Funded! This project was successfully funded on July 2, 2009.

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GameCamp! Athens needs your help to launch its first camp this July! Money will go to equipment, scholarships for the kids, and hiring experts!

GameCamp! Athens is a children's camp being launched this Summer at the University of Georgia (exclamation point is intentional, btw!). GameCamp! is part of a proven program in Texas and Louisiana that teaches participants about video game design, helping them gain 21st century skills in the process. The kids will be designing games based on social issues to help give their work further relevance to the world around them.

GameCamp! Athens is being run through my program at the University of Georgia–Learning, Design, and Technology–in conjunction with the Georgia Center for Continuing Education. We'd like for some children of lower socioeconomic status to attend, but the cost of the camp is a little prohibitive (nearly $400 per participant). We need money for scholarships to help these students attend as well as donations for equipment (video game systems, TVs, computers, etc.). In addition, we are bringing in industry professionals for their expertise.

This is not the beginning and end of GameCamp! Athens, either. We want to do after-school programs, camps for younger kids, and even programs for adults. We believe that video games and interactive media are not just for shooting aliens and zombies (though there is nothing wrong with that!). They can be inspiring creative outlets and can also educate kids about computers, science, math, and even social issues!

All donations will go the UGA Arch Fund and are earmarked for use by GameCamp! Athens. Though we are part of the university we are not funded by them; we require private funding to operate. We will take 1 dollar folks and 1000 dollar folks equally, and we are also open to other creative types of sponsorship.

We're setting the goal at $3000, but we'd love to raise more, to be honest. Think about the kids that can benefit from this type of experience!

Thanks for your support!
Lucas Jensen

Fancy press release thing starts now:

GameCamp!™ launching to be held July 20th to 24th, 2009!
Unique partnership between the University of Georgia and GameCamp!™ to teach attendees the fundamentals of game design

The University of Georgia Center for Continuing Education is pleased to announce the launch of Athens' first GameCamp!™, to be held in partnership with UGA's Learning, Design, and Technology program and the national GameCamp!™ organization. GameCamp!™ is a summer program designed to teach participants the ins and outs of video and computer game design and the video game industry. A unique aspect of this summer camp experience is an emphasis on developing 21st century skills to help participants to better compete in the global economics of the future. GameCamp!™ will he held at the Georgia Center in Athens, GA, from July 20-24, 2009. The camp will be administered by the Georgia Center under the auspices of GameCamp!™. The cost of the camp is $369 per participant.

GameCamp!™ is a summer program for high school students that are interested in learning more about gaming. The camp uses computer and video game design activities to motivate students to learn 21st century skills. Students learn to problem solve, work in groups, design software, and understand the economic and management issues associated with game development. The most powerful part of the GameCamp!™ model is the ability to draw students back into the academic fold by harnessing their passion for video games and giving them a relevant context for understanding concepts across different educational fields. Josh Squires, a University of Georgia graduate student in the Learning, Design, and Technology program, initiated the new GameCamp!™, after observing a previous iteration in Texas. Squires states that one of the main goals of GameCamp!™ is to "instill a passion for learning through fun game related tasks." "The students will be grouped together according to areas in which they are struggling in school," explains Squires. "These groups will then work with our camp counselors and design a game prototype that relates to that area in which they are being challenged at school. The project-based learning style and connection to industry professionals creates a powerful learning environment for participants." This connection to the video game industry is important for the students. "At the end of this week these students will present their game designs to actual game developers and receive real world feedback on their designs," says Squires. Squires is quick to note that this camp is not a "tools camp." The emphasis of GameCamp!™ is on collaborative learning, critical thinking, and learning the basics of the game industry. "We are going to be working with them on many skills that will transfer throughout their educational as well as professional careers," says Squires. "We are focusing on skills that will allow students to critically look at games through the lens of a game designer." GameCamp!™ attendees will be able to identify the different components of how games are designed, developed, as well as produced.

GameCamp!™ is an existing summer program for middle and high school students, currently held in Texas and in Louisiana. The camp uses the design activity of computer gaming to teach students about the skills, tools, processes and procedures involved in video game and digital media industry. The Georgia Center's version of GameCamp!™ will partner with the national Game Camp! organization (http://www.gamecamp.org) using their expertise, skills, resources, and experience to better provide an innovative and unique experience for its participants.

The Learning, Design, and Technology (LDT) program prepares individuals to engage in advanced scholarly inquiry related to the design, development, and evaluation of effective interactive learning environments. It's part of UGA's Department of Educational Psychology and Instructional Technology (EPIT). EPIT prepares professionals for careers as college teachers and university professors, educators of the gifted and creative, school library media specialists, school psychologists, instructional designers, technology specialists in schools, trainers in business and industry, researchers and test developers. Offering an array of renowned graduate programs that are perennially ranked among the nation's top 20 by U.S. News and World Report, the department is known for its highly regarded faculty, rigorous academic standards and heritage as a pioneer in the measurement of human creativity.

The University of Georgia Center for Continuing Education: http://www.georgiacenter.uga.edu/ppd/summer_academy/classes.phtml
GameCamp™: http://www.gamecamp.org
The Department of Educational Psychology and Instructional Technology: http://www.coe.uga.edu/epit/

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