Girl Scouts Games for Life Workshop
Since March, 2009, RIT’s Lab for Technological Literacy and faculty and students from the Game Design and Development degree programs currently housed in the School of Interactive Games and Media have led a one day workshop for Girl Scouts of America (GSA) troop members to complete their “Games for Life Interest Project.” (GFL) The workshop has been offered, in various forms, four times in Rochester, New York and once in Los Angeles, California.
These materials have now been refined to the point where they can be released so that other Girl Scout Troops across the country can offer the workshop in their home communities. They can also be used for a general introduction to game design and development outside of the Girl Scouts. The current versions of the interactive tutorials are in Scratch, a multi-platform, open source tool that can be installed on Windows, Apple or Linux operating systems.
The workshop begins with an introduction to the components of a game (i.e. it’s Formal Elements). The slide show attached discusses the roles of players, different types of game mechanics, win conditions, and other game components using examples of common board games to keep the concepts clear.
Next the scouts play some “casual” web games of different types, read reviews of those games from web sites, and discuss them in terms of the formal elements they just learned about. Games we have used are The Company of Myself , Red Remover and Learn To Fly
After the play session, usually during lunch, the girls hear presentations from one or more professionals in the field about careers in the game industry.
After lunch the Scouts spend some time working on tutorials on building games in Scratch. They are provided with thumb drives with all the necessary files for the tutorials on them as well as installers and run-time versions of Scratch.
The first one, the badge collection game pictured above, is presented ina guided "follow along with the presenter" format. Players must click on the bouncing badges and avoid the bouncing skulls to win the game.
The second tutorial, the canoe paddling game pictured above, is introduced in a less structured manner, allowing the Scouts to explore, create more image assets, etc. Depending on the Scouts preference and time left in the day a third tutorial is available for them to experiment with, this bat-eating frog game below.
It takes a village to give a workshop, and the group that has supported the workshop over the years is a sizeable one. Professor Jim Leone, Department Chair of RIT’s Department of Information Technology, sponsored the original workshop materials development in 2008. Microsoft Research funded the second round of materials development. The final round of materials development was sponsored by RIT’s Lab for Technological Literacy. RIT and The Rochester Association of Women in Computing sponsored Rochester workshop events. Our Rochester GSA coordinator was Laura Robinson, Program Manager, Girl Scouts of Western New York. The SIGGRAPH Los Angeles workshop was sponsored by ACM SIGGRAPH, Autodesk, Inc, and Intel Inc. Our GSA Co-Coordinator was Katherine Poulin-Kerstien, STEM Program Specialist, Girl Scouts of Greater Los Angeles. Materials for the various workshops were created and/or revised by Stephen Jacobs, Kelly Piering, Sela Davis, Heather Arbiter, Joe Pietruch, Yana Malysheva and Justin Lewis. All Rochester workshops have been coordinated by Amy Carey of AWC and Digital Rochester Institute of Technology
Download the Scratch Tutorials.