The Challenge


How might we inspire young people to cultivate their creative confidence? read the brief


The Play Portal

Watch 6 and 12 year olds in Hyderabad and the LREI 5th Graders in New York play some games made by each other! Will they play by the rules, or will the break them? Also check out our 15 pages of beautifully designed Website Mock-ups!

THE PLAY PORTAL                                          

The space has been getting crowded with updates, content, and comments, so here is a quick snapshot of what you need to know if you are in a rush.

The Play Portal is an online platform that re-packages often daunting creative learning opportunities into more fun and approachable games for kids. Kids can play existing games by the rules, or the can 'Break the Rules' and let their creativity shine. Introductory, Science, & Expert Videos help frame the value behind the creative activity for both the kids and the parents. A multiple-intelligence pathway & badge system will allow kids to build a virtual portfolio of their activity and help them develop their creative dexterities. Through our research we are confident that this idea is feasible when considering user demand, technological complexity, and funding. 

1) Learn About Play Portal - Scroll past all the updates to deep dive into the concept

2) Check out Our Impressive Downloadable Content

Incredible 15 Page Site Mock-Up          LREI 5th Grader Creativity Survey     

LREI 5th Graders Play VIDEO                LREI 5th Grader Games Feedback       

Indian Students Play VIDEO                  Oakridge School Games Feedback

Cross Cultural Gaming VIDEO              Indian Games Listing

3) Make a Game of Your Own! We will add it to our Library for Publishing!

Upload your game idea here: Play Portal Game Library
Or Play Our Games and Share: Games Instructions
Feel free to email us at

4) Join the Conversation! Add a comment at the bottom of the page or show us your support by clicking the "Applaud" button on the right side of the page! 



                                                      UPDATE VII

Indian Cultural Games - Indian Games Listing

Our 12 year olds at the Oakridge International School worked with Manya Cherabuddi to come up with a list of several culturally Indian games for kids. Manya then documented these games so that the LREI 5th Graders could play them! Check out the videos above! This exercise truly demonstrates the potential behind having an online platform to share games with a global community of young people. 


                                                         UPDATE VI 

Indian Students Game Playing Results & Feedback (12/12/2013)
View the PDF - Click Here
(instant download)

Our team member in Hyderabad, Manya Cherabuddi, was able to test run Play Portal games with 12 year olds at Oakridge International School and 6 year olds at The Future Kid's School. She also put together the amazing feedback document that you can download above. Great work Manya! We have been getting feedback on games from kids around the world and it is helping us get a better understanding of the viability of the portal. 

*Manya received school permission to publish appropriate photos and videos of the children for academic purposes. Please keep any content posted here within the OpenIDEO community. 



                                                        UPDATE V

LREI 5th Grader Game Playing Results & Feedback (12/11/2013)
View the PDF - Click Here 
(instant download)

Our LREI 5th Graders ended up playing six games made up by various members of the OpenIDEO community. Watch the videos above and below, and then check out the detailed feedback results that have been put together by the wonderful Molly Schmidt. We learned a lot about what aspects of games worked, and what didn't. We definitely had a handful of rule breakers! Special thanks to Mark Silberberg for coordinating the Play Session and gathering all the raw video and feedback. 

Check out the Raw Footage & Hear the Kids Answer Questions

*LREI School has blanket permission to publish appropriate photos and videos of the children for academic purposes. Please keep any content posted here within the OpenIDEO community. 


                                                        UPDATE IV

15 Page PDF of Website Mock-Ups (12/02/2013)


View the PDF - Click Here (it is a BIG file, but worth the Download!)

Our incredible designer Elly Taura ( has just finished the final edits on some outstanding website mock-ups that were imagined together in a collaborative team effort. Special shout out to Molly Schmidt for preparing the sketches for the site and working so hard! 

Special Thanks to the following Community Members for Game Inspiration!
Jeff Nagata, Michelle M, Mrinalini Ruban, Christie Wong, Richard Chapman, Yis Sel, Alice Kim, Daniel Martinez Da Cruz, Jonathan Calvert, Naveen Balachandran, Meena Kadri, Sonja Heinen, Andrei Valins, Jen Curtis (sorry if we missed anyone!)


                                                          UPDATE III

5th Grader Survey Results (11/27/2013)
View the PDF - Click HERE

We asked our LREI 5th Graders a few questions that have been buzzing around in the comment section, and really couldn't have been answered by anyone other than a kid. We have given a lot of thought to our idea based on their responses, but before we share them in our post, we want you to have a chance to draw your own conclusions! Check out the Results and share your thoughts in the comment section below!


                                                           UPDATE II

Meet the 5th Graders! (11/25/2013)

"We work and learn together at the Little Red School House & Elisabeth Irwin High School ( in New York City. We are a learning community firmly rooted in the tradition of progressive educations (our founder Elisabeth Irwin was a colleague and friend of John Dewey). We are committed to engaging kids in authentic and meaningful inquiry founded in direct experience and purpose."

-Mark Silberberg, Middle School Principal, L R E I

Right now these amazing kids are on the frontlines figuring out what sort of games they want to play and what skills they want to learn. The week after Thanksgiving our team will be compiling their ideas as well as ideas from the OpenIDEO community in order to prototype games with the class. They will be playing games at home, with their friends, with their parents, and in the classroom. Their user feedback will be invaluable in developing this concept further. We are looking forward to seeing how creative they can be when it comes to "Breaking the Rules!"

Check out their OpenIDEO profile here: LREI 5th Graders


The Play Portal
Online Platform Structuring Creative Learning Opportunities through Games


A community that strays from thinking of games as a means for accomplishing our educational goals, to education as a means for accomplishing the goals of children. They know what they want to do, the Play Portal will help them get there in a fun way.

Targeted towards children ages 5-13, with parent involvement. Children will sign up with parents' email to receive the following welcome:

Dear Gamer,

Welcome to the Play Portal! We hope you are ready to play some games with us and all our friends! But more importantly, we hope you will teach us some new ways to play! We have lots of fun games that you can play on your own, with friends and classmates, or with Mom and Dad. Mom and Dad are fun, but sometimes they don’t know the best way to play, so it’s up to you to show them how! What are you waiting for? Jump on in and play your first game today!

Let the Games Begin!


How it Works

We have a whole collection of games in our library made up by kids just like you! When you click on a game you like, you will be taken to a page with some straight forward instructions for playing the game. There will be a column of postings from other gamers with alternative instructions, videos, and pictures of how they played the game. You can choose to learn and have fun by playing the way someone else did, or you can choose to “Break the Rules” and make your own version of the game and share it with us! Each game’s page will also feature three videos:


1) The Launching Pad Video: demonstrates the basic instructions needed to play the game, and explains any difficult aspects in depth


2) The Science Video: offers details of the science and art involved in the game to get a better understanding of how things work the way they do. Informed playing is always the best kind after all!


3) The Expert Video: spotlights a professional in the real world that uses similar principles learned in the game every day in their career! They share their inspirations and 'A Day in the Life'.


Examples of Games


1) The Neighborhood Treasure Hunt (game with friends)

Draw a map depicting your favorite spots in the neighborhood: the neighbor’s house with their funny hats, the bush with the crazy squirrels, the tree house in the yard, etc. Use your map to set up a treasure hunt for a friend or family member! Can they tell what your drawings represent?


Break the Rules: How creative can you get with your drawings? What kind of prizes will there be in your treasure hunt? Will there be any surprises?


Science Video: Using a compass to navigate, cartography lessons, tips on how to draw, history of maps and evolution to GPS


Expert Video: Dr. Heath Robinson, Professor of Geography who uses Adobe Illustrator as a tool to design maps shares his work


2) Kite Flying (solo game, or game with Mom & Dad)

Lets design, build, and fly a kite!


Break the Rules: What are some unique materials you can use? Any unique structural designs? Fun patterns or art to decorate the kite?


Science Video: How wind works, science of flight, design basics


Expert Video: Mathew Belcher, Australian Gold Medalist in Sailing discusses wind dynamics involved in his sport



3) Mr. Monopoly (Mom & Dad game)

If the tiny bald-headed monopoly guy can come up with a funboard game, so can you! Use cardboard, markers, ppt, and other tools to createa board game for the whole family to enjoy!


Break the Rules: What are some unique ways you can design a game, or some unique materials to use in making it?


Science Video: History of board games, printing game tokens, basic psychology behind bluffing,etc.


