Schools, Video Games, and STEM

This fall has seen a number of big video game releases (Skyrim, I’m especially looking at you), so what better time for school and academic librarians to capitalize on that and get students involved in the National STEM Video Game Challenge, a “multi-year competition whose goal is to motivate interest in STEM [science, technology, engineering, and math] learning among America’s youth by tapping into students’ natural passion for playing and making video games.”

To make things easy for you, the competition has a special registration page on its website just for schools that also includes links to a promotional flyer and game creation resources. Students can enter as teams or individuals in separate categories for middle schools, high schools, and colleges. Winners will receive a laptop computer with game design and educational software as well as a $2,000 award for their schools (or the non-profit organizations of their choice). Educators can also enter for a chance at some unique prizes, so why not create a game alongside your students?

One school that will be participating is Seekonk (Mass.) High School. School librarian Suzanne Larson collaborated with technology teachers Monica Piquette and Jim Devlin to launch a video game programming club that includes members with a wide range of programming experience; their games will also be entered in a local competition. To round out the library’s programming programming, students will be treated to guest speakers from the gaming community, including a designer from 38 Studios and an online meeting with an Xbox Live employee.

The deadline for entries in the National STEM Video Game Challenge is March 12, 2012. Who knows? Maybe one of your students will create the next game that takes up entirely too much of my time (Skyrim, I’m still looking at you).