X-Life : Using Mobile Cellphone Technology as Cultural e-Diplomacy : Can Game-Playing be Useful as a Form of Education in the International Sphere?

4 BILLION cellphone subscribers worldwide. Incredible. About 4 times as many as Internet users. Now, that is an eye-opening statistic for this posting.

Having taught at a law school for a number of years, the LawPundit has a cutting edge interest in teaching, learning and education. So where is the future leading us in this regard and what media are best suited for the learning purpose?

At ABC News, via an ad at America.gov, there is a video at Ahead of the Curve interviewing Metrostar Games CEO Ali Manouchwhri regarding X-Life Games and Acquainting Cultures With Technology, in this case via the intercultural mobile cell phone game X-Life as a form of e-Diplomacy.

As written at the X-Life Games website in Launch of X-Life Games Heralds New Era for U.S. Diplomacy:

Mobile Gaming Technology Pioneers e-Diplomacy Outreach to the Middle East and Persian Gulf


MetroStar Systems, Inc., a leader in New Media technology solutions for the federal government, announced today the much anticipated release of X-Life Games and its availability for free download on www.xlifegames.com. Developed by MetroStar Systems, X-Life Games is an English language mobile game that encourages cultural exchanges between Arabic, Persian, and English speaking cultures, demystifies American culture, and breaks down barriers that impede mutual understanding. Leveraging the latest in mobile technology, X-Life users in the Middle East and Gulf region will be introduced to American culture in a non-threatening and constructive manner.

Marisa Taylor writes at the Wall Street Journal blog Digits:

The game has two different role-playing modules, one in which a user’s avatar is a student studying abroad in the United States, and the other is a musician in a Guitar Hero-like scenario (Grammy-winning band Ozomatli contributed a song for the game).

Users win points by answering questions or solving puzzles about U.S. history and culture correctly, with the aim of getting users to follow their avatar to the X-Life Web site and chat with other users.“

Can that possibly work?

Read Taylor’s article to find out the whys and wherefores and how successful things have been thus far in the e-diplomacy game.

What is Democracy? Democracy is … Voting has Begun : Cast Your Vote at YouTube in the Worldwide Democracy Video Challenge : 6 Geographic Regions

What is Democracy? Democracy is …


As written at America.gov:

Vote for the Video that Defines Democracy Best

The Democracy Video Challenge is an online video contest in which contestants submitted videos that explore the nature of democracy. People worldwide can select a winner by voting between May 15 and June 15 for the video that best captures the nature of democracy.

Richard Engel at the Democracy Video Challenge has opened the voting starting today.

Cast your vote at YouTube.


What is Democracy? : PUBLIC Online YouTube Voting in the Worldwide Democracy Video Challenge Final Begins May 15 and Runs to June 15

America.gov staff writer Tanya Brothen has an article on the Democracy Video Challenge, an online video contest which was launched at the United Nations on September 15, 2008 and for which online voting beings on May 15, running to June 15, 2009, i.e. voting begins TODAY. In Films Highlight Hundreds of Definitions of Democracy, Brothen wirtes:

Filmmakers from more than 90 countries submitted about 900 videos, displaying a variety of opinion, vision and creativity.” [900 videos represent 580 applicants]

There were 196 video semifinalists, viewed on May 7 at the Smithsonian’s Hirshhorn Museum in Washington D.C and 21 finalists will be selected today, May 15, of which seven will receive prizes in the voting. See the contest rules. See also Facebook.

As Brothen informs us:

Award-winning filmmaker and documentarian Michael Apted and Peruvian economist Hernando de Soto will oversee the competition’s selection of 18 finalist videos, to be announced May 15. They will select three films from each of six regions (Western Hemisphere, Europe, Middle East/North Africa, sub-Saharan Africa, South and Central Asia and East Asia/Pacific).

The public will select the winning videos by voting online from May 15 through June 15 at www.youtube.com/democracychallenge. The winners will receive an all-expenses-paid trip to Washington, New York and Hollywood, where they will spend time on television and film sets; meet with film professionals, democracy advocates and government officials; and attend special screenings of their videos.

There are actually 18 world geographic finalists plus three anonymous finalists, for a total of 21 finalists, as the Video Challenge Rules write as follows:

Round 2: An independent panel of judges comprised of film experts and democracy and youth organizations will evaluate the semifinalists. They will choose three finalists from each of the six world geographic regions as defined by the U.S. Department of State (Western Hemisphere, East Asia Pacific, Europe, Africa, Near East, South & Central Asia) and three anonymous finalists for a total of twenty-one finalists, which will be revealed on the Contest site (www.youtube.com/democracychallenge) on or about May 1, 2009.

Round 3: The twenty-one finalist Videos will be posted on the Contest site in mid-May 2009, and the general public will have one month to vote for their favorite videos using YouTube’s rating system. One grand prize winner from each of the six world geographic regions and one anonymous winner will be announced on or about June 15, 2009.

The demvidchallenge is using Twitter, where one can keep up on what is happening. See http://twitter.com/demvidchallenge