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The Games for Change Student Challenge Kicks Off in Los Angeles (2017)

Author: Stacie Pierpoint

At the start of the school year, 22 teachers from 19 LAUSD and affiliated charter schools met at Skylight Studios in Los Angeles to participate in a teacher training for the third annual Games for Change Student Challenge. They learned how to teach game design and coding skills with support from the Games for Change team and curriculum partner Mouse. This teacher cohort is the first group from Los Angeles to participate in the national program. The Annenberg Foundation and Annenberg Learner are sponsoring the Games for Change Student Challenge in Los Angeles. The program will also run in New York City, Detroit, and Atlanta this year.

In their applications, the participating teachers expressed enthusiasm for providing their students with engaging and relevant curriculum and opportunities to build 21st Century skills. They teach a range of subjects including science, world history, computer science, business, English, and Latin American studies. While most of these teachers are integrating the Mouse Serious Games curriculum into their courses, a few teachers are running the program as an after school club. Most of the participating middle and high schools are Title I and half of the participating teachers are women.

These educators are now prepared to teach their students how to design and build video games using the Mouse Serious Games curriculum and Scratch during the 2017-18 school year. Their students will research issues that affect their community using materials provided by the national theme partners and create games to address those issues. This year, the national themes and partners are Kindness & Empathy, supported by the Born This Way Foundation, News Literacy, supported by Common Sense Media, and Wildlife Conservation, supported by the National Wildlife Federation and #SaveLACougars. Additional activities to support students throughout the year will include field trips, game jams, and mentorships from the gaming and tech industries. At the end of the school year, we will celebrate the students’ work at an awards ceremony and hand out prizes such as mentorships to the students with the winning games.

All students from LAUSD and LAUSD-affiliated charter schools may participate in the challenge this year. You can find the guidelines here. Games are due in April 2018. Click on the Resources tab for game building and theme resources for the contest. Additional program information can be found here:

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