/ June 10, 2008

Sandra Day O’Connor: Professional Gamer?

That’s right. Last Wednesday, Sandra Day O’Connor unveiled a video game she is helping to design at a conference dubbed Games for Change, which promotes “social issue” gaming. O’Connor conceived of the free game, to be released in 2009, for the Our Courts project, an initiative to encourage civic education and engagement. The beginning “level” of the game will introduce the player to First Amendment issues using a scenario in which freedom of expression is challenged by a school trying to ban t-shirts with a certain logo. Justice O’Connor hopes that young people will identify with the dillema, one many face in their own lives. The game will probably simulate a court room, and will sharpen kids’ problem solving skills while familiarizing them with important civic ideas.

O’Connor did chuckle in front of the conference about her new career path, joking:

“If someone had told me when I retired from the Supreme Court that I would be speaking at a conference about digital games, I would have been very skeptical, maybe thinking you have had one drink too many.”

But she stressed that the state of civic education in the United States today, thanks to television and No Child Left Behind, is no laughing matter. Her strategy of integrating political education with the insular world of gaming has great potential to turn this trend around.

Source: New York Times

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