The Hofstra University iDesign project uses Culturally Responsive Game-Based Learning to make learning more relevant and effective, and to help students master content that they may not achieve in traditional classrooms. Students research topics that have impacted their communities and they develop meaningful games that immerse and engage them while allowing them to discover the consequences of action taken in real life situations, such as Hurricane Katrina or poverty in Haiti.
A key motive of the iDesign project is to introduce underrepresented 6th to 9th grade students to the culture of information technology early in their studies, before they lose interest, in order to prepare them for fulfilling opportunities for future study and careers. Also collaborating on the project are Global Kids, which has pioneered after-school leadership programs that use critical gameplay activities to address challenging social issues, and The New York State After-School Network (NYSAN), which has developed models for highquality after-school programs in 320 public schools.
The project’s multidisciplinary management team has had extensive experience in helping underrepresented minority students upgrade their skills in science and technology and in training teachers to employ methods that deepen students understanding of STEM content. Evaluation, conducted with the aid of the Education Development Center-Center for Children & Technology, will use quantitative and qualitative data collection and analysis to help in guiding the project’s implementation so that its goals can be successfully accomplished.