Expert Video: Franckh-Kosmos Verlag – Creator of Settlers of Catan describes his design process


Other Platform Details

- Multiple Intelligence Badges. Upon completion of games, the players will be rewarded badges that branch into development pathways based on the types of games they prefer (craft vs. strategic vs. athletic). This will help parents become sensitive to multiple intelligences and what their child’s interests and needs are. Different types of gamers will be invited to particular contests and challenges and perhaps invited to live in person sessions with each other as well

- Be Nice Policy. Platform admins and parents monitor comments and feedback on games. Getting parents to discuss online social interaction is important in shaping the child’s sensitivity to their digital citizenship

- Mentorship Model. When kids choose to recreate the 'games' of other kids, they will have the opportunity to converse online with the original player so that player can then serve as a mentor to share their ideas with new gamers. This will offer the original player a sense of accomplishment and leadership, and offer needed guidance for the new players. Hopefully this will develop meaningful online friendships. 

- Graduation. Once they get too old for the childlike feel of the platform kids can ‘graduate’ into a similar but more adult-focused platform. For example the kids who played all crafty games may go to, the kid who played all artistic games might be directed, or the kid who likes the food-related games may graduate into The Play Portal platform is a great launching pad in and of itself for helping young kids get a better understanding of where their true creative passions lie, and then providing resources for taking a deeper dive into any one area. 


Theory Behind the Concept

The Play Portal creates a modified ‘Third Space’ (Oldenburg) for kids outside of school and home. This is a space that offers a unique social identity for the child in which they can comfortably pursue creative exploration in a community of their own. In the portal the kid is in charge, the parents are along for the fun, but their primary role is to offer support when needed – parenting from a partnership perspective. It is essential that the creative control be in the hands of the child – while parents often poke and prod, creative confidence must be discovered individually.


A lot of the ‘games’ will be craft projects, academic topics, or difficult concepts that have been re-packaged in a fun way. By packaging these often less-approachable topics into games, kids are going to better absorb information because they are having fun while engaging their minds and bodies. As the kids tackle more and more games, each successive success will boost their confidence in themselves. They will hopefully begin to develop a level of self-efficacy, the sense that you can change the world and do what you set out to do. 

Renowned researcher James Paul Gee argues that we need to introduce level design into school curriculum, similar to how videogames are structured. The Play Portal plays into this argument by offering the players the chance to start with easy games, and work their way up towards more difficult games of their choosing. 

The Expert Video in the Game Page will give stubborn parents a glimpse into how creative activities can help develop skills and unique talents that can build towards a rewarding and successful career. Kids will be encouraged to learn from each other by copying others games; but most important will be the 'Break the Rules' aspect where they are challenged to think beyond the conventions of what they are told a game should be... and think about how a game could be when they stretch their imaginations. 


Technological Feasibility

I have spoken with several of my friends who are designers and engineers, and after explaining all of the intended functionalities of the site none of them have seemed concerned about the implementation. In fact the majority of the needed features are already functional on the OpenIDEO Beta site we are on now. Adarsh Ramakrishnan, founder of Elegant Solutions Design said, "From a technical feasibility standpoint it's not very difficult, as you are venturing into very well understood territory. Also, it seems that these games are more interactive web documents that lay out guidelines for HOW to play a game in real life (as opposed to on the computer), which makes this even easier."



Platform could be funded in various ways (listed in order of most likely): 

1) Educational institutions (private schools and public schools) pay a license fee to use the platform for their districts. Today companies like Dreambox and RazKids license their online math and reading platforms to schools for annual fees. In today's economy, it can be argued that creativity is an equivalent asset to core skills like math and reading, and from interviewing several teachers we believe that school districts would be interested in adopting a platform to that end. The platform would have to be slightly modified from its original form to encourage games with teachers and students, and within classrooms. The best option may also be a freemium model where we offer it for free to school systems in order to scale the number of users, and then if kids want to take the portal home with them or access premium content they will have to ask their parents to pay a small monthly/annual subscription fee. 


2) Parents could pay a small monthly or annual subscription fee for the model. This would certainly work, but I am concerned that the number of parents in the world that would pay for a creativity platform is small. Not enough parents are actively engaged in their children's development. A better option may be a hybrid model between a public platform for individuals, and an organizational platform for grade schools to use in the classrooms. That way kids could also take the platform home with them after school and play games with their parents as well.

3) The platform could be funded by corporate sponsors for individual games. For example, LEGO could sponsor the 'Movie Director' game where kids make Lego still-shot movies. Or HASBRO could sponsor the 'Make Your own Boardgame' game. This could work, but I fear that big companies might influence the direction of the kids' imaginations towards existing products. The whole idea behind the platform is to encourage kids to get out of the box and break the rules. 

*New* Refinement question: What will the future look like with your idea in it?
A fully implemented Play Portal will be a unique creative learning space for kids, by kids. With the Play Portal, kids will have a safe space to create, imagine, and demonstrate their creative repertoire to the world. Kids won't be afraid to fail at a creative challenge, because it's just a game! Through playing, kids will learn about themselves through a unique multiple intelligence pathway and badge system that helps visualize their interests. Over the years they will develop a unique creative and digital identity on the platform. The platform will encourage responsible digital citizenship, which is something that is rare with young kids today. With the science videos, kids will be learning while playing - and the expert videos will reinforce both kids and parents' confidence in creative activities. On top of everything, with the platform's global reach kids will learn about other kids and cultures by playing games imagined from all over the world. There is a social element here that has not yet been fully explored.
In this challenge, we want to create ideas with young people, not for them. Outline how you’re planning to involve young people or other end-users (parents, teachers, etc) in designing, iterating or testing your idea during the Ideas phase.
The great thing about this platform is that it is kids building off of each others' creativity. It is a platform of creativity fueled games made for kids, by kids. While parent involvement is important for the development of creative confidence, having involved and supportive parents is often a luxury, which is why it is important that this platform be online and have opportunities for kids to engage with it on their own (solo projects) in case their parents are disinclined. User involvement in creating games is the life-blood of the entire platform.
How might you envision your idea spreading across geographies or cultures so that it inspires young people around the world to cultivate their creative confidence?
The platform will be online and localized to at least 13 core languages. If we can make the platform global, it will become accessible to millions of kids that don't have access to traditional creative resources. By sharing ideas for games across cultures, the Play Portal community of young gamers will learn a lot about the many faces of the world. Through our trial runs we have seen that the kids are enthusiastic about playing games made by kids from foreign cultures! If we can get kids in Sweden, America and India playing each others' games in just a month, imagine what we can do in a year!



Join the conversation and post a comment.

Melchior Tamisier-Fayard

March 29, 2014, 21:08PM
Hey Christopher,
I am a high school student in New York, and I've posted an idea on the current women's safety challenge :
After reading your idea, and reading what you have been doing at your school, I wanted to ask you whether you would want to get some of you students engaged in the conversation I'm trying to start on my blog
If you are interested, I would like to invite you onto the blog as an author so your students could post some content.

Melchior Tamisier-Fayard

March 29, 2014, 21:08PM
Hey Christopher,
I am a high school student in New York, and I've posted an idea on the current women's safety challenge :
After reading your idea, and reading what you have been doing at your school, I wanted to ask you whether you would want to get some of you students engaged in the conversation I'm trying to start on my blog
If you are interested, I would like to invite you onto the blog as an author so your students could post some content.

Mandy Pichler

December 18, 2013, 16:58PM
Congratulations! Let me know if you need any help whatsoever moving forward - and I will contact you after the holidays but feel free to contact me if you need me before then.

Congratulations, again!

Christie Wong

December 18, 2013, 04:37AM
Congrats! Keep up the good work and I'm excited to see where this project will go! :)

Bettina Fliegel

December 18, 2013, 01:43AM
Congratulations and good luck getting the project out into the world of children! Bettina

Hao Dinh

December 17, 2013, 22:59PM
Christopher, congrats on being selected as one of the winning ideas. Play Portal rocks!

belen rodriguez lorente

December 16, 2013, 16:14PM
The report card aspect of the project is very interesting, I really like the idea of introducing self reporting to the children. And I think this idea could work.
great visuals, they do the concept more engaging.

Jeff Nagata

December 16, 2013, 08:50AM
This is amazing! I finally had a chance to look at all the videos of children engaging with the Play Portal activities - it's really cool to see your ideas come to life. I really think the possibilities with this idea is as limitless as the creativity of kids.

