The G.A.M.E.S. Program (Girls Advancing Mathematics, Engineering and Science) is an ambitious, broad-based effort to use the power of gaming to engage girls in middle school, in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, as well as technology-related arts (we call it “STEM”). The specific initiative: to launch, by fall 2017, three commercial-quality video games that achieve the goal.
This is not the first effort of its kind, and it is true that so-called edutainment games have a spotty record, at best, in terms of reaching their ambitious goals. But this one promises to be different, given what we have learned and who is involved.
We are at a tipping point for getting girls engaged in gaming, and there is greater momentum than ever before for connecting girls and women to STEM – related careers. Fact: The Girl Scouts of Greater Los Angeles introduced a Game Design merit badge this year, and it goes beyond a similar merit badge introduced by the Boy Scouts, requiring girls to program as well as design their games.
Unlike a number of past efforts sponsored and funded by public entities, we are proposing a realistic game development timeline and philanthropic funding sources to help ensure that the winning games are not just professional, but also scalable.
And G.A.M.E.S. already includes an impressive array of sponsors and participants. In addition to Northeastern University Seattle, the sponsors include the Institute for Systems Biology and the National Girls Collaborative Project, a consortium of “girl-serving” STEM organizations in over 40 states with over 7 million girls members across the United States.
More than two-dozen leaders from the worlds of game design, education, interactive media, science, and public service have committed to be actively involved in the G.A.M.E.S. Program.
The stakes are well known by now. America’s advancement in STEM education and STEM fields is the key to a robust innovation-based economy. But by the time they enter high school, most young women in America have lost interest in STEM fields, draining away the talent pool that the country needs, and depriving girls of rich opportunities to be tomorrow’s leaders in technology, engineering, and other STEM-related fields
Because girls were not engaged in science and mathematics at the right time in their lives, there may be diseases uncured and energy challenges unmet.
Follow along and contribute online with #Games4STEM .
Help us reverse the trend.
Find out more at northeastern.edu/seattle/games