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An Update on AMD's Changing the Game

By - Source: Tom's Hardware US | B 20 comments

Because it's not always about CPU prices and anticompetition lawsuits.

Last year we spoke to AMD briefly about its new Changing the Game initiative and while there wasn’t much to tell then, AMD is still at it a year on. We caught up with the company yesterday for a little one on one and asked how things had progessed in the since the launch and more importantly how things will go over the next 12 months.

When it was announced, AMD’s Changing the Game was the first effort from the newly formed AMD foundation dedicated to supporting initiatives that encourage and facilitate science, technology, engineering and math learning for current and future generations (STEM skills). In June of last year AMD said it planned to award grants to non-profit organization aimed at improving technical skills by teaching children to develop games with social content.

The idea is to educate kids and bring them a new set of skills that have become just as relevant (if not more) than learning about algebra and conjunctions. Since our last update, AMD has funded four nonprofit organizations that enable youth game development, dabbled in Teen Second Life (we’re not quite sure about that one), and provided funding for an online toolkit that will help nonprofits develop games based around social issues.

However, we’re more interested in the development of a youth game-development curriculum with PETLab and the Boys and Girls Clubs of America. PETLab has just finished testing the curriculum in five pilot cities in the U.S.

Allyson Peerman, President of the AMD Foundation yesterday told us they plan on running a full year of the game-development classes with 6th graders in Austin, Texas.

We’ve made AMD promise to get back to us with feedback from the kids and teachers once the classes start but we’re interested in hearing what you think about teaching kids these skills at such a young age. While we’re all for kids these days learning anything that could help them get ahead in the digital world, there are always a small group of people who think school curriculum should be kept to traditional English, Math, History and a foreign language. If this kind of class was offered for your kid, would you want them to take it? Let us know!

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  • 11 Hide
    skine , May 29, 2009 5:56 PM
    Seeing as I'm starting for my PhD in Mathematics this fall, of course I'm going to say that this is a good thing.

    And for all students going off to college, I would suggest taking as many (pure) mathematics and English courses as possible. The world can do with more people who can speak and write effectively and think rationally.
Other Comments
  • 4 Hide
    wolfseeker2828 , May 29, 2009 5:17 PM
    I am actually in my video gaming class right now. I wish they would have offered a video gaming class back in middle school. I think it's a very good idea to get kids interested in actual careers early so they don't go off to college not knowing what they want to do.
  • 1 Hide
    tenor77 , May 29, 2009 5:35 PM
    I plan on teaching my kids how to program when they're old enough, so yes, yes this is a good thing. I would totally let my kids do this.
  • 11 Hide
    skine , May 29, 2009 5:56 PM
    Seeing as I'm starting for my PhD in Mathematics this fall, of course I'm going to say that this is a good thing.

    And for all students going off to college, I would suggest taking as many (pure) mathematics and English courses as possible. The world can do with more people who can speak and write effectively and think rationally.
  • 6 Hide
    dman3k , May 29, 2009 6:17 PM
    Any courses in middle and high school that offers real world experience is a good thing. Majority of school is a complete waste.
  • 6 Hide
    dravis12 , May 29, 2009 6:18 PM
    I am a huge fan of Dean Kamen's FIRST program. I would totally support more school programs / classes emphasizing science and engineering. The US needs more emphasis STEM skills. AMD is on the right track here if you ask me. Technology helped build this country and is what keeps it alive.
  • 1 Hide
    waikano , May 29, 2009 6:34 PM
    Here is something to think about, and this may not apply to everyone. I currently work in a job that never existed when I was going to school. I think that is going to be the case for most kids today. I think this effort is great even if it is focused on the gaming industry. Yes the traditional stuff still needs to be there, but an emphasis on other things as well, even if they are a set of electives with so many credits required from different options. As a side my oldest son who will be 12 has been on a PC since he was 2 and knows how to use 3.1, 95, 98, XP, & MAC OS7-X. Was developing his own Starcraft Maps at about 2.5-3 (granted they were not the greatest and I often times had to modify them to be playable). Anyway, because the PC is such a part of our lives unlike when I was growing up in the 80s kids these days have a greater advantage.
  • 0 Hide
    tenor77 , May 29, 2009 6:44 PM
    waikano-
    Games are a great way to learn to program. Not only is it more interesting to learn over making a RSS feed or programming a calculator, it enforces OOP without even trying.
  • 2 Hide
    Soul_keeper , May 29, 2009 8:51 PM
    I think this is a poor substitute for pe and physical activity.
    Hopefully this is not the intention.
  • 0 Hide
    Shadow703793 , May 29, 2009 10:21 PM
    Quote:
    Allyson Peerman, President of the AMD Foundation yesterday told us they plan on running a full year of the game-development classes with 6th graders in Austin, Texas.

