On teaching game design in a journalism class, part 3

UPDATE: December 6, 2011. Obviously, I wrote the post below several weeks ago. An end-of semester update coming soon. # Link in context

  # Link in context

We are now just past midterms this semester, and I can share the work done by the  News Games class to remix the Food Stamp Game. As I have described in the two previous posts in this series, I created a very rudimentary, glitchy, incomplete game in Scratch designed to simulate the experience of shopping on a food stamp budget. My idea was to have the students critique the game and remix it both as a game and as journalism.  The image at left is a screen shot of the flash-based prototype they created.  We had less time to work on this project than I had anticipated because Hurricane Irene and our Labor Day schedule forced a late start to the semester.  Still, students reported that they found the experience valuable, both as an introduction to the course, and as a way of building community. # Link in context

In addition to their contributions to the game, students wrote reflective essays critiquing their work as journalism and as a game. # Link in context

The focus of their effort was on enhancing the storyline, as well as improving the esthetics and the gameplay. With more time, they wanted to create more player profiles  (a single parent with children, an unemployed adult, a retiree, etc.) to illustrate varied scenarios under which people acquire Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits.  They also would have make hotspots out of more of the items, and they would have added a corner store or bodega to the shopping options. # Link in context

From here,  the students moved toward developing their individual game projects, which have turned out to be quite varied. In thinking through how I expected them to incorporate journalism into the game design and development process, I adapted my approach to teaching students to do long-form magazine writing. I will elaborate on this in my next post. # Link in context

  # Link in context

CC BY-ND 4.0 On teaching game design in a journalism class, part 3 by Kim Pearson is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

Posted in Civic media, Collaboration, Computational Thinking, Gaming, Journalism, journalism education, Research, Teaching and tagged .


My professional background is in public information, magazine journalism, blogging and journalism education. My current research is founded on the premise that democracy requires the broad participation of a computationally fluent citizenry. Civic media industries must reflect the communities they serve at the level of ownership, research and development, news gathering, presentation and community engagement. This adds greater urgency to the already critical need to broaden participation in computing. To that end, I have collaborated on curricular models for infusing computing into journalism education at both the scholastic and collegiate levels, and for promoting civic engagement in computer science education. My current interest is in exploring the potential of stochastic networks and as enhancement to social computing tools for broadening civic participation.
While most of this blog is devoted to my research in computational journalism and trends in journalism education, I occasionally do some storytelling of my own. This blog picks up where my other blogs, Professor Kim’s News Notes (http://professorkim.blogspot.com) and The Nancybelle Project (http://kimpearson.net/nancybelle.html) left off.

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  1. Pingback: Teaching Newsgames as Literary Journalism | Kim Pearson

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