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Talkers and Doers by E-Line Ventures Selected as 2009 Digital Media and Learning Competition Winner
The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation awards E-Line Ventures a $166,000 Innovation in Participatory Learning Grant to develop Talkers and Doers, a new computer game franchise about entrepreneurship for at-risk teens and young adults.
“Every 26 seconds, an American high school student drops out of school,” said Alan Gershenfeld, Co-Founder and President of E-Line Ventures, “It is extremely difficult for these kids to find meaningful employment. Many become disenfranchised and disengaged. As a result, many young people talk about launching a business, but very few actually do. Talkers and Doers seeks to help close the gap between the desire to launch a business and the ability to do so. We want to convert talkers to doers.”
The franchise will feature a series of social networking games where players overcome the common challenges of becoming an entrepreneur with help from their friends. Each game will unlock tools and missions where players can make real money and connect with real-world mentors and community-based resources.
Talkers and Doers was selected as one of 19 winners in the 2009 Digital Media and Learning Competition, which is funded by a MacArthur grant to the University of California, Irvine, and to Duke University and is administered by the Humanities, Arts, Science and Technology Advanced Collaboratory (HASTAC), a virtual network of learning institutions. The Competition is part of MacArthur’s $50 million digital media and learning initiative designed to help determine how digital technologies are changing the way young people learn, play, socialize and participate in civic life.
“This open competition makes an important contribution to the emerging field of digital media and learning by seeking out and embracing the freshest of ideas and the most innovative thinking,” said MacArthur President Jonathan Fanton, addressing Competition winners at an event showcasing projects produced through last year’s competition. “The Competition demonstrates that pioneering work often takes place at the edges and sometimes between the most unlikely of collaborators. These projects are true exemplars of how digital media are transforming the way we think and learn, and perhaps even how we participate in our democracy.”
The team behind Talkers and Doers includes a unique group of successful social entrepreneurs who have engaged and empowered millions of kids. Key team members include Alan Gershenfeld, former Senior Vice President of Activision Studios and current Chairman of Games For Change; media industry veteran Bill Stephney, who has run the music firms Def Jam Recordings and Stepsun Music and has also served on the boards of the National Urban League and the Apollo Theater Foundation; David Lowenstein, formerly Managing Director of the Minority Media & Telecommunications dkiyt Council and Manager of the National Urban League’s Technology Programs and Policy Department and currently a fellow at the Joan Ganz Cooney Center at Sesame Workshop; as well as leading music, game and technology executives.
About the MacArthur Foundation
The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation supports creative people and effective institutions committed to building a more just, verdant, and peaceful world. In addition to selecting the MacArthur Fellows, the Foundation works to defend human rights, advance global conservation and security, make cities better places, and understand how technology is affecting children and society. More information is available at www.macfound.org.
A consortium of humanists, artists, scientists, social scientists and engineers from universities and other civic institutions across the U.S. and internationally, the Humanities, Arts, Science and Technology Advanced Collaboratory (HASTAC) is committed to new forms of collaboration for thinking, teaching, and research across communities and disciplines fostered by creative uses of technology. The infrastructure for HASTAC has been largely provided by the John Hope Franklin Center for Interdisciplinary and International Studies and the Franklin Humanities Institute at Duke University and the University of California Humanities Research Institute. More information is at www.hastac.org.
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About E-Line Ventures
Based in New York City, E-Line Ventures develops and publishes digital entertainment that engages and empowers with a focus on computer/video games and webcomics/graphic novels. The management team features a unique combination of senior game, media and technology executives, as well as social entrepreneurs. E-Line is deeply committed to expanding the sector of computer and video games that make real-world impact. More information is at http://www.elineventures.com.