5th-8th graders (if homeschooled, the equivalent) have the opportunity to design original video games or mobile games using free platforms. The contest is inspired by President Obama’s, Educate to Innovate campaign. Prizes go to the institution designated by the applicant. Sponsoring organizations include the Joan Ganz Cooney Center, ALA, and AASL among others. How might your library be involved?

The platforms being used are Scratch, GameStar Mechanic, and Game Maker . The resources page for the contest points you to tutorials or learning guides for each program. A list of open platforms such as Flash and Game Salad are also included here.

The Learning Curve at the Indianapolis Marion County Public Library are offering media workshops for middle schoolers to sign up for the software and participate in the contest.

Learn how to get started with some of the free software that’s part of the contest and see what you can do to get your tweens and teens started. Hosting open times they can use your lab or a few computers dedicated to the project, can let them know the library is a resource that supports their interest in playing and making video games. Having the students teach one another can also go a long way toward developing their leadership and technical skills.

Submissions can be sent in starting October 13 and end January 5, 2011. More information for the contest can be found here.

About Kelly Czarnecki

Kelly Czarnecki is a Teen Librarian at ImaginOn with the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library. She is a member of the YALSA blog advisory board.

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