Posted in kids, online community, web business

Whyville helping teach future game industry execs

Another group of students will participate in the second half of the three-year program.  In addition to designing games, they’ll learn how to run a business, from hiring to marketing. They’ll earn salaries in Whyville’s currency, the clam. They’ll also be paired with mentors and tour UC Santa Cruz and the headquarters of Google in Mountain View and game-maker Electronic Arts in Redwood City.

Program coordinator Jacob Martinez of ETR Associates said the idea is to show students even if they aren’t interested in technology, there’s plenty of other opportunities in tech-based businesses.

“Game design’s the hook,” he said. “But they are getting all these other skills, too”But persuading girls that technology can be fun is a big part of the program.In other fields, women have caught up with, even surpassed, men, but in computer science and engineering, a gender gap persists.

According to a 2003 National Science Foundation study of graduates, men outnumbered women more than 2-1 in earning bachelor’s degrees in computer science and more than 3-1 in engineering.

ETR’s Jill Denner, who wrote the grant with co-worker Steven Bean and now serves as project director, says there’s even more at stake than the gender gap.”The National Science Foundation recognizes young people aren’t going into information technology at the rate we need to stay competitive,” Denner said.

Gaming class aims to spark girls’ interest in computer careers – By Donna Jones – Sentinel Staff Writer – May 4, 2007

I like this initiative/partnership.  I taught intro game design to this age group before and for the kids it speaks to, the topic really inspires them to learn more. 

Rock-on Whyville.  You are getting ton of press lately – your PR person deserves a raise. 😛

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Joi Podgorny has spent the better part of the past 2 decades working on the bleeding edge of the technology and entertainment industries, from content/brand development and production to leading international support, moderation, community and social teams. Most recently, Joi founded Good People Collective, a consulting agency focused on helping companies and organizations establish, assess and pivot their internal and external cultures to help maximize their potential. She and her team are currently working on an exciting new software project, combining corporate training and virtual reality.

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