Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Game Development Gets a Boost With New Education Program

AMD recently announced a $10,000 grant through its foundation to the Institute for Play, which is currently working on developing a "social impact game community" on the Gamestar Mechanic software development platform. The Gamestar Mechanic platform is a partnership between the Institute for Play and E-Line media aimed at improving the game development skills of young people. Beyond the development skills, the organization believes it provides computer literacy and critical thinking skills necessary to succeed in the 21st century. AMD's Changing the Game features competitions and other initiatives to encourage interaction between young people interested in development.
Programs, such as the Gamestar Mechanic, are crucial to encouraging young people to develop an interest in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics fields that are important in advancing industry in the United States. Since, unlike school, developers are not graded on their work, they can learn about the field and nurture their interest in a low pressure environment. Part of the program also allows for collaboration, so more experienced developers on the platform can provide feedback to more novice participants.
"The Game Alley program and competition are specifically tailored to create successful gaming experiences for youth and to help them engage their peers on important social issues, two key objectives of the AMD Changing the Game initiative," said Allyson Peerman, president of the AMD Foundation. "The program is an excellent example of 'stealth learning' in that players will absorb STEM and critical thinking skills while having fun."
As the software development industry continues to evolve around agile development and other new processes, new generations of developers will become an invaluable aspect of the industry. Targeting young people now with game development opportunities will enable the industry to make an impact on their lives and direct them toward educational programs and careers in software development.
"The AMD Foundation has been a real pioneer in empowering youth through game design," E-Line President Alan Gershenfeld, who was formerly Chairman of Games for Change and senior vice president at Activision Studios, said. "We are very pleased to support their mission of harnessing the power of computer and video games to engage youth in the critical issues that will affect their lives in the 21st century."

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