I love the idea of cross-cultural game sharing. It's an entire new way for people to learn about each other's culture, using creativity and imagination as a common foundation. This is really awesome.
Congratulations guys! I'm really excited to see this idea take off.

Bettina Fliegel

December 15, 2013, 16:03PM
Hi Chris. This idea is great. I really like it because the technology is used as a vehicle to introduce games but the games are actually being played offline and children interact with one another or their families. In the funding section above you remark that you do not believe that subscriptions to parents would work because not enough parents in the world are actively engaged in their children's development. You then go on to describe the hybrid model. The hybrid model is a terrific idea because the kids will get the opportunity to engage at home and at school. Every parent wants their child to be emotionally well, to thrive and to learn. I am unclear why you don't believe that they are engaged in their child's development. Perhaps the answer for your product as regards funding and parental buy in is to get endorsements from leaders in the fields of education, child development and pediatrics. Put endorsement labels on the product. Parents in communities that do have internet are actively engaged in blogging and they spread the word about products and services in this way. They read parenting blogs and magazine websites. They ask each other, their kids' doctors, and teachers for recommendations on products that will enhance their child's well being. They also, and this might be one of the biggest factors, are influenced by pressure from their children to buy them things. Parents are the ones who pay for all of the video games the kids ask for. So if the kids love this product and ask for it I I believe parents will buy it. If it is endorsed by a professional body committed to the health and well being of children even better! There was a huge market for Baby Einstein DVDs because parents thought it would make their babies smarter and enhance their development. The claims were unfounded. Parents want great products for their kids. They want to be engaged but are sometimes misguided. Marketing and endorsements might be the best way to get this great product into the homes of the kids so they can use and enjoy it!

Mandy Pichler

December 10, 2013, 16:17PM
Hi Christopher,

Congrats on the fantastic submission!

I just wanted to let you know that I created a document, which could be called Volume I, regarding grants. I've been having a difficult time posting it/uploading the google doc but I do have a link on my profile page for: "Grant Writing - Advice from the Trenches".

You should be able to access the link on my profile though I believe it brings you to my google drive. . .but it's there for you to peruse!. Hopefully, it will help you secure some funding for your awesome program!


Mandy Pichler

December 10, 2013, 20:54PM
New link to the "Grant Writing - Advice from the Trenches" document! This one should work, fingers crossed:
Molly's profile photo

Molly Schmidt

December 11, 2013, 17:51PM
Thanks Mandy! Your insights could be really helpful for what we are planning as an extension of this project. I love the collaboration!


Mandy Pichler

December 11, 2013, 20:43PM
Hi Molly, I'd love to be of any assistance I can. 'Collaboration' is my middle name!
Christopher's profile photo

Christopher Rannefors

December 14, 2013, 04:29AM

This is a great document! As our idea builds I would love to chat with you. What is the best way to get in touch? Maybe shoot me an email at

By the way, you seem to be an expert in grant writing and should definitely build a course on Udemy. We have an audience of over 1.5 Million users and I am sure a lot of them would be interested in your expertise. Let me know if you are interested.

Mandy Pichler

December 15, 2013, 21:25PM
Hi Christopher! Armfuls of gratitude and thanks for the kind words. I will definitely contact you via email, and check out Udemy. I don't consider myself an expert Grant Writer; writing grants only comprises over a year of my 20+ year writing career - but I did learn a lot during those 14 or so months I worked in non-profit.

Congrats again on your huge achievement: Play Portal. I would be honored to help in any way I can to bring it to fruition.

Carlos Cardenas

December 10, 2013, 12:29PM
I really enjoyed looking through the mockup- and so did my nephews! After presenting them with the idea, they said that they would be return users if they could broadcast their badge/score to their friends by means of social media sites, blogs or within the classroom. I liked this idea so much I forwarded it to a close friend whom recently got into teaching! Can't wait to see what comes of this.
Molly's profile photo

Molly Schmidt

December 11, 2013, 18:00PM
Wow Carlos! Thank you for the kind words ~ I hope your friends finds our games and concept useful. These games could easily be played, but I think the difference between our concept and a regular game is a mindset. That the best way to play is whatever you can imagine.

I looked through your comfort zone concept and I really like the idea of a year long creative challenge. It promotes relationship building and challenges the student in a supportive environment to achieve his or her goal. I think there is a lot that could be done with this idea. I'd like to see how it can be further developed to strengthen the creative confidence aspect. Will there be milestones? Who approves their creative challenge? How will students accomplish these tasks? How involved are the parents / teachers/ classmates in this concept? I know OpenIdeo's challenge is almost to a close, but that doesn't mean we have to stop concepting! I hope you keep up with this idea!

Thanks again for your feedback - I really like your suggestion for broadcasting the badge - it turns it into a badge of honor of sorts.

Kağan Rüstem

December 09, 2013, 13:48PM
The website mock up looks great. Big congratulations on that firstly and I really like the "making stuff out of junk" part of your project.

The report card aspect of the project is also very interesting, I like the idea of introducing self reporting to the children.
Molly's profile photo

Molly Schmidt

December 11, 2013, 18:03PM
I think self-reporting can work if it is introduced in the right way. Do you have any suggestions for how to frame this with in our concept?
LREI's profile photo

LREI 5th Graders

December 09, 2013, 02:02AM

Our students had great fun playing a subset of the games last week. Most of the games felt more than appropriate for a school setting. That said, having 40 kids playing upwards of 10 games in two rooms generated a fair amount of productive buzz and some mess. So that requires a school culture that can see the learning value in an activity like this and kids who are more than happy to clean up at the end. Luckily, both of those were true for us.

With smaller numbers, things would be quite manageable. I could see a teacher folding many of the games into a subject-specific class by "breaking the rules" to help the game reinforce a skill or area of content that the group is exploring (e.g., all of the skits need to be about gravity).

I could also see using the Play Portal in our advisory program, which could connect playing to goal setting and helping students to play around in areas that they want to strengthen. Our kids maintain digital portfolios (edublogs via wordpress) so it would be great if there was any easy way to embed progress/badges from Play Portal into their blogs. Playing the games in advisory would also be a way to help group members to connect with each other.

So lots of potential here!


Meena Kadri

December 09, 2013, 04:26AM
Awesome feedback, Mark! Any insights on which are the most popular games and which you felt generated the most creative confidence? Were there some that appealed more to kids who were already quite confident and others that had more traction for less confident kids? Any chance you might be able to collect some quotes from a few children involved so we can get a sense of what resonated with them, in their own words? We're excited to get a feel for how things went from their perspective too.
LREI's profile photo

LREI 5th Graders

December 09, 2013, 04:35AM
Christopher will be posting some comments and video of our session soon. In the context of our session (lots going on in a small space), the more free form games went better (e.g., acting out a scene, making something from trash, etc.). The ones that were a bit more structured were a bit harder. However, I think that if those games had been played without so much going on, their players would have had an easier time. So context can really matter for creative expression.

Meena Kadri

December 09, 2013, 05:02AM
Great insights, Mark. Looking forward to Chris's updates from the kids too!

Meena Kadri

December 10, 2013, 22:10PM
OMG! I just watched the video. I cried.

Given our goal at OpenIDEO is to create social impact – it's heartening when this happens in some way within our challenge timeline itself – especially through the combined efforts of our community.

Now that I've re-composed myself ;^) – a suggestion if you're planning to take things forward might be to survey the class and elicit reflective feedback to the depth you got in your earlier (awesome) survey. Could be especially good insights towards iteration from feedback of less confident kids to think about how they might be engaged further. Exciting opportunities...

Meena Kadri

December 10, 2013, 23:25PM
Nice one!

Vishal Jodhani

December 09, 2013, 00:19AM
This is absolutely fab! Really digging the website mock-ups and the overall design. The level of detail (be kind policy!) and user interact are absolutely inspiring!

I've even included your concept as a resource on the mock-up I've been working on:

PS - I'd love to borrow your phenomenal designer ;-)
Cecilia's profile photo

Cecilia Rannefors

December 09, 2013, 01:50AM
Agreed Vishal! The mock-ups are stunning :)
Christopher's profile photo

Christopher Rannefors

December 14, 2013, 04:37AM
Vishal, thanks for adding us as a resource to the mock-up, It looks great! Thank you for the positive feedback, there is definitely a possibility for collaboration between our two ideas.

Hao Dinh

December 05, 2013, 04:28AM
Christopher, check it out, your concept is highlighted in this week's Field Note.
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Christopher Rannefors

December 09, 2013, 00:41AM
Thanks Hao! You are proving to be a most excellent Challenge Champion!

