The AMD Foundation today announced grants of more than $125,000 for educational programs that mark the non-profit’s expansion into Canada. The grants were awarded to the Boys & Girls Clubs of Canada and Friends of York University at the 2011 INplay Conference. The awards support AMD’s education initiative, AMD Changing the Game, which is designed to inspire students’ interest in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) by creating video games.
“The AMD Foundation is committed to partnering with organizations that can help us meet students on common ground to build critical STEM skills,” said Allyson Peerman, President of the AMD Foundation. “The Boys & Girls Clubs of Canada and York University are innovators in the education space and the perfect partners to help us grow educational game design curricula in Canada.”
The Boys & Girls Clubs of Canada will receive $45,000 to create two new computer labs with Acer computers powered by AMD Fusion APUs and $32,000 to deploy Game Tech pilot programs that will familiarize students with video game design principles and the STEM skills involved in the process.
“We are thrilled to have the opportunity to expand our technology learning programs for youth by enabling our Club members to access Game Tech,” said Pam Jolliffe, CEO and President, Boys & Girls Clubs of Canada. “Using game design to support youth in their learning and get them excited about learning is an innovative approach that we think will encourage our youth to be actively engaged.”
The Ontario grants are the most recent collaboration between AMD Changing the Game and the Boys & Girls Clubs of Canada. The Game Tech curriculum offers Club members ages 9-13 the opportunity to explore video game design and teaches systems thinking, introductory programming and problem-solving skills. The program is also designed to expose members to gaming career fields.
Friends of York University will receive $15,000 to create a computer lab equipped with AMD-based technology, and $35,000 to develop after school programs that encourage girls aged 13-15 to make use of video game design as a way to harness the power of new media development for under-privileged youth in the Greater Toronto/York Region. After school programs will be enhanced with a summer camp opportunity that will provide access for additional students, supplemental mentoring and confidence building opportunities.
“York University researchers are making new breakthroughs in digital media and gaming,” said Stan Shapson, Vice-President Research & Innovation at York University. “We are excited to partner with the AMD Foundation to extend our research and outreach into the pedagogy of gaming to engage high school girls. These opportunities will provide students with technical skills while giving the participants insight into careers in the gaming and digital media industries.”
AMD Changing the Game is designed to take gaming beyond entertainment and inspire youth to learn critical education and life skills by equipping them to create digital games with social content. The program’s purpose is to promote the use of youth game development as a tool to inspire learning and improve science, technology, education and math (STEM) skills. The initiative is rooted in AMD’s long history of supporting education, along with the company’s passion and expertise in the graphics processor and gaming industries.
Since its launch in June 2008, AMD Changing the Game has:
- Funded 33 programs by 21 organizations in the United States, China, Malaysia, Germany and Canada that enable youth game development
- Co-sponsored the U.S. National STEM Video Game Challenge and joined Change the Equation in support of the US Educate to Innovate campaign
- Co-sponsored, along with the Entertainment Software Association, The Atlantic Intelligence Series Technologies in Education Forum
- Funded the creation and implementation of the Game Tech program at 10 local Boys & Girls Clubs across the country.
- Funded the creation of Level Up!, a comprehensive online teaching resource providing curricula and tools for middle and high school educators to teach students video game design and improve their STEM and language arts skills
- Funded the creation of a social impact game community within the Gamestar Mechanic game development platform
- Funded the creation of the AMD Game Zone within the Whyville.net virtual learning world
- Funded the development of the World Wide Workshop Foundation’s Globaloria game-design program for the Southwest Key’s East Austin College Prep Academy in 2009 and 2010
- Funded the Alliance for Young Artists & Writers new video game design category for the 2010 and 2011 Scholastic Art & Writing Awards
- Funded Schmahl Science Workshop’s program to develop a sustainable fishing video game to communicate the danger of over fishing to long-term human survival
- Co-sponsored the 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011 Games for Change Festival