High school students will create video games for social change at AT&T & RIT ROCtheChange Game Jam on January 15

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Rochester-area public school students will create social change using video games at the AT&T & RIT ROCtheChange Game Jam held January 15, the region’s first free youth game jam.

At the event, local students in grades 8-12 will learn programming and gain hands-on experience creating working digital video games. With the event taking place on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday, students will be challenged to create games themed around 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 prior computer coding or digital game design experience.

The game jam is a collaboration between RIT’s School of Interactive Games and Media and AT&T. It aims to develop digital literacy skills and coding and game development opportunities for students in the Rochester area, especially those from underrepresented schools and communities. The program aims to help young people from all walks of life and economic status consider careers in the growing tech job market, an industry notorious for its lack of diversity.

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

Throughout the day, faculty and students from RIT’s School of Interactive Games and Media will help participants learn the basic technologies and digital skills needed to create digital games. Plus, game creators 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 social change ideas into gameplay themes and actions. Topics may include Go Green, Stand Up, Speak Up, Equality for All, and Mental Health Awareness/Support. The projects will then be scored by a judging panel made up of game developers, local technology experts, community leaders, education experts and elected officials.

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

AT&T’s partnership with RIT to develop and deliver 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 City, through the AT&T Aspire initiative. Aspire is one of the nation’s largest corporate commitments focused on advancing education, creating opportunity, strengthening communities and improving lives, especially among historically underserved populations. , creating new learning environments and education delivery systems that promote racial equity in academic and economic success.

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

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

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