Race to the White House

Taking civic action through location-based game design.

Geocaching Scavenger Hunt at Prospect Park. Photo courtesy of Global kids

Global Kids teamed up with the Brooklyn Public Library to develop an after-school program that incorporated location-based technology, games, and current affairs to encourage youth civic participation.

The two-week intensive program started with an introduction to electoral issues where youth studied issues addressed in past presidential campaign ads and played Cast Your Vote in iCivics, an online game designed to teach youth about the importance of thoughtful and responsible participation in civic life. Youth also identified and researched current political issues of importance to themselves and their community.

During the second part of the program, youth uncovered information about physical place in their neighborhood through geocaching, a real world treasure hunt using GPS-enabled mobile technology. In the final week of the program, youth participants engaged in a global geocaching initiative by designing a digital scavenger hunt focused on the electoral issues of the 2012 U.S. Presidential campaign that they felt should be discussed: college tuition rates, legalized marijuana, Internet neutrality, and gun control.

Youth placed GPS-linked “travel bugs” in the form of metal tags (geocaches) at public locations and posted the coordinates online for other geocachers to find. Attached to each “travel bug” is a policy question. Each player who finds a “travel bug” can vote on the importance of the issue by physically moving it closer or further away from the White House in Washington D.C.

At the culmination of the program, youth produced a peer education event at the Brooklyn Public Library where they discussed their learning experience and led a group of youth on their newly designed digital scavenger hunt, Race to the White House.

This project was funded by the Hive Digital Media Learning Fund in The New York Community Trust in 2011.

Lead Organization:
Global Kids

Partner Organizations:
Brooklyn Public Library

Project Goal:
Give youth the opportunity to learn how digital media and GPS technology can be a platform to educate and engage members of their community on relevant issues.

Project Tags:
Advocacy & Social Justice, Games & Game Design

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