News

Students receive innovation grants for games and apps

By Michael Sharnoff, Associate Online Editor, @Michael_eSM
October 6th, 2014

Minority students honored for creating new apps and games that stimulate ed-tech growth and development

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Students showcasing their apps and games. Credit: The author

At a special luncheon in Washington, D.C., on Oct. 2, 20 students from across the United States received awards from the Hispanic Heritage Foundation and the Entertainment Software Association as Leaders on the Fast Track (LOFT) Video Game Innovation Fellows for creating apps and video games that address math, science, and important social issues.

Many minority professionals, including Jose Antonio Tijerino, president and CEO of Hispanic Heritage Foundation, were present to get an exclusive look at some of the next future ed-tech leaders of America.

“We believe that video games are a compelling gateway for teaching students how to code and build their own games and mobile apps—skills that will ultimately help prepare them to compete in today’s technology-driven marketplace. We will empower them to be become content creators, not just consumers,” said Tijerino.

Tina Jo Rodriguez, chief strategy officer Comunicad, a Virginia-based cross-cultural public relations and marketing communications agency, was in the audience as a visitor. She had this to say: “I am very impressed with the innovation and work these young people are doing. It is very inspiring.”

These ambitious, precocious, and intellectually curious students from public and private schools presented diverse app and game prototypes on issues such as environmental awareness, the human and emotional consequences of drone strikes and how they can relate to cyber bullying, and interactive math games using race cars.

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Hispanic Heritage Foundation President Jose Antonio Tijerino awarding the fellows. Credit: The author

The students will present their ideas to the Obama administration, Congress, and community leaders, and each fellow will receive a generous innovation grant to help turn their prototypes into completed applications for a mass audience.

A complete list of the innovation fellows and their projects can be found here.

Michael Sharnoff is Associate Online Editor at eSchool News. Follow him on Twitter @Michael_eSM.