So to start, I attended the Serious Games Summit for the early part of the morning, and only went to the "Serious Games Taxonomy" and "GAMESTAR MECHANIC: Learning through Game Design" sessions before sitting down to get the GDC section setup.
In the Serious Games Taxonomy session, Ben Sawyer of DigitalMill, Inc. and Peter Smith of the University of Central Florida's RETRO Lab discussed their attempt to categorize and define the market for serious games. They started with their justification and background research into the taxonomy before delving into a quick overview of the different market segments that they have defined. It's difficult to provide a lot of information on this in the blog, but they had a lot of matrix charts meshing market segments, game types, usage segments, and industries. The bad thing is that it's impossible to remember all of this or get much detail out of the session. The good thing is that Ben Sawyer said he would post the slides on seriousgames.org (as of this writing they have not been posted).
The major takeaway: a serious game is a broad but better defined reapplication of videogames, that the taxonomy is still being defined, but it is leading to a better definition of the serious game market that will help better organize and drive market developments.
The GAMESTAR MECHANIC session was an overview of a research project conducted by Gamelab and the Parsons School of Design. The idea of the project was to build a game (Gamestar Mechanic) that teaches game design to kids, primarily teens. Of course, the ultimate lessons being taught were not necessarily how to design games, but about more 21st century skills and competencies, including: systems-based thinking, interdisciplinary thinking, specialists language, meta-level reflection, network literacy, and productive literacy. A video was also shown, which showed the kids working on their games, their struggles and processes, and the end results. I'd like to find that video online, so hopefully Parsons releases it on YouTube or something (hint, hint).
A quick Google search yielded some material on Gamestar Mechanic, so if you're interested in more information I encourage you to check it out.
Off to more sessions..