The annual Meaningful Play Conference (@meaningfulplay, #mplay) is being held this week at Michigan State University. This game conference takes an academic approach to how games can be used to educate and persuade the players. The conference explores how games can be designed and developed for meaningful purposes acknowledging that
…games have the potential to impact players’ beliefs, knowledge, attitudes, emotions, cognitive abilities, physical and mental health, and behavior.
I am unable to attend the conference, but my two fellow panelists, Lien Tran and Dan Jackson, are there to present information about how games might be used in the legal industry and to raise questions about the development and funding for those games. I wanted to share their important work here and provide an update on my own research progress.
Lien Tran is a game designer and Assistant Professor at the University of Miami. She has started an initiative, Amiguía Americana, to provide interactive, game-based resources for unaccompanied immigrant minors (UIMs), youth who may have been taken into custody by the government because of their undocumented status. Her first immigration project, Toma El Paso (Make a Move in English), is a board game currently being used by ICAN (a team of community volunteers who deliver a tailored curriculum to UIMs) with UIMs in a juvenile shelter in Miami, Florida, to teach them about the shelter release process.
Dan Jackson is the Executive Director of the NuLawLab at Northeastern University School of Law. They have created game that is a simulation for self-represented parties. The game is a nominee with the HiiL Innovating Justice program.
Keep an eye on both of these individuals and their projects as the concept of games for legal services begins to take hold.
As for my research at Stanford Law, I’m reading through examples of how games and gamification have been used in the medical profession and the reported outcomes from use in caregiver/patient or medical organization/public relationships. This is requiring me to read through journals outside of law which makes this work really fun and challenging. I’ve been reading books on persuasive games and radical game design.
I am also writing a couple of introductory white papers that look at 1) gamification within law firms, and 2) the use of games and gamification to increase online engagement between the public and the legal profession. I’ll share. More to come.