The Liemandt Foundation, a family foundation in Austin, Texas, committed to promoting technology-enabled education, has announced its second annual college student video game development contest, which challenges student teams to build entertaining games that "secretly" teach middle school subjects.
The Hidden Agenda contest focuses on the notion of "stealth education" in gaming, encouraging students to create games that subtly teach middle school science and math topics such as forces, statistics, and the periodic table. The winning team receives a $25,000 prize. While all submitted games must fulfill teaching and technical requirements to be considered, final judging will be based on 70 percent entertainment and 30 percent educational value. "The uneven split in judging criteria is crucial," said program director Lauren Davis. "In the past, educational games have failed because no matter how well they taught, kids just weren't motivated to absorb information. Children will only learn from the games they want to play."
More than sixty students nationwide competed in the contest's first year, with five finalist teams traveling to Austin and presenting their games to a panel of expert judges in June. The winning entry, developed by a group of four students from the University of Central Florida, was an online robot battle game that teaches properties of physics and chemistry.
This year, prospective applicants have until December to enter a rough concept idea, and, if accepted, must build their games by May 2005. See the contest Web site for more information: http://www.hiddenagenda.com/.