Part of the Volume on the Ecology of Games: Connecting Youth, Games, and Learning
In this chapter, I use anecdotes and case studies from both work and personal experience to make an argument for treating games as a form of youth media and explore what this means for after-school youth programs. I talk about my son. I talk about a hotdog stand. I talk about two after school programs in which youth make or use games to engage with serious global issues. I explore the creation of Ayiti, a game about poverty in rural Haiti, and what it meant four youth of color to take part in its creation. I explore a teen program in the virtual world of Teen Second Life that created a maze to educate their peers about child sex trafficking. I discuss James Paul Gee's Situated Learning Matrix, the digital literacy theories of Henry Jenkins and the perspectives of other key thinkers in this volume and in the field to explore their implications for media literacy and youth development programs. The chapter concludes by talking about 21st Century Skills as a context for situating games-based learning and references Carol Channing's voice as a source of hope.