Meena Kadri

December 03, 2013, 21:17PM
While I'm waiting for the PDF to download, I'm loving checking out your plans for the rest of the week. Great job on creating excitement in your upcoming strides to engage potential end users – and we're loving the notion of tapping into diversity via the Indian dance class.
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Christopher Rannefors

December 04, 2013, 00:12AM
Were you able to download it successfully? I wasn't able to make the file any smaller and I want to make sure it is accessible to the community.

Meena Kadri

December 04, 2013, 03:03AM
Yep – all downloaded. Took a while but was worth the wait!
Christopher's profile photo

Christopher Rannefors

December 09, 2013, 00:42AM
I am going to see what I can do about getting the images into a Wix template to avoid the download
Cecilia's profile photo

Cecilia Rannefors

December 09, 2013, 02:04AM
For the home page I would consider adding small images for the options, such as trees for 'outdoor' or a picture of friends holding hands for the 'friends' option, etc....visuals are key for our younger learners!!!

Anne-Laure Fayard

December 02, 2013, 03:03AM

I just saw Molly's comment on my multiple intelligence inspiration. I like the way you are trying to use the portal as a way for kids, but maybe more importantly for parents, and possibly teachers, to become aware of their preferences. I believe it might be particularly important for kids who might not be great abstract thinkers (what is shaping most schools' teaching style and evaluation forms.

 I like the idea of the badge or maybe a profile where you have some color codes - like the image I used - or similar to the design quotient.

The only thing you might want to be careful of is the use "intelligence". Gardner uses it in a specific sense but it might be misinterpreted, in particular by children. Maybe styles or preferences could work better.

Also reading your post, I though of Quest I'm sure you know of them, esp. as you're in NY.
It might be worth contacting the Institute of Play:

It also reminded me an idea aiming to address multiple intelligences in the classroom:

From what I read, you might probably trying to do a lot of this in your classrooms. I can see your idea of the portal being a great complement.

Good luck and looking forward to reading about the prototyping and testing.

PS: I'll try to have a look at the survey and comments.
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Christopher Rannefors

December 09, 2013, 00:50AM
Hi Anne,

Thank you for the thoughtful and constructive comments! We took some of your ideas to heart as we constructed the Profile and Badge page for the mock-ups. Have you had the chance to download the pdf yet? If not, please do and let us know what you think about how we have envisioned the V.1.0 of the multiple intelligence badge system working. We could really use your feedback on it, because I definitely think there is a lot of room for improvement. We are picturing an intricate system of badges and pathways that can be built for any creative direction the the child chooses pursue based on their natural game preferences.

We will definitely be taking a look at the different resources and organizations you have shared. Thank you for connecting the dots!

Michelle M.

November 29, 2013, 08:34AM
Christopher, I like the combination of using technology to stimulate off-line play and the inclusionary role that you are giving to the parents, as coaches. I've uploaded a story telling game to the Library. It's a combination of an art work project and a game. It's simple and it can be as fun and free-wheeling as the people playing it want to make it. Looking forward to seeing how the 5th graders respond to the website, in general. Their comments were very interesting!
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Christopher Rannefors

November 30, 2013, 22:24PM
Thanks Michelle!

Get excited to see your idea come to life soon, I will be pulling it into our sample game template tomorrow. If there are any specific visuals you would like me to use for the cover picture, let me know!

Michelle M.

December 01, 2013, 01:18AM
No specific visuals. But I did upload another game. It's a variation on my Bebop 4 Babies idea but modified for older kids. Looking forward to seeing see how they react to it!
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Christopher Rannefors

December 09, 2013, 00:40AM
Michelle! I think our LREI 5th Graders had the chance to play both of your games, and they had a lot of fun! I received some raw video footage a little bit ago, and will be editing it down so you can see for yourself soon. Keep checking in, and thanks for the great ideas!

Hao Dinh

November 29, 2013, 07:06AM
Christopher, I plan to provide another Field Note update on all the Refinement ideas by Sunday (Dec 1). Let me know by Saturday 6 pm EST USA if there is anything you want me to highlight to help progress your concept. Any prototypes completed, any assistance needed, any breakthroughs or anything you want to highlight. You can provide me video or text. I will consolidate. Thanks in advance.
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Christopher Rannefors

November 30, 2013, 22:21PM

We will be releasing and sharing a lot of exciting developments Sunday night, you can share this:

" Hello from The Play Portal Team! By Sunday (12/1) evening we will be releasing our beautifully crafted V2.0 of our website mock-ups made by the fantastic Elly Taura, a talented designer studying at the VCU Brandcenter in Richmond.

On Monday we will be sharing a collection of playable games that we would like to encourage all of you to adopt and test with young kids that you know! If you prototype the games and send us pics/video/feedback we will be compiling them all and sharing them with the community towards the end of the week. On Thursday we will be running games with the LREI 5th graders and a group of young girls in India.

As always, please continue to comment and refine the idea with us in the comments section, we look forward to hearing from you!"

Hao Dinh

November 30, 2013, 22:28PM
Awesome thxs Christopher!

Meena Kadri

November 28, 2013, 20:11PM
Fascinating stuff in the survey – way to go, LREI 5th graders! We're looking forward to seeing what this inspires for this concept and think it also contains insights which could be valuable for many of our shortlisters. (and as we've encouraged everyone in our OpenIDEO community throughout – reach out locally for insights across this challenge too. OpenIDEO collaborators have an amazing global reach and the potential to collect information from people in various locations and from a range of socio-economic backgrounds. Let's design for diversity and explore widely, together :^)

Richard Chapman

November 27, 2013, 20:34PM
Hi Christopher,

Thanks again for commenting on my concept. Sorry for the delay.
I think Play Portal is a great idea for a website, it taps into a niche area where a sense of online digital game play and actual/ physical creative activity combine to make something that could really boost creativity in young people. I think video games often have an adverse effect on the creativity of young people so it's interesting how this idea turns that theory on it's head, and encourages the harmonious partnership of creativity and games/ social media, rather than aiming to compete against the other.

I also like the 'Mentorship Model' feature, and how it can give a young person a sense of leadership, and therefore a boost in confidence. I think there's a lot of potential for online collaboration and developing friendships through creativity.

In terms of a game relating to my original idea. I'm going to guess you're referring to my teams 'Build a fort' challenge. This involved offering a massive supply of cardboard boxes to anyone that wanted to get involved in the atrium at my University.

We challenged people to:

- Build what you want (Be creative!)
- Build the tallest tower you can within 60 seconds!
- Build a bridge/ arch connecting two objects
- Build a fort around a given object/ obstacle

People had the most fun when building their own fort. Some made very symmetrical, colorful and beautiful creations using the resources they had, and some people were big, bold and wild with their creations.

Cardboard is very easily accessible and free so it's great to encourage children to create with it. I think you could make a great game out of this sort of activity, so I'm eager to see how you progress.

Do you have any ideas for a game? or can you think of any way to build on the challenges above?

Keep me posted, I hope I can help

Richard Chapman

November 27, 2013, 20:41PM
I'll add you to my virtual team as well, we both have quite similar directions with our ideas
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Molly Schmidt

November 27, 2013, 20:51PM
Richard, you can definitely help!

This is a link to our google doc, please post your idea here:

You could give your game a title and make it into a game with different rounds and challenges.

Round 1- Build what you want (Be creative!)
Round 2- Build the tallest tower you can within 60 seconds!
Round 3- Build a bridge/ arch connecting two objects
Round 4 -Build a fort around a given object/ obstacle

The game doesn't have to have a lot of structured rules, just list some guidelines and give some suggestions for creativity.

As for a science video - anything that has to do with architecture or construction, maybe how to build a bridge, etc.

For the expert video - maybe find someone who builds for Habitat for Humanity, engineer, someone who built a famous building or bridge, etc.

I love your idea and I'm sure our 5th graders would love to test it out!!

Meena Kadri

November 27, 2013, 22:38PM
Sounds awesome, Molly. And here's a #ProTip: Update your OpenIDEO profile so folks can dig who they're collaborating with. Think skills, experience, passions & wit!
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Christopher Rannefors

November 29, 2013, 18:55PM

Thanks for getting involved, and for all of the positive feedback! Definitely post your game in the google docs that Molly provided!

I actually disagree with you belief that videogames often have an adverse effect on creativity, especially after taking this course on Coursera called Videogames and Learning: If you are interested, check out some of the video lectures, really fascinating work

I love your phrasing of "harmonious partnership of creativity and games/ social media, rather than aiming to compete against the other." I will definitely be including that wording somewhere.

