STEM Video Game Challenge is a brilliant idea

videogamechallengeThe inaugural Australian STEM Video Game Challenge is underway. 

The Challenge is open to upper primary and secondary school students and involves them designing, building and submitting an original educational video game that includes science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) content or themes.  The entrants have an opportunity to earn recognition and great prizes for themselves, as well as a significant cash prize for their school or chosen charity. The games will be played by industry professionals as part of the judging, and the winners will be recognised at a national level, and by international bodies within the global gaming industry. All very cool.

The Challenge is based on a similar competition that has been run annually in the USA since 2010. The local competition has been brought together by the ACER Foundation and appears to be remarkably well-organised. The website provides guidance and links to appropriate software as well as clear instructions on navigating the logistics of registration and so on. 

The combination of game creation, coding and STEM subject matter makes the Challenge an all-round excellent idea. Backing from serious players and an awards ceremony as part of PAX AUS, Australia’s biggest gaming convention, should give the competition the gravitas to make it a successful annual event. There are already over 250 registrations for the Challenge so they’re off to a great start.

I can’t agree more with Interactive Games and Entertainment Association (IGEA) Chief Executive Ron Curry, who said: “Instead of being passive users of video games, the Challenge offers students the chance to engage and create, and to experience learning in a way that is interactive, stimulating and meaningful.”

See www.stemgames.org.au for all the details and to sign up.

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