New York City Video Game Design Workshops Full of Creative Energy

Workshops took place at HIVE partner organizations throughout New York City.

Now that the 2013 National STEM Video Game Challenge has wrapped up, we are busy analyzing the results of this year’s competition and the activities that surrounded it. One of the areas we’ve been digging into are the game design workshops that took place around the country with the support of organizations like the Institute of Museum and Library Sciences and the HIVE Digital Media Learning Fund in the New York Community Trust.  In this post, we’ll look at some of the workshops that took place in New York City thanks to the generous support of the HIVE.

This spring, the Cooney Center, Global Kids, and E-Line Media led 11 workshops with the HIVE that reached more than 230 middle and high school students throughout New York City. These workshops were intended to spark an interest in STEM, especially among minorities and females since these groups are currently underrepresented in STEM careers, and promote participation in the National STEM Video Game Challenge.

There were two kinds of workshops this year: one focused on core elements of game design and introduced students to the Gamestar Mechanic game design platform, and the other taught students how to pitch game design ideas to a panel of expert video game designers from companies such as E-Line Media and BrainPop. Participants were encouraged to apply the skills they acquired at the workshops to create their own games to submit to the National STEM Video Game Challenge. Youth mentors from Global Kids, E-Line and Hive community staff members led all of the workshops, which took place at the American Museum of Natural History, Brooklyn Public Library, Global Kids, Iridescent, Museum of the Moving Image, New York Hall of Science, New York Public Library, and THE POINT.

All workshop participants—students, youth mentors, and institutional leaders—were invited to complete surveys about their experience. We were delighted by the results, which suggest that students who attended enjoyed learning game design at the workshops. Out of the 175 students who filled out the survey, 91% “strongly agreed” or “agreed” that the workshop met their expectations and they learned what they were hoping to learn. Moreover, 92% of respondents reported that they would recommend the workshop, and many students noted that they learned a lot from the workshop, often commenting that it was “helpful” and “useful.” Students described the workshop as “fun,” “interesting,” “exciting”—and even “cool.” And the workshops may have long-term impacts on some students’ career path: 40% of students surveyed reported that the workshops inspired them to pursue a video game or technology-based career.

We’re grateful to our partners and sponsors for making the National STEM Challenge an exciting and productive project for all involved. It’s exciting to see the impact that workshops like those developed for the Hive can have on kids.  In a future post, we will delve into the national outreach that is underway to a fantastic group of museums, libraries and STEM-oriented after school programs, with generous support from the Institute for Museum and Library Services.  As a preview, you can see a local news station’s coverage of a workshop that took place in Madison, Wisconsin below.

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