National STEM Video Game Challenge Invites Students to Design Their Own Video Games

The National STEM Video Game Challenge—presented by E-Line Media, the Joan Ganz Cooney Center at Sesame Workshop, and the Smithsonian—is accepting student submissions of original video games and game designs. The Challenge motivates youths’ interest in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) learning by tapping into their passion for playing and creating video games.

The Challenge is accepting entries from U.S. students in the middle and high school categories: The middle school category is open to students in grades 5 to 8, while the high school category is open to students in grades 9 to 12. Both invite entries for individuals and teams of up to four students, and entries can be created using any game creation platform such as Gamestar Mechanic, Unity, GameMaker, and Scratch or a written game design concept document.

Judges will select winners for each game creation platform in both categories, with each winner receiving a cash prize of $1,000, as well as game design and educational software. Each winner’s sponsoring organization will receive a cash prize of $2000.

The National STEM Video Game Challenge is accepting entries through February 25, 2015. Complete guidelines and details on how to enter are available at www.stemchallenge.org.

Joan Ganz Cooney Center Releases Second Study on iPhone/iPad Apps

A new study by The Joan Ganz Cooney Center at Sesame Workshop has found that most top-selling educational apps in Apple’s App Store are aimed at preschoolers. The study, iLearn II: An Analysis of the Education Category of Apple’s App Store, was presented at the 2012 Consumer Electronic Show (CES).

Using a 2009 analysis conducted by The Joan Ganz Cooney Center (iLearn: A Content Analysis of the iTunes App Store’s Education Section) as a benchmark, the new report examined nearly 200 top-selling educational apps for the iPad and iPhone. According to results, only 14 percent of apps were tagged for intended school usage. Of the entire sample, only two iPhone apps (and zero iPad apps) were based on well-known branded characters. Other key findings included that 109 different publishers were represented in the sample (89 of those publishers were not represented in the previous study’s sample), and the average price of children’s apps has risen by more than $1 since 2009.

To read the full report, and to see The Joan Ganz Cooney Center’s recommendations for growth and development, click here.

[Read more...]