Email me at if you want to get more involved in the background planning for the final (and most important) week coming up

Hao Dinh

November 26, 2013, 06:54AM
Christopher, I did a prototype of the Electronster idea. During the process, I was thinking it would be a good idea to have a template / guideline that quickly lets people know how to prototype an idea. I've uploaded the template/guideline I used for the Electronster idea (very simple). Thought is people can download the guideline (which tells them what/how to prototype your idea) and prototype. Hopefully helpful.

Guideline I used:

Guideline Template others can use:
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Molly Schmidt

November 26, 2013, 07:32AM

I like it! Simple and easy to understand. Check out our template and let us know what you think.

Is it easy to understand? What do you think about the Rush Option? Are there any details we are forgetting?

We turned our template into a google doc to make it easier for people to add their ideas. Is the link easy to find on our page?

Thanks for all your feedback - as always it is very helpful!

Meena Kadri

December 02, 2013, 21:59PM
And we were super excited to see this clip on how Hao's simple prototype went with his nephew: It's great to see how trying things out with real people, even a small part of a large idea, can lead to deep insights which can help grow the idea further. And how anyone in our community might get involved from their local context and contribute to our global challenge. Nice one!

John Carlisle

November 25, 2013, 21:21PM

I feel that your idea is great and would be beneficial. Mentoring is important in today's education. The problem is that not enough people value mentoring as it is difficult to effectively administer. Your idea of having students mentor other students is fabulous and will create meaningful learning experiences as mentoring happens among students. I think mentors can be anyone who has a concern and an ability to work as a sounding board to others.

Sonja Heinen

November 25, 2013, 20:10PM
Hi Christopher,
thanks for your note on Home Sessions and congratulations back! High five!

Pls feel free to use "Don't do your homework – sing, dance or bake it!" in any way. You seem to be quite ahead of me in terms of prototyping and testing. Im curious to see the results and will make sure to share my insights here (if I get any that is).

In terms of feedback, I only have encouragement today. You have a clear vision, go ahead :)
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Christopher Rannefors

November 26, 2013, 06:45AM
Thanks Sonja! I will add the idea to our list!

Hao Dinh

November 25, 2013, 19:49PM
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Christopher Rannefors

November 26, 2013, 06:38AM
Hao, Thanks for being such a fantastic community champion! Keep it up!

Ashley Jablow

November 25, 2013, 17:51PM
Loving this video update! Can't wait to hear how the testing goes over the next couple of weeks.
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Christopher Rannefors

November 26, 2013, 05:56AM
Thanks Ashley! We would love to get a game idea from you!

Luisa Covaria

November 25, 2013, 16:17PM
Christopher & Molly,
It's so exciting to see how much collaboration you are sparking amongst the community. It's wonderful to see the new collaboration with LREI 5th graders. Now you have a great user group that is already excited about the idea.

What I like best about your idea is that it can be done without any technology. Of course, an online portal makes it more accessible to a greater number of users. However, the simplicity of the idea is what it's going to make it very appealing to children. Kids are used to playing games and modifying rules, is a familiar concept to them and they will adapt and readapt it immediately. I am so impressed with where you have gotten. You already have a designer on board and users globally. WOW.

My 2 cents: before you get too deep in creating the online platform, PAPER PROTOTYPE this idea. Print the games, the rules, and allow students to break the rules and play the games without having them play on the computer. You are going to learn so much and save a lot of time designing elements in the interface that you might find out are not as necessary as you think. It's easy to get carried away by the excitement of design, but keep development and design to the minimum until youPAPER PROTOTYPE with a few group of kids. I can't wait to see images of your user testing.
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Molly Schmidt

November 25, 2013, 22:51PM
Hi Luisa!

Thanks for the reminder, your suggestion is really helpful for our development phase. If you look below in the conversation I had with Jeff, we talked about accessibility. This might be a better alternative for kids who don't have access to computers.

Thanks for your feedback, lets keep the conversation going!

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Christopher Rannefors

November 26, 2013, 06:54AM

Thanks for the positive feedback! I totally agree with the lo-tech prototyping. Given our timeline this may end up being what happens. This is OK because it tests out the games and "break the rules" features which are the heart and soul of the concept. BUT for this concept to get truly vetted, there are two features of the online platform that I wish could be evaluated:

1) Are young kids able and willing to interact in an online social community?

My initial thoughts on this working with the LREI 5th graders online and on a shared google-doc is that young kids are more tech-savvy than I could ever have imagined. Maybe Mark and the 5th graders can elaborate on this point.

2) Will the "Science" and "Expert" videos have a significant impact on the kids' learning outcomes and confidence after having played the games?

If I have time I am going to try and import our library of content into a website building template using the backdrop images our designer Elly will be putting together.

Luisa Covaria

November 26, 2013, 11:24AM
Christopher and Molly,
Can't wait to see what happens next week.
My insights to the point you bring up:

1) You can research how kids interact in social networks without necessarily building one. Nathan Maton's suggestions on using Scratch ( or Whyville ( are great. Using this existing platforms you can gauge attention span and engagement level.

2) The Science and Expert videos are really nice additions. But it seems like they can be added in a second iteration, once you have the most important features tested. From experience, when you try to do too many amazing things it's harder to focus. But if you think it's vital to the platform maybe find existing expert and science videos that adapt to your game and see if kids actually want to watch them and find out what they take away from them.
So excited for this idea to be used with 5th graders.
Also, nice job on the game sample template.
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Cecilia Rannefors

November 27, 2013, 19:01PM
@Chris younger kids, at least as young as first grade, should be able to interact in an online community-the technology piece should not be a problem for them as long as it is clear with smart visuals and easy 'rules'....the students I work with pick up on a new game/new level incredibly fast and know more about navigating the internet than the teachers! However, we do need to remember that this accessibility, and therefore ease of use, will most likely vary depending on their socioeconomic background.

Jonathan Calvert

November 25, 2013, 07:16AM
Hi Christopher

Thank you for asking me to join your group, I would love to be a part of your team and help out.

I look forward to hearing back from you soon with instructions on how I can assist.
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Christopher Rannefors

November 26, 2013, 05:58AM
Jonathan! It would be awesome if you could help with curating game concepts in google doc to start! What other ideas do you have for how we can develop the concept further based on our current gameplan? Feel free to comment here or email me your ideas at
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LREI 5th Graders

November 25, 2013, 04:38AM

Thanks so much for asking our group to join your team. Our students have been excited and engaged by this challenge from day one. At the same time, they were a little disappointed that none of their concepts made the shortlist. That disappointment disappeared when you reached out to us. In some ways, that was a more valuable lesson than having one of their concepts selected. They realized that through engagement and connection, ideas can lead to action though not always as one had intended.

We are looking forward to doing some brainstorming this week and playing some games next week as we work together to refine The Play Portal.

I thought that the following, which guide our daily work in our school might be of some inspiration in our work together:

Where authentic learning grows out of the complex interplay of curiosity and purpose, creativity and play, and the child’s innate drive to make sense of the world.

Our students learn from experience, and from the critical reflection,
practical application and creative transformation of experience into
authentic understanding and personal knowledge.

And from our founder Elisabeth Irwin:

“The complacent formalism of schools, its uncritical and therefore
uncreative spirit, must be replaced by an honest hospitality to
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Christopher Rannefors

November 25, 2013, 09:07AM
Mark & 5th Graders,

I am moved by your words and the valuable advice that you share. I believe that if we shape this platform to function as a space for complex interplay, we can build something pretty unique together. I am incredibly appreciative of the partnership we have formed, and while I am certain the kids will learn a lot of valuable lessons in the process, I know that I will be learning even more from them. The entire team is looking forward with much anticipation to see what creative ideas the kids come up with.

Warmest Regards,


Meena Kadri

November 26, 2013, 00:35AM
It's amazing the lessons that collaboration has to teach us, huh? We're so excited to hear the reflections of student's on getting involved in someone else's concept. We hope that other educators and students in our community will draw from this valuable lesson. And we're amped to see how this exciting collaboration plays out!
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Molly Schmidt

November 26, 2013, 03:50AM
I can't wait to see the kids testing out games and creating their own! Hopefully some of their ideas can be played in the classroom and make it to the final prototype of The Play Portal.

There are so many great collaborations going on! Thanks for the inspiring words. Your kids are lucky to have you and we are thrilled about our partnership!

