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Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Major Video Game Development Contest Focused on STEM Announced

This week President Barack Obama launched a new “Educate to Innovate” campaign. This initiative aims to increase science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) literacy among students in US educational institutions.

As part of that initiative, the Entertainment Software Association (ESA) and the Information Technology Industry Council (ITI), Sony Computer Entertainment America (SCEA), Microsoft Corporation, and the MacArthur Foundation today announced a collaboration based on a video game focus to improve education.

As Michael D. Gallagher, president and CEO of the ESA, the trade association representing U.S. computer and video game publishers, says "Computer and video games are one of the most effective ways to reach America's children and encourage them to stay interested in vital STEM principles." He goes on to say that "We are honored to have President Obama recognize the unique ability of games to act as a catalyst in generating new areas of growth in education."

So what does this mean? A national video game competition will be launched...that's what it means.
This competition is a component of the 2010 Digital Media and Learning Competition, a $2 million annual effort funded by the MacArthur Foundation that advances the most innovative approaches to learning through games, social networks and mobile devices. SCEA, in cooperation with ESA and ITI, will team with MacArthur to support the competition, which will result in the creation of new game play experiences that enhance STEM principles using new discoveries on an existing popular video game--LittleBigPlanet(TM)--winner of numerous "game of the year" awards in 2008. Additionally, SCEA will donate 1,000 PlayStation(R)3 (PS3(TM)) systems and copies of LittleBigPlanet(TM) to libraries and community based organizations in low-income communities and make the winning levels available to game players at no cost.

Applications will be judged on criteria related to participatory learning, the support of learning related to science, technology, engineering and math, and the degree to which assessment of learning is integrated into the learning experience itself.
Proposals will be posted for public comment and multiple awards will be given, including a People's Choice Award, which will be decided by the public. Winners will be announced in 2010.
(Check out entire news release on the topic.)

In early 2010, ESA, ITI and their partners will make a formal announcement of the competition's details including eligibility rules and entry procedures. Winners will be announced at the E3 Expo, the leading video game industry trade show event, which takes place June 15-17, 2010.

Look for details in the near future.

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