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Brief Published: 2 Oct 2014

Social Good Summit 2014: Ed-Tech

Girl Rising

Last week's Social Good Summit – a New York event hosted by Mashable, the social media news site – highlighted new ways to use mobile games, inspirational videos and internet conferencing technology to entertain and inform – both inside and outside the classroom.

  • Mobile Challenges: Launched by American band Linkin Park in October 2013, LP Recharge is a mobile game that challenges players to recharge a barren future Earth with clean, renewable energy. All revenue from in-game purchases goes to the band's Music for Relief fund. "We need to give our fans more exciting tactics [to address climate change], not gloom and doom," explained singer Mike Shinoda. See Games for Change for more on how games can be used to improve lives.

  • Contextual Messages: Girl Rising is a female empowerment movement built around a film released last year. Chapters from the film appear in surprising places – such as before Bollywood films and during cricket games in India – so as to reach those least likely to engage with the movement. "If you start where people are and guide them to where they need to be, you can bring them along," said Tara Abrahams, president of Girl Rising. "If you preach, they turn off."

  • Skype Sessions: Mike Soskil, a teacher in the US, is using online video-calling service Skype to broaden his students' horizons. Soskil's students have shared lessons with video pen pals in Kenya and virtually high-fived Australian climber Mike Wood while he was on the summit of Mount Everest. Brands are beginning to explore how to connect with classrooms through Skype: this year, Good Magazine sponsored a writing competition where the winner received a Skype call for their class with Blake Mycoskie, the founder of US ethical shoe brand Toms.

Thanks to a huge growth in personal technology, the boundaries between learning environments and consumer worlds are blurring. For more on how technology is changing education, take a look at The Future of Education: Re.Work 2014 and The Classroom Revolution.