Let the games begin...
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Molly Schmidt

November 25, 2013, 00:12AM
Hey guys, I'm so excited to be on the team! What a great idea, especially the part about "breaking the rules" who doesn't like breaking the rules every once and awhile?

My favorite feature is the Expert Video. What a great way to introduce kids, if not consciously, subconsciously, to ways they can turn their game world dreams into real-life passions and developed interests. Kids will actually be able to imagine themselves doing what their favorite experts do and gaining the confidence to dream big! I believe this is the key to winning over parents who doubt that creative exercises can help build their kid's educational aptitude.

As a former ESL teacher, one of my major concerns is accessibility. I would love to hear feedback about how we can reach the most kids, regardless of income level, language, or race. A big part of that is designing an interface that kids and parents won't be overwhelmed or scared to use. Any ideas for a simple user friendly interface as we begin to develop V.2.0 of the website interface? Any other designers want to join us? We are not currently married to any of the logos or themes, what do you think?

Another barrier could be accessibility to computers. Any ideas for how to get this platform to underserved public school systems? Some initial thoughts have been a pilot program funded through grants where a underfunded school would be donated the resources they need to dedicate anywhere from 1- 3 "Play Portal Classes" a week for a semester. At the end of the semester, we could gather feedback from students, parents, and of course the best beta testers we have - kids!

I would love to get some feedback- specifically about user friendly design and accessibility. Please introduce yourself and your ideas!

Daniel Martinez da Cruz

November 24, 2013, 21:38PM
hey there great idea! do you think we could colab a bit?

 heres my idea if youd like to take a look?
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Christopher Rannefors

November 25, 2013, 03:51AM
Hi Daniel, We just uploaded our sample game template! It would be great if you could download it and fill it in with the "5 Senses Game" so that we can try it out with our 5th graders after Thanksgiving! Thanks for your help!
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Molly Schmidt

November 26, 2013, 07:49AM
Hi Daniel! We just launched our Google Doc for game ideas, please post your "5 Senses Game " here ~

Jeff Nagata

November 24, 2013, 19:44PM
Awesome idea, Christopher! I think the game aspect of it creates a really fun atmosphere that would engage youth and make it easy for them to jump in without having to directly think about creativity, which could be intimidating for some kids.

I was wondering if it would be possible to attach this to something offline too? Would it be possible to create physical, analog version of the games? Maybe parents can organize a meetup, similar to the OpenIDEO meetups. It might open up more collaboration and interaction among youth while they play these games. This might be thinking too far ahead, but maybe the experts can also visit, or do something interactive through Skype?

Also, I would love to collaborate with you on turning the "making stuff out of junk" idea into a game that can be integrated with your idea! What did your team have in mind? I think the concept can be easily attached to a scientific topic, such as environmental science, like Bradley Filice said in the comments section.
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Molly Schmidt

November 25, 2013, 01:09AM
Jeff! I love your "Making stuff from Junk" game. This is definitely the type of game we want to test-run with our 5th graders next week. In a little while we will be posting a template that you can fill out and email back to us (Information / Instructions will be on the template).

If your game is chosen by our wonderful 5th grade beta testers, we will share feedback with you about your game and continue this awesome thread we have going.

As for developing an offline platform, I think this is a great suggestion for building a strong Play Portal Community. I think this would require strong parent involvement, so we would have to make it as easy as possible for parents. Maybe we could add a "Start your own meetup" button on the website. That way extremely involved parents could find each other.
What do you think about targeting parent groups, daycare centers, or even babysitters? This could be another possibility for reaching groups of kids and parents offline.

This definitely requires long-term thinking and we will keep it in mind as we develop our website interface 2.0! Thanks for contributing and please fill out our form! I would love to keep this conversation going, especially if our kids pick your game!
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Christopher Rannefors

November 25, 2013, 04:03AM
@Jeff - we just posted the template for sample game concepts, when you get a chance please fill it in so that we can add it to our library!

Molly check out Sonja's idea that is also on the shortlist, she has a somewhat similar model where she is setting up 'events' for parents to host for neighborhood kids. I wonder if we can incorporate a similar element as an option into the platform.

Jeff Nagata

November 25, 2013, 04:13AM
@Molly - I agree, I think the easier you can make it for the parents, the more engagement you would have. The Play Portal would be a great way to create a community online, where parents can easily find other parents in the local community. Combining it with a toolkit that shows concrete steps that parents can take during the meet-up would probably be a huge incentive.

I think targeting those groups would be a great idea! I'm sure they're always looking for more ways to engage youth.

@Christopher - I'll get on that tomorrow! Thanks for letting me know. Super excited about this project. It would be an amazing resource for so many parents and other youth-based groups.
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Christopher Rannefors

November 26, 2013, 05:56AM
Hi Jeff, we just launched our Google Doc for game ideas, please post your idea here:


Jeff Nagata

November 27, 2013, 05:29AM
I posted the game idea on your Google doc. Please let me know if there's anything else I should add, or if you have any questions! I'm excited to see how this turns out with the kids!
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Cecilia Rannefors

November 27, 2013, 18:54PM
The game idea looks wonderful...Including themes is a great way to give direction without constraining a child's imagination!!! I can already picture what they would be able to come up with using a variety of materials. I would suggest adding in an optional presentation piece at the end where the kids can ask questions or offer ideas to one another. This would bring in speaking skills and even writing if they were asked to write up information about their creation.

Jeff Nagata

November 27, 2013, 18:55PM
That's a great idea, Cecilia! I went to the Space & Science museum in my local area, and one cool thing I saw was that they allowed youth to create a prototype invention that would help stop global climate change.

They also gave each kid a "report card" that they can use to express their ideas behind the invention, how they envision it being used, and any other thoughts. I think something similar would be great to attach a communication aspect, on top of making.

I'll add it to the Google doc right now!
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Cecilia Rannefors

November 27, 2013, 19:06PM
@Jeff, this would also be fun to apply to various art lessons or P.E. as well...also math, such as creating your own pendulum (third grade) or simply using various shapes found, such as milk cartoons, to build your school or house (first grade) is easy to go above and beyond while forgetting how the simple ideas are what childhood is all about :)

Jeff Nagata

November 27, 2013, 19:18PM
Yes! I think there's a lot of potential in this game to pull in a lot of other topics such as math and even history, but instead of being filled with knowledge, youth would be able to learn by making.

I remember a TV show I used to watch in Japan, when I was growing up. Each episode is centered around a specific thing that you can build out of household items. They always attached it to a bigger lesson such as physics, math, or history, and it would always get me engaged in those topics.

I also included these links in the Google doc, but Arvind Gupta shows how turning trash into toys can be used for learning:
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Molly Schmidt

November 27, 2013, 20:36PM
Jeff! Thanks for writing in your game!

I'm starting to piece together what a website might look like and I really like your idea about kids shooting their own instructional video for their games.

If kids could "teach" other kids their game through making their own instructional video it could add another layer of ownership and creativity to the project.

Jeff Nagata

November 27, 2013, 20:44PM
That's an awesome idea, Molly. During the "ideas" phase of OpenIDEO, I was also thinking of submitting an idea for "MOOC by Youth". The idea of teaching through the internet is spreading, so why not one that is owned by youth?

I think this idea is great for giving youth more ownership over the platform, like you said. I think teaching others would also be great for creative confidence, by flipping around the student role that kids are so used to being in. It would show kids that they do have valuable things to offer others, just by being themselves.

Jeff Nagata

November 27, 2013, 20:53PM
Sorry, forgot to add this but Skillshare might be a good model for a network of people creating instructional videos. I can totally see a kids version of this!
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Christopher Rannefors

November 30, 2013, 06:24AM
@Cecilia, I really like your idea on applying the model to different types of games. Definitely transferable. I particularly like your idea of having a "review" period for the games after a session, this will give the kids a chance to really take the time to reflect on what it is that they are actually learning.

@Jeff, I have also been thinking a great deal about the potential for a MOOC platform by kids, targeted at not only a kid audience, but adults as well. I agree with you that teaching kids that they can be teachers and not just student is an empowering notion. You have a lot of great ideas; I am a big fan of your positive impact concept. I noticed you are in the Bay Area, maybe some night this coming week you can meet up with Molly and I and we can work on our concepts together and pitch ideas off of each other. Shoot me an email at I hope to meet you soon!

