BY KEVIN HODGSON

Inspired by President Obama’s Educate to Innovate campaign, the National STEM Video Game Challenge aims to motivate interest in STEM learning by tapping into students’ natural passions for playing and making video games.

The exact evaluation criteria is not completely clear, except for this explanation:

Submissions will be judged on a combination of fun and balanced game play, creative vision and incorporation of STEM concepts in game design and play experience. Paper-based game designs will be judged separately from playable games.

There are two levels of competition: a middle school (grades 5-8) program and a program for younger designers (pre-K through grade 4), with prizes ranging from laptops for the schools to game-design tools for students. I like how the site lays out the rationale for bringing gaming into the classroom with this competition (which runs through the course of the school year) and also why they are focusing on middle school students. All the games must be aligned with the National Science Educational Standards and the Common Core standard for Math (more information about that is here).

In addition to backing from the White House, this competition is sponsored by a series of big-name technology companies, including Microsoft, AMD and more.

If you are interested, visit their application page.

STEM Video Game Challenge

Additional resources

Game Changer: Investing in Digital Play to Advance Children’s Learning and Health by Ann My Thai, David Lowenstein, Dixie Ching, and David Rejeski

Moving Learning Games Forward by Eric Klopfer, Scot Osterweil, and Katie Salen

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