Evoke is an award-winning, multi-player online educational experience, which uses storytelling, game mechanics, and social networks, to prepare young people to become social innovators who create solutions that address global ‘grand challenges’ (e.g., displacement, hunger, poverty, water scarcity). The Evoke project is designed to support young people as they develop an understanding of these complex challenges, acquire 21st century skills (e.g., creativity, collaboration, critical reflection), socio-emotional skills (e.g., curiosity, empathy, generosity), and gain the confidence to experiment, collaborate, and create innovative solutions. Conceived and coordinated by Robert Hawkins, EVOKE has been played in three languages by student groups in over 100 countries over the past seven years.
History: versions and iterations
The original iteration of EVOKE, URGENT EVOKE, launched at the TED conference in early 2010 by co-creator and noted game designer Jane McGonigal, generating much media interest, it ran as a 10-week “crash course in saving the world” from February through May. Geared for students across Africa, this first version of EVOKE was in English. It won a top award at the 8th Annual Games For Change Festival. (view trailer)
- EVOKE — a crash course in changing the world (EduTech blog)
- EVOKE — When spider webs unite, they can tie up a lion (EduTech blog)
- EVOKE Reflections: Results from the World Bank’s on-line educational game (part 1) (EduTech blog)
- EVOKE Reflections: Results from the World Bank’s on-line educational game (part 2) (EduTech blog)
- Future Skills — The Superpowers Needed to Save the World (Medium post)
- Game-Changers of the World, Unite (SSIR)
- Libraries as Laboratories (SSIR)
- The Rise of Education Gaming, an interview with Robert Hawkins (Getting Smart)
- Segment on the BBC’s State of Play program (includes interview with Robert Hawkins)
- Games that launch companies, games that heal: Q&A with Jane McGonigal (TED Blog)
- EVOKE Case Study (Games for Change Festival 2011)
The second iteration of EVOKE, EQUIPE-EVOKE, took place in 2012, in partnership with the Ministry of Science and Technology in Brazil. This version of EVOKE, which is sometimes referred to as ‘season two’, was in Portuguese. (view trailer)
The third iteration of EVOKE took place in 2014. Supported by the World Bank’s Innovation Fund, it was piloted in Spanish in Mexico and Colombia, in partnership with the University of Guadalajara (Mexico) and Uniminuto (Colombia). This version of EVOKE, which focused on food security, energy and water, was in Spanish.
A creative narrative hackathon with Arizona State University, which featured world-renowned science fiction authors from ASU’s Project Hieroglyph as well as futurists, visual artists and subject area experts on a range of pressing global issues, led to the creation of new content related to peace and literacy (which were later incorporated into the fourth version of EVOKE). (view video of the collaborative process of content creation)
The fourth iteration of EVOKE took place in partnership with the Soacha campus of Uniminuto, targeting the town south of Bogota which has a larged population of people displaced because of prior civil unrest in that country. This version of EVOKE took place in Spanish.
A fifth iteration of EVOKE is planned for July 2017, in partnership with World Vision in South Africa. This version of EVOKE will take place in English.
- Evoke – Developing Skills in Youth to Solve the World’s Most Complex Problems: The Social Innovators’ Framework (Barbara Freeman and Robert Hawkins)
- Evoke – Developing skills in Youth to Solve the World’s Most Complex Problems: Randomized Impact Evaluation Findings
(Barbara Freeman and Robert Hawkins)
- Developing 21st century and socio-emotional skills among displaced youth in Colombia: EVOKE – An innovative approach to online education and skills assessment (20 April 2017)
Evaluations of EVOKE
EVOKE has been the subject of much critical and academic study. Some notable related evaluations and research include:
- Project Evaluation: EVOKE (official evaluation commissioned by the World Bank, by Edmond Gaible and Amitabh Dabla)
- A Parallel World for the World Bank: A Case Study of Urgent: Evoke, An Educational Alternate Reality Game (David Waddington)
- The Motivational Fabric of Gamified Idea Competitions: The Evaluation of Game Mechanics from a Longitudinal Perspective (Christian W. Scheiner)