Games and Impact for undergraduate students. The certificate includes courses in theory, design, and use of games in fields such as education, health, social justice, journalism, and many other areas. These courses are designed to allow students to work on tailor-made projects that surround issues or topics relevant to their specific field of study. Students can also work with activists and entrepreneurs on real-world projects so that classroom study can be transformed to have real-world implications.
While gaming seems to only receive negative attention from the media because of sex and violence in many video games, the Center’s mission is to “investigate, innovate, and cultivate game-infused solutions to society’s biggest challenges.” And do so by partnering with scientists, game developers, and entrepreneurs to study the impact of games.
The Center has teamed up with E-Line Media (Phoenix branch) to help students create and market their games for real-world application. E-Line will be specifically focused on “highly engaging, research-based educational games and game-infused curriculum.”
Sasha Barab, director of ASU’s Center for Games and Impact and Pinnacle West Presidential Chair in Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College, emphasized that students will be studying gaming and grounding their claims in data. He disagrees with various research claiming that violence in video games encourages violence in our society; the good part of these new classes is it will force students to question various aspects of games, and use more critical thinking in development. Furthermore, Barab explained that he hopes for students to be inspirational in their creations and understand that games can have a good impact on society-whether it is in health and wellness or education.
Most importantly, Barab states, “We are excited to connect with the community to bring about impact and change.” The importance of this new certificate is to allow students to study games and make a positive change in the world.
Adam Ingram-Goble, the Center’s Director of Innovation, says, “Games are incredibly social.” He explains that although different games attract different audiences, many games now have large aspects of socialization. He states that students “will gain a perspective on the evolving role of games in our society. By understanding how games are perceived by different audiences, students will be able to achieve greater impact through game use in a real-world setting.”
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