Building on research that suggests video-game design can be a significant learning tool, especially to promote science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) skills in the classroom, the nonprofit Alliance for Young Authors & Writers, Scholastic Inc., and the AMD Foundation have launched a free online platform for educators and parents. Called Level Up!, the new website offers game-building resources and curriculum materials for middle and high school students, keeping them engaged and motivated while they learn 21st-century skills such as strategic thinking, problem solving, team building, planning, and execution. Level Up! Provides a series of standards-based lessons that give students the knowledge and tools to design their own video games, and after students have completed their games, they are encouraged to submit these to the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards for a chance to win scholarships and prizes. Two versions of the curriculum are available: One for beginner to intermediate-level students, and one for intermediate to advanced-level students. http://www.scholastic.com/createvideogames

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Jeff Festa