Photo by : Wojtek Rajski

Author : Janice Levenhagen-Seeley

Gaming for Social Change! + Gaming Workshop for ChickTech: High School

I went to an amazing meetup this evening called Portland Games for Change at OpenSourcery. This was a continuation of the panel discussion we had back in June, and it was pretty exciting.  Organized by Jeffrey Sens, founder of Pixel Arts, it was organized around how we can create social good through games and gaming. Because one of the ChickTech: High School workshops in January is on gaming, this was perfect. As many of you know, one of the great ways to get girls and women involved in and excited about tech (and probably anything) is to show them how it relates to their lives and/or how they can use it to improve the world around them.

So…while I was there, I spoke with a bunch of really awesome people today about getting together a group to create what will be the most amazing game workshop ever. Will Lewis, Sasha Orme, Jeffrey Sens, David Galiel, Dmitri Salcedo, and Anne Jennings Paris are a few of the people I am excited to be working with in the near future!  Corvus Elrod, who insisted on being sick and unable to make the meetup, will also hopefully be joining us. (Please let me know if I missed anyone!) We are working on a partnership with Tech Start/OGPC to create a Game Jam for the first day of the workshop, and for the second day, we’re working with Mike Bailey from OSU to guide the girls in building their game in GameMaker! When you add people from Portland Games for Change and the Portland Indie Game Squad to the mix, there is literally no way this workshop is going to be anything but awe-inspiring.  Oh! And! Brian Jamison, CEO of OpenSourcery, said he might be interested in hosting some of our follow-up workshop sessions! 🙂 The next step is to set up a meeting with the people mentioned above and anyone else interested to start brainstorming how this workshop will really come together. Please let me know if you would like to be part of that discussion! I will be sending out an email in the next week with some suggested meeting times to those I hear from.

A little more info about our workshops…

Each day will have approximately 5 hours of workshop time interspersed with other fun activities (and lunch!), and at the end of the second day, the girls will get to show off the games that they created in our very own Tech Show (open to the public–especially friends, family, and sponsors…feel free to help us think of a really cool name for this :D).  Each workshop has 5 2-hour follow-up sessions over the rest of the year to build on what the girls learned…for a total of 20 hours of hands-on time with their chosen high tech project.

BTW…the other exciting part about our workshops is that after we create them for our annual high school event, we will expand and do weekend workshops around each one for women in general (not just high schoolers!). We believe this will help to keep women engaged if they are already in high tech, give them confidence if they were thinking about going into high tech, and help them to create a great network of intelligent, amazing women just like themselves. (Eventually I or another ChickTech volunteer will write up some copy and create a page about this topic called ChickTech: Women or maybe even something slightly more entertaining so that we can officially start organizing those events!). And then after that, of course, comes taking over the world. Errr, I mean…expanding to other cities 😀