Games for Change Student Challenge Enters Its 6th Year and Expands Nationally With New Curriculum

by Games for Change

G4C_Student_Challenge_header_650x250NEW YORK (October 15, 2020) – Games for Change has officially launched the 2020-2021 G4C Student Challenge, a national game design program and competition that has reached over 30,000 students to date, and bridges their passion for video games with civic engagement. This year, the program is expanding outside its four major markets into a national competition with new online student-facing curriculum, including facilitator guides for teachers and parents, which will be available for free. (A teaser lesson for students with an accompanying teacher plan can be downloaded via the Challenge website.)

“With this new curriculum, we are enabling educators and parents from anywhere in the country to easily bring social impact game design into their homes, classrooms, and cultural institutions with ready-made lessons,”  said Arana Shapiro, Managing Director of Games for Change.

Despite new challenges resulting from COVID-19 and the transition to virtual and hybrid learning models, the 2020-2021 Student Challenge is anticipated to have the biggest impact to date, reaching more educators and students than ever before. Teacher engagement has doubled, and this Fall, nearly 300 middle and high school teachers will receive professional development in game-based learning and will be provided with access to the Mouse Impact Game Design curriculum. With generous support from the Institute of Museum and Library Services, the program will also expand into 80 museums and provide tools for museum educators to connect with underserved youth. 

“My experience with the Games for Change Student Challenge has been so positive; they have helped transform my classroom and classroom environment in so many ways,” said multi-year challenge teacher, Tim Horodyski of PS/IS 102Q from Queens, NY. “This year is going to be hard for students, but I look forward to engaging them through the themes and content partners this year.” 

The Student Challenge allows students to focus on issues affecting their community. Through the help of cause-oriented theme partners and multimedia resources, students will explore one of three themes, and add to the more than 2,900 original social impact games created by past participants. The competition takes place February 1 through April 1, 2021, with the following themes:

  •   Advocating for Animals: Games that explore the interconnected relationship between humans, animals and the environment (in partnership with Annenberg PetSpace)

  •   Build a Better World: Games that celebrate diversity and teach people how to uplift marginalized voices (in partnership with Minecraft: Education Edition)

  •   Resilience through Games: Games that elevate self-care, social connection and community support (in partnership with IMLS and mental health non-profit Take This)

Games can be created in any open source game design program, and this year, the “Build a Better World” theme is specifically asking students to design their games in Minecraft: Education Edition. The 2020-2021 competition will also include a new ‘accessibility modifier,’ where students learn to design games and integrate accessibility features such as enhancing or replacing stimuli for visual/hearing impairment or changing/reducing inputs or time constraints for cognitive impairment. The Accessibility Award is part of a new partnership with award-winning games studio Numinous Games, and accessibility nonprofit, AbleGamers.

The 2020-2021 G4C Student Challenge is generously funded by General Motors, Annenberg Foundation, Annenberg Learner, Take-Two Interactive, New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, National Endowment for the Arts, Motorola Solutions, Minecraft: Education Edition, Institute of Museum and Library Services and MoPub. Other city-based partners include: Mouse, Two Bit Circus Foundation and Detroit Public Schools Community District (DPSCD).

About Games For Change

Since 2004, Games For Change (G4C) has been empowering game creators and innovators to drive real-world change, using games and immersive media that help people to learn, improve their communities, and contribute to make the world a better place. G4C partners with technology and gaming companies as well as nonprofits, foundations and government agencies, to run world class events, public arcades, design challenges and youth programs. G4C supports a global community of game developers working to use games to tackle real-world challenges, from humanitarian conflicts to climate change and education.

For more information:

Mabel Chung 

Zebra Partners on behalf of Games for Change

[email protected]