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Zoe B. Corwin

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Pathfinder’s Progress

As the 2010/2011 school year unfolds, CHEPA’s Pathfinder project continues to evolve. In exciting news, the design team from USC’s Game Innovation Lab has just released the initial digital storyboards for the Facebook Application of the game.  After playtesting the card game with over 300 students and practitioners, seeing the digital mock-up for the first time was exhilerating.  The design team describes the online application as follows:

Pathfinder Online plugs seamlessly into the social networks of busy, connected students to deliver a compelling game experience that is first and foremost fun and engaging, but in the process introduces players to the system of preparing for, applying to, and getting into college and then those skills to mastery by incorporating them into the game mechanics.

Games take only a week to complete from start to finish and never require more than 5-10 minute sessions at a time to advance the game forward.  Players guide a character through class and activity selection, time management challenges, putting together application materials, and acquiring the financial resources to afford college and its related costs.

Pathfinder leverages play patterns and reward structures that have proven successful in wildly popular social network games, but marries those to deeper and integrated play mechanics based on the systems that drive the real-world college process. Playing the game teaches a player that the college application process is a system with rules, demystifying an intimidating process and making the strategies needed for game success the same ones that will provide positive results in the lives of players.

In related Pathfinder news, I am happy to share that Leslie Aaronson, a key Pathfinder collaborator and high school teacher at James A. Foshay Learning Center’s Academy of Information Technology will be awarded a congressional honor as a STEM pioneer on Monday.  Leslie’s award celebrates leaders who are “preparing youth as global leaders in the digital age.”  Foshay students have participated as junior game designers since we launched the project and were instrumental in the early phases of designing Pathfinder. 

If you are attending ASHE, please join me on Saturday morning in the “Innovating to increase college access: Five cost-effective research-based approaches” to learn more about how the project is developing.    And to visit the Pathfinder website, please click here: http://pathfinder.usc.edu/

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