Jeff Nagata

November 30, 2013, 20:29PM
Thanks, Christopher. I like what you're saying about having both youth and adult audience for the "MOOC for kids" idea. When I was little, it always felt like there was a separate "adult world" that I couldn't be a part of. The idea is exciting because I think it would break down that wall. And I think we have a lot to learn from kids too.

I would love to meet up! I'll send an email.
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Cecilia Rannefors

December 09, 2013, 01:56AM
@Molly, having the kids create their own instructions/teach the game is such a wonderful idea...this can be applied to so many various aspects of a curriculum and will help students to further their own understanding of explaining procedure, comprehension, having effective processes, etc.

Hao Dinh

November 22, 2013, 00:10AM
Christopher, my name is Hao Dinh, the Challenge Community Champion. Congrats on being shortlisted. So many good ideas thus I want to make it easy for folks to quickly educate themselves on the ideas so they can focus on helping refine the concepts.

Can you provide me an elevator speech of your idea, maximum 10 seconds audio/video. Or you can reply to my post with text. I plan to consolidate the elevator speeches into one Field Note. (Field Notes are weekly challenge updates)

My thought is to provide you an opportunity to hype up your concept, ask for whatever assistance you need or provide suggestions on how to prototype your idea.

Much appreciated if I can get your elevator speech by Friday (November 22) 11 pm EST USA.

Thank you in advance,
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Christopher Rannefors

November 22, 2013, 01:19AM
Hao, Thanks! I think that is a great idea, I will get it to you some time tomorrow. What is the best way to send you a video file?

Hao Dinh

November 22, 2013, 01:19AM
Christopher, you can post on vimeo/youtube and post the link here. Thxs!

Hao Dinh

November 22, 2013, 04:44AM
Sorry Christopher, I meant 30 seconds not 10 seconds.
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Christopher Rannefors

November 22, 2013, 06:26AM
Haha, good, I was worried I was going to have to talk REALLY fast : )
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Christopher Rannefors

November 23, 2013, 03:10AM
Hao, here is my video. I definitely went over 30 seconds... In a few minutes I will post a shorter version so you don't have to edit.

Hao Dinh

November 23, 2013, 04:39AM
Awesome! Thanks Christopher

Meena Kadri

November 25, 2013, 00:24AM
We're totally loving these clips and are glad you've added your video to this post, Christopher. Looking forward to seeing where Hao takes things too :^)


November 21, 2013, 20:34PM
Christopher, cheers on your Top 22 shortlisted idea! We thought your concept was fun, engaging and had a lot of potential to provide creative sparks for young people to learn and experiment. During the Refinement phase, we'd love to see you continue to build out this idea with more details and nuance: who might fund the development of the portal? How would it be marketed and delivered to young people? Who are your core target users and what needs of theirs are met through participating in these games? You might also start playing around with lo-tech mockups of one or two of the games you're envisioning – recruit some young people and see what they think! For more tips for this Refinement phase, check out and catch our Lowdown on Refinement at
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Christopher Rannefors

November 22, 2013, 01:30AM
Thanks! I am honored to have the concept move to the finals with so many other compelling ideas! My team and I will be working hard to build prototypes and test the platform model.
@OpenIDEO Community

If you are intrigued by the basic concept behind this idea, let me know if you are interested in joining the virtual team that will help develop it further. It has a lot of potential for growth and we need all the help we can get! Special shout out to teachers, designers, programmers, and anyone who feels like a kid at heart!

Feel free to email me at

Meena Kadri

November 25, 2013, 00:28AM
I'm especially loving that you've reached out to others in our community who haven't been shortlisted to encourage them to join you in Refinement. Given collaboration is the back bone of our collective pursuit of social good, I'm amped to see where it all leads on this exciting concept (especially as you posted it while I was on vacation from the OpenIDEO Team and I'm just catching up on all the goodness now :^) Love how you've structured your post to help folks grasp where they might join in. May the force be with you (all).
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Christopher Rannefors

November 25, 2013, 04:01AM
Thanks for the encouragement! There are just so many clever ideas that have been posted in the inspiration and concepting phases that have helped to shape and inspire our own concept. A lot of the ideas are great for re-packaging into games for the platform too!

Meena we would love for you to fill out a game concept!

Meena Kadri

November 25, 2013, 20:57PM
Here's a quickie from me: And I thought I'd share something we're learning on this challenge (we're always learning from our switched-on community :^) – Folks who are using Google Docs are perhaps more likely to engage collaboration as they don't require Word (many folks on smartphones, iPads, etc can't use Word – plus it takes a while to download + launch) It's also possible that some people may not want to share their email addresses. Check out the Google Doc on this Refinement idea: We love what everyone's doing to get folks involved in their ideas. Just thought you might like some friendly tips for outreach on this or any other of your future projects...
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Christopher Rannefors

November 26, 2013, 05:53AM
Meena, thanks for sharing your idea! Love the eggdrop! I think the Google Doc will work out really well!

Nathan Maton

November 14, 2013, 18:26PM
Hey Christopher, cool idea. I love the idea of hooking parents in the process too. I'd love to see if some of it could be prototyped without building much technology. I wonder if there are examples you could link to from Scratch ( or Whyville ( Might give you a good sense of how kids could interact with games as content.
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Christopher Rannefors

November 15, 2013, 06:37AM
Nathan, Thanks for the great feedback! I agree, it would be fantastic to prototype using some basic tools - I will look into those resources for the refinement phase!

Rudolf Kutina

November 12, 2013, 09:16AM
Hi Christopher,

For some more ideas a 13 principles of professor Gee from Coursea course Video Games & Learning can be valuable :-)

Be carefuller, a Level design (graduate experience) is only one of it !

It's not so easy to combine Video Game experience and hands-on PLAY like inscrutables, because instructables need skills, not just understanding and knowledge ;-)
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Christopher Rannefors

November 12, 2013, 22:50PM

Thanks for the comment! Looks like we have been taking the same course! I have really been enjoying the lectures from Kurt, Constance, and the many guest lecturers. James Gee is the best.

I have pulled some of the theoretical thinking from the course and applied it to this platform model. I also think that video games and coding can serve as a basis for many 'games' on the platform: IE The Civilization Game example in the lectures where they had kids and teachers having virtual colonizations/battles within the virtual world. Or perhaps coding your own Block Building game. I am curious as to the possibility of partnering with third party companies as sponsors, or how to connect existing game structures/softwares to play a 'game within a game.'

I agree with your note about skills vs. understanding. The idea with the Graduation experience is that once they have spent time on this platform, each 'gamer' will have developed a Multiple Intelligence pathway that gives some sort of indication of where that child's interests lie. Then there would be suggestions for where to go next. For example the kids who played all crafty games may go to, the kid who played all artistic games might be directed, or the kid who likes the food-related games may graduate into The Play Portal platform is a great launching pad in and of itself for helping young kids get a better understanding of where their true creative passions lie, and then providing resources for taking a deeper dive into any one area.

I would love to hear more thoughts on this.

Rudolf Kutina

November 13, 2013, 15:43PM
Hi Christopher,

I am currently taking opposite path, how we can use priciples of video games which kids learn so they get better hands-on practice ?

I am currently experimenting with kids Constructions sets and Digital Children (gaming on tablet), see photos on:

PS: In Original GEE article they are 15 principles :-)

Saeid Kian

November 11, 2013, 00:59AM
Great idea, Chris!

Looks like you're trying to tackle some huge problems and I definitely can see you're on the right track. I have a few questions I was hoping you'd fill me in on.

It looks like you have two target audiences: parents and kids. How do you plan making this content appealing to both? By that I mean, how will you get parents to tell other parents about this platform and how will you get kids to tell their friends to?

On a similar note, have you done research as to why other attempts at gameification of learning have failed? What games do kids love to play and why?

Finally, how can you ensure longevity in this platform? Kids tend to get interested with fads and then quickly move on. How can you encourage use and reuse?

This is an awesome idea and hope you get to see some traction with it!
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Christopher Rannefors

November 12, 2013, 22:39PM
Saeid, thanks for the comment!

From interviewing a fair number of people that are involved in the education field, I have found that one of the biggest issues with parents is that they are either uninvolved in their children's development, or if they are involved they encourage their children down a secure pathway towards a 'safe' career that will lead towards economic stability. "Creative Play" is often overlooked as an important tool for learning and development. By providing the 'Expert Videos' the platform demonstrates professional development pathways that stem from the skills and knowledge achieved through playing the games. This will encourage parents to discuss the platform as a creative resource in educating their kids, and leading them down a successful development pathway. The second factor that I believe will help get parents generating buzz about the platform is the games that involve both parents and kids. In an ideal use case of the platform, we would have kids and parents playing games together and building their Play Portal presence as a team. Parents love to share stories about fun stuff they do with their kids!

