2014, Brazil. Game design students from various São Paulo universities attend the opening of the UNICEF and Electronic Arts partnership contest. Photo credit: UNICEF/BRZ/Thaiza Castilho
2014, Brazil. Game design students from various São Paulo universities attend the opening of the UNICEF and Electronic Arts partnership contest. Photo credit: UNICEF/BRZ/Thaiza Castilho

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote a blog introducing an awesome project that UNICEF Innovation is working on in partnership with Electronic Arts and the UNICEF Brazil country office. Combining education, football, video games, and the spirit of innovation, this project asks game design students in São Paulo to form teams to create “edutainment” video games for submission to the first ever UNICEF/EA video game development contest. This weekend, the student participants gathered for the first time to hear about this exciting new model for educating children; our partners in Brazil gave us an overview of how this first meeting went (see below).

We’re incredibly excited to see what the next step in this contest brings, and what ideas these students share with us. We’ll keep sharing everything with you as things move forward. To read more about the game design contest, visit the Facebook page here.

Jennie Bernstein
Brazil Game Project Lead
Innovation Unit, UNICEF NYHQ

São Paulo, February 17th, 2014 – About 70 students attended thematic preparatory sessions of the Game Development Contest, an initiative launched by UNICEF and Electronic Arts on February 15th, in Sao Paulo.

The event took place on the Sciences and Technology Faculty campus from one of the universities supporting this initiative and was attended by students and teachers from different higher education institutions that offer digital games courses in São Paulo.

During the morning there were presentations to explain the initiative, its purpose and its rules, as well as to share information on the living conditions of children in the Brazilian semiarid. Students had the opportunity to ask questions about the contest’s regulations and the national education exams, while they also received suggestions about how they should be organized for the development of their projects.

In the afternoon the participants attended specific workshops with contents related to the development of digital games such as puzzles and processes for the creation of 2D and 3D platforms, as well as a workshop around issues facing children and the work of UNICEF in the Brazilian semiarid region.

2014, Brazil. UNICEF and Electronic Arts representatives introduce the game design contest to students. Photo credit: UNICEF/BRZ/Thaiza Castilho
2014, Brazil. UNICEF and Electronic Arts representatives introduce the game design contest to students. Photo credit: UNICEF/BRZ/Thaiza Castilho

The aim of the contest is to stimulate the development of digital games that can strengthen necessary literacy and logical skills for children from 6 to 8 years so that learning can take place in a fun, interactive, motivating and challenging way.

The contest will have several eliminatory stages and during one of these stages the selected games will be tested with children in the public school system in some of the municipalities in the Brazilian semiarid region.

Supporting this initiative are some of the best higher education institutions in digital games from Brazil such as Pontifícia Universidade Católica de São Paulo (PUC-SP), the Faculdades Metropolitanas Unidas (FMU), Universidade Anhembi Morumbi, Senac and Universidade de São Paulo (ECA-USP).

The result will be announced on June 6, 2014 at the UNICEF website in Brazil and on the contest page on Facebook. Winners will be awarded with a trip to the Electronic Arts studio in Vancouver, Canada.

By Karla Corrêa
Private Sector Fundraising Officer, UNICEF Brazil

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