June 17, 2024

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High school students to create video games for social change at AT&T & RIT ROCtheChange Game Jam Jan. 15

3 min read

Rochester-area public school students will create social change using video games at the AT&T & RIT ROCtheChange Game Jam held Jan. 15—the first free youth game jam in the region.

At the event, local students in grades 8-12 will learn about programming and get hands-on experience creating functional digital video games. With the event taking place on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday, students will be challenged to create games with the theme of social change and social good.

To eliminate economic barriers, the game jam is free. All technology and meals will be provided. Additionally, students are not required to have any previous experience with computer coding or digital game design.

The game jam is a collaboration between RIT’s School of Interactive Games and Media and AT&T. It aims to expand digital literacy skills and coding and game development opportunities for Rochester-area students—especially those from underrepresented schools and communities. The program seeks to help youth from all backgrounds and economic situations consider careers in the growing technology job market, an industry that is known for its lack of diversity.

The AT&T & RIT ROCtheChange Game Jam will take place from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Jan. 15, in RIT’s Golisano College of Computing and Information Sciences building. Parents can register their children on the Eventbrite page by Dec. 31, 2021. The event is limited to 65 students.

Throughout the day, professors and students from RIT’s School of Interactive Games and Media will help participants learn the basic technology and digital skills needed to create digital games. Additionally, game makers will be there to talk about what it’s like to have a career in game design and development.

When creating the games, students will incorporate ideas of social change into the themes and actions of the gameplay. Topics can include Go Green, Stand Up, Speak Up, Equality for All, and Mental Health Awareness/Support. The projects will then be scored by a panel of judges made up of game developers, local tech experts, community leaders, education experts, and elected officials.

The event is made possible by financial support and event management collaboration from AT&T, as part of the company’s $2 billion nationwide commitment to help bridge the digital divide and homework gap.

AT&T’s partnership with RIT to develop and offer the free game jam aligns with AT&T’s legacy of supporting the digital divide and educational programs focused on digital literacy and STEM disciplines in New York, through the AT&T Aspire initiative. Aspire is one of the nation’s largest corporate commitments focused on advancing education, creating opportunities, strengthening communities, and improving lives, particularly amongst historically underserved populations, by creating new learning environments and educational delivery systems that promote racial equity in academic and economic achievement.

RIT’s School of Interactive Games and Media offers some of the best programs for aspiring game developers in the world, according to international rankings from The Princeton Review.

For more information and to register for the event, go to the AT&T & RIT ROCtheChange Game Jam Eventbrite page.

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