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Students to Develop Two Games During 58-Hour Conference

Four game development students from Champlain College have been chosen to create two serious games within 58 hours, all while under public observation of attendees of the Learning 2007 conference.
Four game development students from Champlain College have been chosen to undergo and unusual experiment at an upcoming conference on learning. They will be tasked with creating two serious video games (games used for purposes other than pure entertainment) within 58 hours, all while under public observation of attendees of the Learning 2007 conference. The concept of the experiment is to give businesspeople who are not so familiar with game development a taste of what it all entails. The conference will take place October 21 through 24, in Orlando. About 2,000 learning professionals focused on enacting change in their sphere are expected to attend, among them, senior members of learning departments from Apple, the US Intelligence Community, British Airways, and Target Corporation. The four Champlain College students will be carrying out their task in the center of the main conference hall in full view of conference-goers. During their 58-hour development window, they will create two “GameLets,” or reasonably short, web-based learning games that will focus specifically on learning outcomes applicable to the business world. The students were selected for the experiment by conference organizer Elliott Masie, who also heads The MASIE Center, a Saratoga Springs, NY, think tank focused on how organizations can support learning and knowledge within the workforce. As serious games are becoming more widely acknowledged as a training and learning tool in the business world, Masie and others are looking forward to the experiment and watching the student team work through entire conceptual process, action steps, and production. Students in the experiment will be provided feedback by key colleagues, led by John Abele, founder and chair of Boston Scientific, and a key advocate of the use of gaming, simulation and collaboration for professional learning. While they won’t be told their exact objectives are until they arrive, the Champlain students were given a mission briefing by Masie via a YouTube, where he said the broad topics for the two GameLets will involve emergency preparation for companies for a pandemic or disaster, and preparing next-genners to fit in to a multigenerational workplace. In the conference sessions, some presenters will give updates on the Champlain students’ work. By the close of the event, they plan to have two competed GameLets that can then be posted on the Internet with an open source license so organizations around the world can consider using them in their companies free of charge. Other game-related content at the conference includes a session called "Videogames Make Better Surgeons" as well as a complete series of workshops, labs, seminars, and experiments in a smaller festival within the conference called Gaming 4 Learning Festival. For more information, visit the Learning 2007 web site.

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