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Game-based Learning for Nonprofits

Filament Games | Educational Game Developer

For nonprofits in today’s crowded media landscape, getting your message across is a competitive, challenging endeavor. It’s not enough to rely on passive forms of communication to create new mindsets – tactics like participating in social communities, publishing editorial content, and conducting general public relations are a great and necessary start, but more often than not, a more immersive means of communication is required to effect real change.

Game-based learning is a research-proven medium that has the potential to provide the kind of immersion that creates lasting change in your audience. Games provide a virtual space for active, hands-on learning, and can help you provide new access, expand perspectives, or improve awareness of a critical issue relevant to your mission. Below are a few exemplars from our past work with nonprofits – read on to see how these inspiring organizations used game-based learning to support their missions:

Project: Take Off!

Client: EkStep

Mission: Create access to education

India-based EkStep was founded with a mission to improve access to learning opportunities for children who are at risk of falling behind in their learning growth trajectories. Insufficient access to learning is a complex, multidimensional problem that impacts millions of children on a daily basis, and EkStep set out to gather partners on their universal, collaborative platform designed to reimagine learning opportunities for every child.

As part of their educational content offering, EkStep partnered with Filament to create Take Off!, an introductory numeracy game that acts as a central component of the EkStep platform. Drawing on Montessori methodology, the game blends addition and subtraction learning objectives with the convenience and accessibility of mobile gameplay. Designed for equitable access on affordable devices, Take Off! engages players as they help flightless chickens explore the world. Today Take Off! has been played by thousands of children across India, offering new learning opportunities and access to EkStep’s primary target audience and creating incremental change one child at a time.

Project: iCivics.org (Various Titles)

Client: iCivics.org

Mission: Improve Generational Civics Literacy

Upon her retirement, Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor made it her mission to promote civics education for young people. Concerned by the civics-related misconceptions she saw represented in the media, she created the iCivics.org platform targeted at middle school students in order to equip the next generation of Americans for a lifetime of positive civics participation.

iCivics cycled through a variety of delivery mechanisms for their civics education mission. After speaking to Jim Gee, a theoretical linguist at Arizona State University and a known luminary in the game-based learning space, iCivics approached Filament Games on his recommendation to explore the possibilities of civics learning games. Not long after that, Filament pitched Do I Have a Right?, a game whose quality and efficacy led iCivics to commission 20 additional civics games from Filament Games. The games themselves are also supported by a variety of other materials, including readings, activities, discussions, and other resources to support individual, small group, and whole-class learning across a variety of settings.

iCivics is the most widely adopted game-based learning solution in America today. Boasting more than 7 million registered students, 100,000 registered teachers, and users in all 50 United States, the platform is having a massive impact on how America teaches civics.

Project: Epic Orphan

Client: N Square

Mission: Promote Citizen Activism

N Square was founded to create a new national dialogue about nuclear disarmament that helps bring the issue of nuclear weapons back into the forefront of public consciousness, with the ultimate intent of raising both public awareness and public influence over issues of nuclear safety. N Square’s mission is to empower people by informing them about the current threats posed by orphaned nuclear materials, effecting change by promoting private citizen-level activism.

Filament Games was selected by N Square and Games for Change to develop a prototype of Epic Orphan, a narrative-driven game experience intended to support N Square’s mission of raising nuclear materials awareness. By exposing players to the complexities of this topic, the game is intended to foment citizen-level activism and a sense of shared responsibility around the control and containment of nuclear materials. Players engage in a gripping narrative and mini-games themed around the support of a spy agency called Damocles whose purpose is to track down orphaned nuclear materials before they get into the hands of malicious actors. These mini-games are interspersed in motion comics that were developed using Filament’s custom and proprietary motion comics engine. N Square will continue to build on Epic Orphan and expand on this content to give players comprehensive exposure to this critical issue.

These are just a few examples of nonprofits using games to support and execute on their missions, but there are many potential strategies for using game-based learning to reach your audience and drive the change you want to see. If you’d like to explore ways that games could have an impact on your mission, feel free to reach out to us for a free consultation!