    Why 6th graders? Shouldn't they like start off with people in high school (9-12) as part of a comp science class?
  • 0 Hide
    zerapio , May 29, 2009 10:23 PM
    Soul_keeperI think this is a poor substitute for pe and physical activity.Hopefully this is not the intention.

    We've evolved to have big brains, not muscles. Let's focus on our skills.

    PD: The post was a satire; I acknowledge that sports are part of a healthy living.
  • 0 Hide
    greliu , May 29, 2009 10:33 PM
    Now, don't get me wrong, I believe that allowing students the access to courses in computer technologies is a great idea, but it should never become required.
  • 0 Hide
    IzzyCraft , May 29, 2009 11:22 PM
    zerapioWe've evolved to have big brains, not muscles. Let's focus on our skills.PD: The post was a satire; I acknowledge that sports are part of a healthy living.

    Yes big brains need a big strong body to pump the blood to that brain physical activity is so under rated at schools. :)  Also it's always good to look healthy nothing wrong with that.
  • 1 Hide
    GAZZOO , May 30, 2009 12:40 AM
    I think it is a great Idear but do not loose site of the fisical interaction needed to socialize in a healthy upbringing
    As it is now our children are spoiled to getting what they want wether its good or bad for them everything now is done through texting on mobiles television and PCs they still need to socialize with friends in group activites to learn,solve,exersize,comunicate and to activly grow outside the PC monitor in reality to form bonds well you know the rest
    But that said I still think what AMD is doing in education wize is the wright way to go forward (and yes I am partialy iliterate) :-)
    Gazz
  • 0 Hide
    Gin Fushicho , May 30, 2009 1:24 AM
    I think its going to make my personal skills more useless , because kids dont ask for as much money , or need it. More job losses for me.
  • 0 Hide
    skine , May 30, 2009 1:26 AM
    GAZZOOI think it is a great Idear but do not loose site of the fisical interaction needed to socialize in a healthy upbringing As it is now our children are spoiled to getting what they want wether its good or bad for them everything now is done through texting on mobiles television and PCs they still need to socialize with friends in group activites to learn,solve,exersize,comunicate and to activly grow outside the PC monitor in reality to form bonds well you know the restBut that said I still think what AMD is doing in education wize is the wright way to go forward (and yes I am partialy iliterate) :-)Gazz

    I agree that social interaction is important, and apparently so does AMD.
    Quote:
    [The program is] aimed at improving technical skills by teaching children to develop games with social content.

    So not only does the creation process require group effort, it produces a social tool.

    Nifty.
  • 0 Hide
    baracubra , May 30, 2009 10:00 AM
    Im in a multimedia class now, and have been for the last 1 and half years. Granted we're not learning programing in this coarse (thats another one), but it is available and I'm attending that next year.

    So far we've learnt how to make 3D animations using 3ds Max, we've also covered filming with green-screen and then importing ourselves into animations. Its totally awsome, and I think its a great opportunity.

    Whilst doing this, I'm doing the Full IB and I've kept my GPA above 3.8, so im doing decent in all the other areas aswell. I feel like I've learnt a lot, and knowing how to advancedly use photoshop and other programs could be real advantagous later on.

    here are 2 links to a brilliant Pizza animation and of me playing and a friend playing [HD] Guitar-Hero on the MOON!!!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=08tsDThanK4
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hPyI8cBbItI
  • 0 Hide
    elbert , May 30, 2009 6:13 PM
    6th grade may be to late. I started coding basic in 3rd grade. As long as you can add and spell a few simple 2, 3, and 4 letter words.

    Without question programing of any kind that requires language like expressions should be seen as language arts. This is as important as spanish, latin, french, and the rest in this digital age.
  • 0 Hide
    anamaniac , May 31, 2009 3:13 AM
    wolfseeker2828I am actually in my video gaming class right now. I wish they would have offered a video gaming class back in middle school. I think it's a very good idea to get kids interested in actual careers early so they don't go off to college not knowing what they want to do.


    Not knowing what you want to do can be quite awful.

    skineSeeing as I'm starting for my PhD in Mathematics this fall, of course I'm going to say that this is a good thing. And for all students going off to college, I would suggest taking as many (pure) mathematics and English courses as possible. The world can do with more people who can speak and write effectively and think rationally.


    I agree that mathematics are beneficial to society, but I see written and spoken communication over stressed in society.
  • 1 Hide
    zodiacfml , June 1, 2009 9:27 AM
    i'm quite surprised with positive comments here...
    indeed, change has become faster almost parallel with evolving tech.
    i just hope this works well and as intended, for example, only kids willing to learn such are allowed.
  • 0 Hide
    skine , June 1, 2009 4:24 PM
    anamaniacI agree that mathematics are beneficial to society, but I see written and spoken communication over stressed in society.

    Overstressed but undertaught.