Wednesday, November 16, 2011

PBS KIDS and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting Join National STEM Video Game Challenge


Challenge encourages students and educators to build original games in support of

STEM – science, technology, engineering and math – learning

PBS KIDS and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) are participating in the 2012 National STEM Video Game Challenge.  Inspired by the “Educate to Innovate Campaign,” President Obama’s initiative to promote a renewed focus on science, technology, engineering, and math (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 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. 

The Middle School and High School winners will each receive laptops, game design software packages and other tools to support their skill development, and youth sponsoring organizations will receive cash prizes and educational software. A prize of $10,000 will be awarded to each of the winners in the Collegiate and Educator categories.

There is a growing body of research that highlights how making games fosters the development of critical STEM skills, including problem solving and digital media literacies. “Inspiring young people through hands-on creation and experiments to engage in science, technology, engineering and math is what we are all striving to do,” said Rob Lippincott, Senior Vice President, Education, PBS.  “We are excited to provide our well-researched curricular frameworks, which will help contestants keep focused on core educational skills while creating their 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.  Entries will be accepted from November 15, 2011 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. 

“Our Ready To Learn team and local public television stations around the country are working together to improve educational outcomes for students by engaging young people and educators in the process of creating video games that are both entertaining and educational,” said Debra Sanchez, Senior Vice President for Education and Children’s Content at CPB. “Our goal is to empower students to apply 21st century skills and encourage greater interest in STEM-based learning.”

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 educational online games, which are now available at Its goal is to promote early learning and school readiness, focused on serving children who live in poverty.  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. 

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.

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