Three Digital Technology Entrepreneurs Collaborate to Stimulate Math and Science Learning in Urban Areas with the Urban Video Game Academy

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Digital Arts & Technology Learning Center announces the Urban Video Game Academy at E3. The newly formed private non-profit organization will use the video game development model to enhance math and science performance in school-age students across the US.

Three entrepreneurs announced today at the 2005 Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3), the world's largest computer game expo, that they are channeling their passion for technology and video game development into a new education initiative, entitled “The Urban Video Game Academy™” (UVGA), that uses the components of video game design and development to foster new pathways to learning in math, art, and science for school-age students in underserved areas.

The UVGA is the brainchild of Joseph Saulter, professor of the game technology curriculum at American Intercontinental University (AiU); Mario Armstrong, TV and National Public Radio (NPR) digital technology guru; and Roderick Woodruff, president and co-founder of AAGAMER.com.

The UVGA creates a bridge between the rigorous design, programming, and development requirements of the game industry and the foundations for competency in math and science. “The curriculum helps to demystify math and science for urban school-age children by applying the subjects in the game development environment. In addition to further studies in video game development, the program helps these students prepare for engineering, computer science and digital media studies,” says AiU Professor Joseph Saulter.

Saulter, who heads the academy’s curriculum development, says, ”We want our students to embrace the foundations of geometry, physics, and creativity when we apply them in the fun and interactive world of computer gaming.”

The UVGA is managed by a new private non-profit organization called the Digital Arts & Technology Learning Center® (DATLC). The DATLC will provide an enhanced technology preparatory curriculum for school-age children that will be made available through partnerships and outreach in primarily underserved urban communities. The UVGA will launch in the Washington, DC, Baltimore, MD and Atlanta, GA metro areas in June 2005 and will eventually be made available to school systems, parks and recreation districts, churches, public housing authorities, and other non-profit organizations throughout the U.S.

“Our plans are ambitious,” states Roderick Woodruff, who heads up marketing and industry relations for DATLC. “We plan to provide new pathways to learning by using video game design and development to engage students who are performing below standards in math and science."

The video game industry acknowledges $38 billion in sales of software and related hardware. Currently, game industry revenue is outpacing revenue for movie studio productions and also for the music recording industry. “We know the video game environment is a catalyst for creativity and experience," says Mario Armstrong, who leads media and government relations as well as technology research for DATLC. "When an inner city youth tells you of his aspirations of becoming a programmer and wanting to learn the Japanese language, the UVGA will help bridge that gap and create the opportunity for those dreams to become reality.”

Roderick Woodruff is president and co-founder of AAGAMER, the two-year old online news and information website developed for African-American video game enthusiasts. He is joined by his wife, author Connie Briscoe, in a continuing effort to promote awareness and opportunities for people of color in the video game industry. http://www.aagamer.com

Mario Armstrong is the Technology Correspondent for NPR's "News and Notes with Ed Gordon" and he is the host of "The Digital Spin" and "The Digital Cafe"--heard on NPR stations WEAA-FM 88.9 and WYPR-FM 88.1, Baltimore, MD--a weekly digest of the digital world with interviews and reviews of cutting edge technology and how it affects our lives. Mario also develops community and business technology programs as Baltimore City's Technology Advocate for Mayor Martin O'Malley.

http://www.thedigitalspin.com

Joseph Saulter is the chairman of the Game Design and Development Department at American Intercontinental University (AiU) and CEO of Entertainment Arts Research, one of the first African-American owned 3-D video game companies in the nation. Professor Saulter is also the chair of the International Game Developers Association's Diversity Advisory Committee. http://www.ea-research.com

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