Alternate Reality Games (ARGs) are a new genre of transmedia practice where players collaboratively
hunt for clues, make sense of disparate information, and solve puzzles to advance an ever-changing
narrative that is woven into the fabric of the real world. This paper highlights the potential for ARGs to
promote 21st Century literacy skills. We propose a meta-level framework for 21st century literacies
composed of seven core literacies: gather, make sense, manage, solve, create, respect, collaborate. We
then describe how the unique properties of ARGs can be used to teach these core literacies, drawing upon
expert interviews and examples from numerous ARGs. Finally, we outline the major challenges and
opportunities for using ARGs in the service of education, focusing on reuse, budgetary issues, scale, and
improvisation. We end with an outline of key research questions that need to be addressed to merge
ARGs and education.
The HCIL has a long, rich history of transforming the experience people have with new technologies. From understanding user needs, to developing and evaluating these technologies, the lab's faculty, staff, and students have been leading the way in HCI research and teaching.