In terms of longevity and kids generating buzz. I believe that the tiered success structure will develop long-term benefit to the user. Kids are encouraged to try out smaller, less difficult games to start, in order to build their creative confidence in themselves and begin developing their badges and MI pathways. Then they will be encouraged to take on more complex and out-of-the-box games as they grow both physically and mentally (imagine games targeted for 5-7 year olds, 8-10 year olds, etc.). Buzz will be generated by sharing and playing games with friends. If the schools pick up the platform as a licensed program, then it will buzz very fast inside of school districts.

I have done a fair amount of research on gamification of learning as a general topic, but not enough to specifically answer your question just yet. I will do some more research and structure a response soon!

Would love to hear more thoughts on these ideas!
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Manya Cherabuddi

November 09, 2013, 03:36AM
Love the concept (Third space), the name Play Portal, and the vision behind the platform. I think there's a lot of potential in the notion of "games for kids, made by kids"-- takes designing for the user to a whole different level.

Agree with the concept of parents being involved as partners and not initiators..but maybe you should reconsider the target age group. I'm not convinced that 5-8 year olds would realistically be active on this platform, but that age are usually imaginative about the games they do we capture and nurture that?

Especially when dealing with an online platform and kids that young, it makes sense to engage parents just as much as you want the kids to be engaged, so I really like the expert video idea to back up how a specific game will actually teach other skills too.
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Christopher Rannefors

November 10, 2013, 02:20AM
Hi Manya! Thank you for the positive feedback and constructive ideas!

My initial sense based on many sources (see PBS video below) is that young kids ages 5+ are growing up on tablet interfaces. They may be more comfortable with tech than we know. One of the most important features of the platform in regards to your concern is that the platform ought to be almost completely visual; kids respond to pictures and videos much better than text based content. Perhaps the primary structure of any given game page will be asychronous video content supported by images with paragraph captions. Do you think that this could be realistic? I think it will encourage a younger generation to think about sharing their game ideas entirely visually - which can be a powerful creative exercise in and of itself.

I recognize however that kids that young may be uncomfortable with certain features of a platform (comments, uploading files, logins, etc). I agree that we may have to work towards parent engagement to help with translating the platform content so that the child can focus on playing and learning!

PBS Video:

Anyone else in the community have any thoughts on this?

Ashley Jablow

November 19, 2013, 18:02PM
Hi Manya and Christopher: one quick thought is that Tom and David Kelley, in their new book Creative Confidence, talk about age 10 (or 4th grade in the US) as being the critical turning point for kids – when they either decide to abandon their creative skills or nurture them. Chris, I totally agree with you about younger kids using tablets etc, but maybe there's some value in trying to gear these games towards helping kids navigate their first creative confidence 'crisis' moments?
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Christopher Rannefors

November 26, 2013, 06:44AM
Hi Ashley,

Thanks for bringing up this point! One idea that Molly and I are working through right now is how kids will document their 'creative triumphs' as they navigate the portal and complete games. Right now we have an early idea for a multiple intelligence pathway system, where if the kids complete lots of sports-related games they will move down one path, while if they complete a bunch of science-related games they will move down another. We are worried however that this method may discourage kids from exploring many different games with various creative sensitivities because they will be so focused on advancing down any one pathway. Does that make sense? What are your thoughts? I have to be honest, I have yet to read Creative Confidence (although I hope to soon!), could you provide some more illumination as to what Tom & David meant by the crisis moments?

Why 4th grade? Hear that LREI 5th Graders? Apparently you guys have already hit your turning points! Although I am pretty certain you all went the nurturing route!
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Christopher Rannefors

November 28, 2013, 05:23AM
Hi Ashley,

Your point from the Kelley Bros. book about 4th Grade being the critical turning point for kids' creativity was the featured question in our survey to 33 5th Graders. Check it out!

Definitely share it with the Kelley Bros. I am sure they would be interested to see the results; a couple of insightful kids made the case that this turning point can be at any age, it just depends on the type of person.
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Cecilia Rannefors

November 08, 2013, 22:52PM
Wonderful idea!!!

I would tie in more academics to each game, such as including length and time with your Treasure Hunt game.

Partnering with districts would allow you to tap in to a huge market and provide that creative outlet that a lot of educators are looking to add to their curriculums.

Joselyn Gonzalez

December 06, 2013, 05:46AM
I really like how you are making everything so detailed! It's so nice to be able to picture it in my head.

For the website portal, and idea could be to narrow it down to 10 and have kids themselves pick out the one that appeals to them the most. After all, they are the ones that will be using it. Best of luck with everything!
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Christopher Rannefors

December 09, 2013, 00:38AM
Joselyn! Thank you for the positive feedback. We completely agree, we want to provide our first round of 'game tester' kids a selection of good games to choose from (and break the rules from), but not so many that they will be overwhelmed. I have listened to Malcolm Gladwell preach about the psychology of choice one too many times.

The LREI 5th graders played our games late last week and had only a 4-5 to choose from. I will be uploading an edited video of their play session soon. Keep an eye out!

Ashley Jablow

November 08, 2013, 20:13PM
Christopher, I LOVE how you've written this out in text that speaks directly to kids – absolutely brings your idea to life in such fun ways. Plus your early thoughts on the games themselves is really clever. As you keep building this out, I'm curious to hear from you how you envision this portal actually being funded and distributed – is it something that an educational publisher would take on? Someone else? Is it a kickstarter campaign? I'm eager to hear what you think.
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Christopher Rannefors

November 09, 2013, 18:24PM
Ashley, Thanks for the positive feedback! There are multiple ways in which a platform like this might be funded. I will list in them in the order of which I think might be the most realistic to least realistic.

1) Educational institutions (private schools and public schools) pay a license fee to use the platform for their districts. Today companies like Dreambox and RazKids license their online math and reading platforms to schools for annual fees. In today's economy, it can be argued that creativity is an equivalent asset to core skills like math and reading, and from interviewing several teachers I believe that school districts would be interested in adopting a platform to that end. The platform would have to be slightly modified from its original form to encourage games with teachers and students, and within classrooms.


2) Parents could pay a small monthly or annual subscription fee for the model. This would certainly work, but I am concerned that the number of parents in the world that would pay for a creativity platform is small. Not enough parents are actively engaged in their children's development. A better option may be a hybrid model between a public platform for individuals, and an organizational platform for grade schools to use in the classrooms. That way kids could also take the platform home with them after school and play games with their parents as well.

3) The platform could be funded by corporate sponsors for individual games. For example, LEGO could sponsor the 'Movie Director' game where kids make Lego still-shot movies. Or HASBRO could sponsor the 'Make Your own Boardgame' game. This could work, but I fear that big companies might influence the direction of the kids' imaginations towards existing products. The whole idea behind the platform is to encourage kids to get out of the box and break the rules.

I would love to get some feedback and insight on these thoughts from community members that have experience with platform funding or have worked with products like Dreambox/Razkids in the past.


Hao Dinh

November 08, 2013, 15:09PM
Christopher, love it! I like having the kids involved in developing the games. Their involvement would definitely provide the hands-on creative confidence element.

Too many times where I bought my nephew a game that I loved and realized after purchase he did not like it!
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Christopher Rannefors

November 10, 2013, 01:59AM
Hao, Thanks for the positive feedback! I would love to hear more from you:

Do you think the idea of having a multiple-intelligence badge system (similar to OpenIDEO's design quotient) that grows depending on the types of games the child chooses would be useful in better understanding say, your nephew?

Rudolf Kutina

November 08, 2013, 09:58AM
Hi Christopher,

Many of your linked inspirations are based on tangible stuff, how we can link it together - how we can make a HEXAGON from it ?

Yis Sel

November 30, 2013, 20:58PM
Incredible idea to co-create with kids. I enjoy playing with my nieces and be surprised with their ideas, a game that allows that is just amazing! too many rules could be boring.
 I strongly believe that technology shoud be a mean not the end of the creative process.
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Christopher Rannefors

December 09, 2013, 00:38AM
Thanks for the positive feedback Yis! We plan to bring the 'creating monsters' game into play next round! Which game of the ones in the pdf do you think your nieces would enjoy the most? We would love to hear their feedback.
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