KLRU, the PBS Video Game Challenge, and East Austin College Prep

This week, KLRU hosted the first of two workshops to explain to middle school students how to create games for the PBS portion of the National Video Game Challenge. We met in a game design class at East Austin College Prep Academy with students, their teachers, Laura Minnigerode of World Wide Workshops, Anne Fertitta of AMD (a fellow national sponsor), Michael Mayrath of GYLO, a local startup in educational gaming, and two guest speakers: Prof. Susan Empson of UT-Austin and Vicki Smith, a national finalist in last year’s Video Game Challenge.

For the competition, students are creating math games that help elementary-age students solidify essential math concepts. We had Prof. Empson, our elementary math expert, and Ms. Smith, our award-winning game designer, help connect mathematical thinking to solid game construction. As part of the workshop, we had students present games in progress and all of our experts then chimed in commentary on how to beef them up for submission.

Our next stop: Travis HS on Tuesday, Jan. 31! If you’d like to help mentor students in their submission, either in person or via distance, contact Ben Kramer at 475-9050 or bkramer@klru.org.

KLRU brings students and developers together to create new educational games


National contest challenges students and professionals

Austin, TX — KLRU-TV, Austin PBS, is one of 12 stations nationwide chosen to participate in the National STEM Video Game Challenge grant. KLRU will bring local middle school and high school students together with game developer mentors and education experts to create new games to compete in this national contest.

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 National STEM Video Game Challenge is a multi-year competition whose goal is to motivate interest in STEM learning among America’s youth by tapping into students’ natural passion for playing and making video games.

In early 2012, KLRU will bring mentors from Austin’s vibrant gaming community together with youth from one area middle school and one high school. The teams of students will work to create games to be entered into the national contest. KLRU will also document the creative process on the station’s blog. Game developers who would like to participate in the mentoring project should contact KLRU at 471-4811.

The National STEM Video Game Challenge has four categories — Middle School, High School, Collegiate, Educators — and is open to any U.S. citizen or legal U.S. resident  To participate in the challenge as an individual or a non-KLRU team, please see the rules and guidelines for each level on the competition’s website at stemchallenge.org. Deadline to enter is March 12.

About KLRU:
KLRU-TV, Austin PBS, presents quality multimedia content that engages people in the thoughtful exchange of ideas, the expression of the arts, and enjoyable lifelong learning opportunities, resulting in a more vibrant community and a higher quality of life. In addition to providing locally produced and quality national television programming, KLRU is also a non-profit organization helping to build a stronger community through educational workshops, community engagement projects and public events. Known as the producing station of the longest-running live music television show AUSTIN CITY LIMITS, KLRU has also worked on several other national productions including OVERHEAD WITH EVAN SMITH and documentaries like CITIZEN ARCHITECT and LAST BEST HOPE. Get more information about KLRU at klru.org.