Teachers and Parents

This section contains information and resources to help parents and teachers get involved with the Australian STEM Video Game Challenge!

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STEM

What is STEM?

STEM stands for science, technology, engineering and mathematics, which are among the most critical disciplines required for businesses to succeed in the 21st century.

While the need for STEM experts is growing, the Office of the Chief Scientist reports that the number of students studying STEM disciplines in senior secondary school has been declining in Australia, leading to fewer students pursuing post-secondary study in STEM fields.

Why is STEM important?

The decline in the number of skilled, ready-to-work STEM graduates has been identified by Australian businesses as the number one barrier to innovation1. Without an immediate and urgent focus on these subjects in education, it will not be long before Australia slips from its place as the 19th largest economy in the world.

There is a need to find ways to encourage and engage students to study STEM. To this end, the Australian STEM Video Game Challenge was established by the Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER) through the ACER Foundation with a view to encouraging students to develop an interest in study and employment in STEM fields.

The Challenge invites students to create, not just play, games. It is designed to develop skills and engagement with STEM through fun, creativity, problem solving and ingenuity. The Challenge also aims to specifically encourage participation among disadvantaged students and females, who, according to Careers Australia, are traditionally under-represented in STEM studies and careers.

1 PwC, ‘Expanding Australia’s Economy: How digital can drive the change ’, 2014.

Video games and STEM

Kids love video games. The process of creating a video game involves systems based thinking,  problem solving, iterative design, communication and interaction – both with others and with technology – skills that are, and will be, highly desirable in the workforce and the workplaces of the future.

Research shows that gaming and game-making is an effective learning aid. For example, collaboration between neuroscience and educational research has discovered that video games enhance a range of cognitive functions and generate responses in the brain associated with attention and learning. Academics and industry experts agree that gaming and game-making have a place in the classroom.

The Australian STEM Video Game Challenge aims to increase interest and participation in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics disciplines by harnessing kids’ love of video games and inviting school students in Years 5 to 12 to create an original video game based on STEM themes and concepts. 

The Australian STEM Video Game Challenge provides students with a real-world opportunity to apply their skills and knowledge in STEM to create games that are interactive, stimulating and meaningful. The Challenge uses fun, creativity and innovation to develop students’ skills for living and working in a rapidly changing technological landscape. The Challenge encourages skills like working collaboratively, problem solving, iterative design, communication and computational thinking.

Get involved

The Challenge caters for students with different levels of coding or game development skills, from beginners through to experienced hands.

Students can use any development platform they like, as long as the judges can play their game without needing a subscription or license. When choosing a platform you need to consider the child’s game-making knowledge and experience and their programming ability.

For example, students who have never coded or developed games before might use Stencyl, which requires no coding, or Gamestar Mechanic, which teaches students the foundations of game mechanics as they play games and allows them to ‘earn’ sprites for building their own games.  More advanced students may consider using Unity, which allows students to develop games in 2D or 3D and is much more complex, requiring greater game development and coding skills.

For more information about what is required by the students go to the students page.

Visit Students page

So get your principal and your school onboard with the Australian STEM Video Game Challenge and help students to engage with science, technology, engineering and mathematics in a new, different and challenging way.

It’s completely free to enter, and links to tools are provided – all that’s needed is imagination and a great idea for a game!

Request a free information pack

Resources and lesson plans

Our ongoing aim is to provide more resources and workshops for teachers, parents and students to help students with the development of their video game, and to help engage more Australian students in STEM subjected and related disciplines.

We have curated a section of resources for parents and teachers to aid in fostering engagement for your child or student, outline why it is important for children to code and highlight how vast the benefits are of learning to code.

View Resources for Teachers and Parents

Teacher Learning Packs

Interested in using video games to teach your students, but not sure where to start?
We're here to help! Download Teacher Learning Pack V1.0 below.

Dowload Teacher Learning Pack V1.0

Dowload Teacher Learning Pack V1.1*

*Please note you will need the latest version of Adobe Acrobat Reader for this version

Platform Support

Have a look at the tutorials and teacher/parent support materials developed by the different platforms.

Join our mailing list or follow us on Twitter via @stemgamesAUS to be kept up to date on new resources as they become available.

Community

We are looking at setting up a teacher and parent community. Sign up to our mailing list or follow us on Twitter via @stemgamesAUS to find out more.

In the meantime, Australian teachers are encouraged to sign up to receive an information pack

Request an Information pack

Contact

The Australian STEM Video Game Challenge team loves talking to people about education, STEM, video games and how all three things can work together.

We are always on the lookout for new partners and organisations that can support our goal of making STEM learning fun and interactive.

You can reach us using the details below:

Email      contact@stemgames.org.au
Twitter     @STEMGamesAus

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