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An Update on AMD's Changing the Game

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!

  • wolfseeker2828
    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.
    Reply
  • tenor77
    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.
    Reply
  • skine
    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.
    Reply
  • dman3k
    Any courses in middle and high school that offers real world experience is a good thing. Majority of school is a complete waste.
    Reply
  • dravis12
    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.
    Reply
  • waikano
    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.
    Reply
  • tenor77
    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.
    Reply
  • Soul_keeper
    I think this is a poor substitute for pe and physical activity.
    Hopefully this is not the intention.
    Reply
  • Shadow703793
    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?
    Reply
  • zerapio
    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.
    Reply