While no stranger to the video game community, President Obama’s White House made headlines recently in issuing a direct challenge to game developers. As part of the Educate to Innovate Initiative, the STEM Video Game Challenge aims to have both children utilize core subjects (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) to make educational games to teach similar suspects. The challenge is two-fold, one focusing on actual game developers and another on children themselves (follow the jump for details). The challenge starts accepting entries on October 12th, through January 5th, and being run by the Joan Ganz Cooney Center at Sesame Workshop and E-Line Media,with sponsorship by AMD Foundation, ESA and Microsoft.
- The Youth Prize aims to engage middle school students (grades 5 through 8) in STEM learning by challenging them to design original video games. The Challenge will be open to students from any U.S. school with a special emphasis on reaching students in underserved urban and rural communities. The total prize pool will be $50,000. The winners will receive AMD-based laptops, game design books, and other tools to support their skill development. Cash prizes and educational software will also be awarded to the winning students’ sponsoring organization with additional prize money for underserved communities.
- The Developer Prize challenges emerging and experienced game developers to design original games for young children (grades pre-K through 4) that teach key STEM concepts and foster an interest in STEM subject areas. The Challenge will feature a special prize for developers actively enrolled in an undergraduate or graduate program in the U.S. Special emphasis will be placed on technologies that have high potential to reach underserved communities, such as games built for basic mobile phones that address urgent educational needs among at-risk youth. Developers will be competing for a grand prize of$50,000. Two prizes of $25,000 each will be awarded to the top entry submitted on the collegiate level, as well as the top entry for reaching under-served communities.
“Children of all ages are immersed in technology—today’s kids spend as much time with digital media as they do in school. With the need to make learning both more engaging and productive we need some real game changers,” said Michael Levine, Executive Director of the Joan Ganz Cooney Center. “The National STEM Video Game Challenge will encourage entrepreneurs and students to develop bold designs to promote academic excellence. The Cooney Center and E Line Media are delighted that national leaders in policy, practice and philanthropy are investing in video games’ potential to help change the equation.”
”Video games are improving and advancing the way Americans are living, working and playing,” said Michael D. Gallagher, president of the ESA. “The acknowledgement and appreciation of President Obama, our partners in this campaign and leading child advocates, is a strong endorsement of the amazing potential and benefit that games can have on children.”
“Video game development is an exceptional learning experience for youth because it’s rooted in something they are already passionate about and allows learning to happen naturally,” said Allyson Peerman, president of the AMD Foundation. “AMD is proud to participate in the inaugural National STEM Video Game competition. The contest aligns with AMD’s signature education initiative, AMD Changing the Game, a program that encourages teens to learn valuable STEM skills and become more globally conscious citizens by developing games with social content.”