Pflugerville High School students are carrying on the Austin reputation for quality high-tech innovation through the campus’s new Digital & Interactive Media class. The class began last year and focuses on designing video games – something of interest to many students – and is on its second year.
In only the first year of the program, three students won the high school category in a national video game contest. Jessica Page, Monica Moltz and Joel Barrow won the Healthivores™ Video Game Contest hosted by Green Ribbon Schools for their project, “Food Pyramid Expedition.” The organization partnered with the AMD Foundation to award Advanced Micro Devices (AMD)-powered laptops to the four national winners’ campuses and the students’ teacher.
“The students worked on this project in class for about five weeks; around 20 to 25 hours,” Raul Ochoa, PHS teacher said. “They worked through all the phases of the software development lifecycle: research & analysis, design, development, testing, implementation. They also documented their process and uploaded all the items required for the contest by Green Ribbon Schools to their website.”
Roughly 110 students at PHS competed in the contest as teams. Nearly 400 entries were submitted from 42 schools from across the United States and winners were selected by judges from the video game, technology, and health sectors.
“I was very proud of the students for working on the video game contest,” Ochoa said. “They put in a lot of hard work & effort. I feel that this was a great opportunity for students at PHS to integrate technology with healthy living. This was a great learning experience for our students and an excellent example of the great opportunities that are offered through our Career & Technical Education Programs here at PISD.”
The Healthivores™ video game contest was launched to help kids get smart about health. Students were guided through the process of designing their own video games to teach a health lesson to other students on topics ranging from nutrition and exercise to fighting cancer.
“The Healthivores™ contest was tailored to engage youth in STEM learning through game design while introducing them to the importance of healthy eating,” said Allyson Peerman, president of the AMD Foundation. “Not only do they learn STEM skills, they have a lot of fun in the process, two key objectives of the AMD Changing the Game initiative.”
Green Ribbon Schools developed the Healthivores™ campaign to address dangerous health problems in today’s youth, such as childhood obesity and diabetes. The contest engages students from all types and sizes of schools in learning about personal health (nutrition, exercise, disease prevention), while also developing each child’s STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) skills.
“The beauty of the Healthivore™ program is its ability to scale across schools and districts,” said Steve Amos, executive director of Green Ribbon Schools. “A small school in Maine has as much to gain as a large one in suburban Colorado.”
AMD Changing the Game, the signature education initiative of the AMD Foundation, is designed to take gaming beyond entertainment and inspire youth to learn critical education and life skills by equipping them to create digital games with social content. The program’s purpose is to promote the use of youth game development as a tool to inspire learning and improve STEM skills.