Monday, December 19, 2011

2012 Global Game Jam Preview Workshops Promote National Video Game Challenge

December 15, 2011

George Hazimanolis

Maria Pisano

WQED Pittsburgh Workshops

Encourage Local Students to Participate in

National STEM Video Game Challenge

WQED Workshops in conjunction with The 2012 Global Game Jam

in Pittsburgh will prepare students and educators to build original

games in support of STEM – Science, Technology, Engineering and

Math – learning

PITTSBURGH – To help promote participation in the 2012 National STEM Video Game Challenge, WQED Pittsburgh is collaborating with Schell Game and the Pittsburgh International Game Developers Association to hold workshops in conjunction with the 2012 Global Game Jam in Pittsburgh (GGJ.)

WQED will recruit middle school students to participate in the workshops to be held Saturday and Sunday, January 28 & 29 at several locations in Oakland. Graduate students and faculty of the Carnegie Mellon Entertainment Technology Center (ETC) will serve as peer mentors from the world of computer science to assist students in the development of their video game concepts by instructing them on storyboarding, reviewing their idea against math concepts and using game development software such as Alice or Gamestar Mechanic. After the workshops, participants will be taken to the ETC where the GGJ will be taking place simultaneously. While there students will tour the facility to explore career possibilities in STEM and have the opportunity to play test the games produced at the GGJ by visiting gamers.

“We hope to raise awareness about using games as educational tools,” says Jennifer Stancil, Executive Director of Educational Partnerships at WQED. She adds, “Pairing kids with game developers and gaming companies allows us to support local kids by allowing them to be innovative and creative. In addition, we hope to elevate the profile of the National STEM Video Game challenge so that young people from middle school to college and their instructors know about this amazing and engaging opportunity to create new games, especially ones that can be entered into the PBS Math category.”

The 2012 Global Game Jam in Pittsburgh is one of many global “sleepovers” being held for gamers to come together and build new, innovative gaming experiences for kids and adults alike. GGJ will be held Friday, January 27 at 5 p.m. through Sunday, January 29 at 5 p.m. Located at the ETC (700 Technology Drive, Pittsburgh, PA 15203) the fee to participate is $15 and includes a GGJ T-shirt and food. Participation is restricted to those ages 18 and older and space is limited. More information regarding the GGJ may be found at

About 2012 National STEM Video Game Challenge

Supported nationally by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) and PBS KIDS through the Ready To Learn Initiative, the 2012 National STEM Video Game Challenge is inspired by the “Educate to Innovate Campaign,” President Obama’s initiative to promote a renewed focus on STEM education. The Challenge is an annual competition to motivate interest in STEM learning among America’s youth by tapping into students’ natural passion for playing and making video games.

The Joan Ganz Cooney Center at Sesame Workshop and E-Line Media launched the 2nd annual Challenge in partnership with the Digital Promise, a new initiative created by the President and Congress, supported through the U.S. Department of Education.

The 2012 Challenge features four entry categories: Middle School, High School, Collegiate and Educator. Within each category, PBS KIDS and CPB are challenging participants to develop educational games for children ages 4-8 that focus on specific math curriculum skills. Contestants can find insights and more information about the Challenge on, including resources that help guide game production for young children and interviews with top PBS KIDS game producers.

Entries are now being accepted through March 12, 2012 at At the end of the competition, the winning games for the PBS KIDS and CPB track will be featured on the PBS KIDS Lab and PBS LearningMedia websites.

PBS KIDS and CPB are participating in the 2012 National STEM Video Game Challenge as part of the Ready To Learn Initiative, a grant program managed by the U.S. Department of Education's Office of Innovation and Improvement.

The Ready To Learn Initiative supports the development of innovative educational television and digital media targeted at preschool and early elementary school children and their families, including over 40 new cross-platform games designed to help children ages 2-8 build critical math skills, which are now available at Its goal is to promote early learning and school readiness, with a particular interest in reaching low-income children. In addition to creating television and other media products, the program supports activities intended to promote national distribution of the programming, effective educational uses of the programming, community-based outreach, and research on educational effectiveness.

About WQED Pittsburgh

WQED Pittsburgh has a proud history of honors, including 128 National and Mid-Atlantic Emmy® Awards, an Academy Award, and many, many others, including two Emmy® Awards for Station Excellence. WQED was founded in 1954 as the nation’s first community-supported broadcaster. The people of WQED create, produce and distribute quality programs, products and services to engage, inform, educate and entertain the public within their community and around the world. WQED Pittsburgh is one of the first broadcasters in the country to be fully high-definition (HD) in its studio and field production capabilities. It is the parent company of WQED-TV (PBS); WQED: The Neighborhood Channel; WQED: The Create Channel; WQED Showcase; Classical WQED-FM 89.3/Pittsburgh; Classical WQEJ-FM 89.7/Johnstown; local and national television and radio productions; WQED Interactive ( and The WQED Education Department.


PBS KIDS, the number one educational media brand for children, offers all children the opportunity to explore new ideas and new worlds through television, online and community-based programs. For more information on specific PBS KIDS programs supporting literacy, science, math and more, visit, or follow PBS KIDS on Twitter and Facebook.

About CPB

CPB is a private, nonprofit corporation created by Congress in 1967 and is steward of the federal government’s investment in public broadcasting. It helps support the operation of more than 1,300 locally-owned and operated public television and radio stations nationwide, and is the largest single source of funding for research, technology, and program development for public radio, television and related online services.

The contents of this release were developed under a grant from the Department of Education. However, those contents do not necessarily represent the policy of the Department of Education, and you should not assume endorsement by the Federal Government.

The project is funded by a Ready To Learn grant (PR/AWARD No. U295A100025, CFDA No. 84.295A) provided by the Department of Education to the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

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