The Liemandt Foundation, a nonprofit family foundation focused on promoting technology-enabled education, is hosting a college student video game development contest with a twist–students are being challenged to build entertaining games that “secretly” teach middle school subjects. Students have complete freedom in their game designs. They may work in teams of up to eight people, can build the games on and for any platform, and may use existing engines if they choose. Games will be judged in May, with five finalist teams flying to Austin, Texas for their final shot at the $25,000 prize. While all submitted games must fulfill teaching and technical requirements, final judging is based on 70 percent entertainment and 30 percent educational value. “The uneven split in judging criteria is crucial,” explains 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.”

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