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These Game Developers are Honoring Leelah Alcorn Through the Medium She Loved

Inspired by Leelah Alcorn, #JamForLeelah is exploring trans identity in gaming (and they want your help!)

image via (cc) flickr user jDevaun.Photography

In late December, Leelah Alcorn, a transgender teenager from Ohio, ended her life. Before doing so, she scheduled a heartbreaking letter to be published online later that day. In her suicide note, Alcorn—whose conservative Christian parents had rejected her transgender identity—described the unbearable pain she felt, trapped between who she knew she was, and how she was treated by those around her. “The only way I will rest in peace is if one day transgender people aren't treated the way I was, they're treated like humans, with valid feelings and human rights” wrote Leelah, who later implored: “My death has to mean something.”

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Meet the Video Game School of the Future

Attention middle and high school students: You're going to want to go to this school!


Ask the average middle or high school student if they would rather do algebra or play "Dragon Age II", and the video game option is going to win. But, if an innovative schooling idea called Quest to Learn (Q2L), spreads to the mainstream, future students might not have to choose. Don't worry, Q2L students don't play commercial video games all day. Instead, the school's systems thinking-centered academic curriculum immerses students in a "game-like learning environment," while also teaching kids how to design their own video games.

The first Q2L school opened in New York City in 2009, and far from being drilled with test prep, the gamers "learn by 'taking on' the behaviors and practices of the people in real life knowledge domains." That means they become "biologist and historians and mathematicians instead of learning about biology or history or math." Students also acquire marketable real-world skills like website production, film making, and podcasting. Along the way, they solve real world problems, use and analyze data, and learn to communicate effectively.

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