Former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor made a statement at a conference that I think we can all agree with:
“If someone told me when I retired from court that I’d be talking at a conference about digital gaming, I’d think they’d had one drink too many.”
However, not only did she talk at a conference about digital gaming, she’s working on a project to create a video game about the court system, to try to make students more informed about the judicial system and some of the difficult decisions it makes.
Delivering the keynote address Wednesday at the annual Games For Change conference at Parsons The New School For Design, O’Connor detailed a project she is spearheading called Our Courts, which she described as an “online, interactive civic education project for seventh- and eighth-graders” that familiarizes students with the legal system. O’Connor believes that America’s youth aren’t learning enough about civics, and thinks that the educational power of videogames is just the thing to change that.
O’Connor understands you really can design games for positive social engagement. And that’s what the non-profit Games for Change is all about:
Now in its fifth year, the Games For Change conference is run by Parsons The New School For Design and is dedicated to exploring the development of videogames that deal with social issues.
“Of the three branches of government, the one that’s least understood is the judiciary,” said former U.S. Senator and current New School President Bob Kerrey, introducing O’Connor.
O’Connor said that the No Child Left Behind act of 2001 has “effectively squeezed out civics education” from public schools. “We can’t forget that the primary purpose of public schools in America is to produce citizens who have the skills and knowledge to sustain our form of government,” she said. “Public education is the only longterm solution to preserving an independent judiciary and constitutional democracy.”