Schools Team Up to Offer Youth Game Dev Program

Longwood University, Virginia State University and the Southern Virginia Higher Education Center have linked up in order to offer area ninth-grade students a chance to learn more about developing interactive games.

What’s unique about this program is that participants will spend a good deal of time learning how controllers and other gaming input devices work, in addition to gaining knowledge on the programming needed to create games. The program, named Digispired ii, is funded by a $1.0 million grant from the National Science Foundation, according to the Richmond Times-Dispatch.

The program last three-years and will accept 20 new students this year, each of whom will receive a $400 stipend. Digispired ii consists of a two-week course this summer, followed by an additional ten Saturday meetings along the course of the school year.

Dr. Manorama Talaiver, Director of Longwood University’s Institute for Teaching Through Technology and Innovative Practices, and author of the grant, said about Digispired, “As we work with students to develop their interest in and enthusiasm for game design, this should motivate them to explore careers related to game design. Thus, we will be developing creators of interactive games rather than users of computer games.”

The progress of students will be tracked throughout in order to determine the impact the program has on selecting college courses. The program is offered on each school’s campus. A sampling of work from current program enrollees can be seen here. An application to join the program is also available on the Digispired website.

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