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Video Gamer: A Piece of the K-12 Pipeline

I traveled up the coast of North Carolina to a town called New Bern and had an opportunity to attend the North Carolina Art Education Association Professional Development Conference thanks to an invite from the Art Specialist for Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools. My intentions were to attend a "Video Gamer" workshop on a mission to continue efforts to Build the K-12 Pipeline for students who have an interest in STEM in the district. I was seeking to assess yet another avenue to engage K-8 students, as well as marry the interest of gamers to programming in grades 9-12.

The workshop was facilitated by the founder and CEO of E-LINE Media, Michael Angst. He promoted a browser-based game entitled Gamestar Mechanic. The game taps into real world experiences in the community as well as issues and places exposed to students on a daily basis. The goal is to encourage playing, designing and sharing games. The games developed by E-LINE Media are built on leading pedagogical research in the areas of systems thinking, 21st century digital literacy skills and STEM learning. It was a great workshop that wooed the minds high school students and teachers.

President Obama launched the National STEM Video Game Challenge to promote a renewed focus on STEM. According to data released in support of this initiative playing and making video games foster the development of critical thinking and design skills, problem-solving and encourages students to pursue careers in the field of STEM.

These portals are two great opportunities for districts or organizations to join forces and assist in creating opportunities for students and continue efforts to close the gap. We must continue to implement K-12 opportunities to make the connection between the demands of the workforce, the community of teachers as well as the learners in the classrooms.

Other resources:
Games for Change
Video Games and Middle School
Scratch
Alice
STEM CHALLENGE
Computer Science Unplugged

Shemeka D. Shufford
CSTA Board Member

Comments

I'd like to recommend Kodu A visual programming language made specifically for creating games. Accessible for children and enjoyable for anyone. http://fuse.microsoft.com/project/kodu.aspx as well.

Thanks for the resources. I am working on creating a new class for next year and the Gamestar site looks like something I might be able to use in my curriculum.

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