We received the news that Texas PBS affiliate KLRN is working with the youth-oriented virtual world of Whyville.net to launch a program to teach young people how to make games around social issues. Supported by a grant from the AMD Foundation, the project promotes social issue game creation as a means to inspire young people to learn science, technology, education and math (STEM) skills, while also creating awareness about social issues from poverty to the environment. Kids will be documenting the game development process using short videos, which will then be shown on PBS.
Sounds like a well-rounded project that leverages the enormous reach of the virtual world with the unique ways that game creation can teach specific subjects and skills. I'm looking forward to seeing what kinds of games these kids create!
The full press release follows after the jump...
AMD Foundation Collaborates With PBS Affiliate KLRN and Whyville.net to Bring Game Development to Youth in the Virtual World
- Program will enable more than six million registered players to build in-world creative games focusing on social issues -
SUNNYVALE, Calif., Sep 29, 2010 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- AMD today announced that the AMD Foundation, in support of AMD Changing the Game, has awarded a grant to San Antonio, TX PBS affiliate KLRN to help enable youth to create games around social issues in Whyville.net, the oldest learning-based virtual world on the Internet. In Whyville.net's 11-year history, more than six million youth from around the world have used the site to explore topics on science, economics and citizenship, and tens of thousands of youths are active players on Whyville.net at any point in time. Once games are created, KLRN will help youth develop video shorts featuring the game creation process including interviews with "Whyvillians" discussing what they learned about creating games. KLRN will broadcast the videos and make them available to PBS stations nationwide. These video shorts will be used to promote game design activities to children, parents and teachers.
The grant, totaling $200,000, is given in support of AMD's education initiative, AMD Changing the Game. The initiative promotes social issue game development as a tool to inspire youth to learn and improve science, technology, education and math (STEM) skills, while at the same time becoming more aware of global social issues such as energy, the environment, public health and poverty.
"KLRN, as do all PBS affiliates, takes pride in providing exceptional programming to advance education and culture," said William G. Moll, President and CEO of KLRN. "Our television station has a long history of effective educational outreach. This innovative collaboration with AMD and Whyville is right on target to inspire a lifelong love of learning in all children."
"The Whyville virtual world is an award-winning, proven educational Web destination for children, and is an ideal venue to foster social issue game creation," said Jim Bower, founder, Whyville and CEO of Whyville's parent company Numedeon Inc. "Over the last 11 years, Whyville has pioneered Youth Created Content, and Whyville's collaboration with the AMD Foundation and AMD Changing the Game will allow our users to further enrich the dynamic educational environment that we already provide for our virtual citizens."
"KLRN, Whyville and AMD share a common goal of leveraging technology in innovative ways to help excite kids about learning," said Allyson Peerman, president, AMD Foundation. "This project will allow us to scale the reach of youth game development to millions of registered players in Whyville.net, and especially help us to reach and empower more young women, a key demographic in Whyville's virtual world."
The program is slated to begin with the launch of the AMD "Game Pavilion" within Whyville in early October which will serve as the virtual world hub for these projects.