AU STEM Video Game Challenge seeks students

Aussie students (or parents, teachers or friends of students), listen up: The 2015 Australian STEM Video Game Challenge is officially open for registration – so if you’re into Science, Technology, Engineering or Maths, love video games and want to win prizes, this is for you!

Australian STEM Video Game Challenge

Australian STEM Video Game Challenge

Science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) are among the most critical disciplines required for businesses to succeed in the 21st century. Unfortunately, fewer Australian students are pursuing STEM learning and as a nation we are rapidly falling behind the rest of the world.

The Challenge is an initiative from the Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER), and aims to increase engagement with Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths. It’s a unique opportunity for budding developers to gain some pretty important twenty-first century skills, and all Australian students in years 5-12 are encouraged to enter – with a special focus on girls, and students from low socioeconomic areas. Students can enter individually, or as a group of up to four people.

Don’t worry – the Challenge is divided up into two age-specific groups, and then broken down further, giving six categories in total.

  • STUDENTS IN YEAR 5-8
    • Playable game (groups)
    • Playable game (individual)
  • STUDENTS IN YEAR 9-12
    • Playable game (groups)
    • Playable game (individual)
    • Playable game (groups) – Advanced
    • Playable game (individual) – Advanced

The focus really is on education and involvement – the Challenge is totally free to enter and totally not-for-profit. Last year’s debut was super-successful with more than 550 registered students, so this year’s hoped to be even bigger and better.

Each game is then judged against seven specific criteria, which are the same across the board:

  • Functionality: Does the game work?
  • Visual Design: What does the game look like?
  • Gameplay:How successful are the game’s mechanics?
  • Engagement:Is it fun to play?
  • Theme:Does the game have a STEM theme?
  • Instruction: How good is it as a learning tool?
  • STEM Engagement: Does the STEM theme make the game fun?

The creation of a video game involves systems-based thinking, iterative design, collaboration with others and communication – valuable and highly desirable skills in the modern workplace. It entails taking an idea from conception through the development process to produce a finished product that can be shared and enjoyed by others.

If you want more information about the Challenge, you can read the PDF or head to stemgames.org.au – which is also where you can sign up to register your interest! Registrations close on June 19, with finished games due in by August 21.

Good luck!

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