The U.N. Alliance of Civilizations recently wrapped up its inaugural international mobile apps and games competition called Create UNAOC Challenge 2012 with the selection of five finalists who were each awarded $5,000 to refine their interactive creations.
Educators, businesses, public service organizations and media outlets have all discovered that creating and offering a variety of computer and smartphone games and applications is a great way to engage and communicate with their audiences as well as providing challenging, but entertaining learning opportunities.
The UNAOC also saw the growing value and importance of these digital creations. So last fall, with the help of a number of sponsors, including the Learning Games Network, The Education Arcade, and the Voice of America, issued a challenge to teams and individuals who develop these software packages to come up with creative, educational and engaging games and apps or applications that would also help establish new avenues for intercultural dialogue.
The five finalists developed a variety of mobile apps and games that ranged from those that help players better understand Muslim culture, to the growing crisis regarding the most basic need: water, as well as learning about some of the customs and cultures of countries and regions around the world.
Here are the five finalists in Create UNAOC Challenge 2012 according to the UNAOC website.
Ibn Battuta’s App: Developed by MSL Audiovisual & Media, Spain – Players can follow in the footsteps of famed Moroccan scholar and traveler, Ibn Battuta, to learn about the Arab Muslim world. With this iPad app’s slick artwork, you can follow him on his travels and learn more about Muslim culture. Vivid, animated storytelling and high-quality photos, as well as a desktop version for classrooms, lead you on the digital journey and let you test your knowledge of the Arab world. This app, now available in English and Spanish can be found in the iTunes Store. –Download–
Touchable Earth: Developed by Touchable Earth, New Zealand – Explore the sights and cultures of different countries with this interactive world book presented by children from around the world. With this game, available on the iPad, you can quickly and easily navigate a world map and simply click on an area of the world that you’d like to know more about. Learn about children’s school day, games, music, dress and more in short, high-quality videos. This app is now available in the iTunes Store. Developers add content to it regularly. –Download–
Get Water!: Developed by Decode Global, Canada – Take on the role of Maya, a young girl who must collect water for her community in this addictive iPad game that illuminates the global crisis for the most basic and universal need: water. You/Maya are pulled out of school to fetch water for the family. In the style of other smartphone games, you collect water with your bucket and purchase new tools to aid in your effort. Along the way, you learn important facts about water shortages and waste and become a more informed global citizen. This app, still under development, is scheduled to be released very soon.
Sanskar: Developed by the Amrita Center for Wireless Networks and Applications, India – Understand different traditions with this interactive game and database that users from around the world can contribute to. Using the Android platform, this app, promotes “harmony through acceptance” and helps you explore new cultures with a magazine-style presentation and animated videos that demonstrate understanding and acceptance in 18 different cultures from around the globe. Each section is followed up with quizzes to assess the amount of materials you covered and measure your newfound respect for the culture. You are also invited to create your own content and share it via the app, to build a database of cultural knowledge. This app is currently unavailable because it’s still in the early stages of development.
Reality: Developed by Alex Gurany, Ruri Lee, Kameron Oser, Danna Ortiz, Lane Pertusi, and Stephen Zhang, United States – This app aims to raise awareness of media bias and promote critical thinking about what we read, see and hear in the media. This winning iPad game puts the player in the shoes of a freelance journalist in a culturally and politically diverse city. By using time and money wisely, as well as talking to the right sources you can put together a complete story and then try to sell that story to one of the city’s newspapers. The rewards are also balanced; increased popularity and money can come at the cost of a more divisive and intolerant society. This game is currently in development and is not available at this time.
On a recent radio edition of Science World, Michael Suen from the Learning Games Network talked about “Create UNAOC 2012″, the finalists and their winning entries. Listen below.