March 18, 2013


IMLS Press Contact
Giuliana Bullard,

Video Game Design Is More Than Writing Code

Webinars show museums and libraries how to get youth involved
the National STEM Video Game Challenge

National STEM video challende logoWashington, DC—Playing video games is a favorite activity for many teens and tweens. Video game design is a natural extension of that activity and creates new pathways for STEM learning and exploration of STEM careers. IMLS is announcing two free webinars, one for library staff and one for museum staff, to explain how to involve youth in video game design and encourage entries in the 2013 National STEM Video Game Challenge. IMLS is a National Community Sponsor of the Challenge, a multiyear competition inspired by President Obama’s Educate to Innovate Campaign.

Webinar Details:

Game Design Foundations for Libraries – March 27th, 3:00-4:00 pm EST

Game Design Foundations for Museums – March 28th, 3:00-4:00 pm EST

To participate in either session, call: 1(866)299-7945
When prompted, enter: 9485763

Please note: this teleconference service WILL support callers from Alaska, Hawaii, and other locations outside the continental U.S.

Each webinar will provide a framework for workshops that museum and library professionals can present to youth at their institutions. The webinars will cover the foundations of game design and how it can be incorporated into a museum or library learning environment. Participants will learn how game design can be effective in teaching core 21st century skills, such as systems thinking, problem solving, and critical thinking. The workshop framework provides engaging, hands-on, physical, and digital design activities that use free online game design tools. The webinar will also highlight the requirements for the 2013 National STEM Video Game Challenge, which is accepting entries through April 24, 2013.

The National STEM Video Game Challenge is open to students in grades 5-12 (individuals and teams) using any game-making platform. Winners and winning teams receive laptop computers, a cash prize of $2000 for their sponsoring institution, and the opportunity to be showcased in Washington, D.C. and beyond. The Challenge website features a mentor resource kit, a hands-on workshop guide, resources on game design and STEM skills, and information on STEM Challenge events.

Webinar Presenters:

Christa Avampato, of the Joan Ganz Cooney Center at Sesame Workshop, has developed products, services, events, and programs in the for-profit, nonprofit, and public sectors across a wide range of industries including financial services, retail, health and wellness, environmental conservation, education, and the arts for 14 years. She is passionate about the use of technology to build a better world and over the last five years has worked on a number of mobile-tech-based projects. She is an accomplished public speaker on the topic of creativity with appearances at SXSW 2011 and 2012, NYU’s Tisch School, and Hunter College.

Katya Hott, Learning Content Producer at E-Line Media, is passionate about teaching and empowering kids through game design. Drawing on her background in classroom instruction and her Masters in Educational Technology from New York University, Katya works with game designers, teachers and students to create effective learning spaces for games in education. For years before coming to work as a Learning Content Producer at E-Line Media, Katya taught ESL in classrooms around the world. Now she is combining her teaching experiences, her studies in education, and her passion for technology by helping educators and learners incorporate and embrace games in their classrooms. 

About the Institute of Museum and Library Services

The Institute of Museum and Library Services is the primary source of federal support for the nation’s 123,000 libraries and 17,500 museums. Our mission is to inspire libraries and museums to advance innovation, lifelong learning, and cultural and civic engagement. Our grant making, policy development, and research help libraries and museums deliver valuable services that make it possible for communities and individuals to thrive. To learn more, visit and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

The Joan Ganz Cooney Center at Sesame Workshop is an independent, nonprofit research center that is fostering innovation in children’s learning through digital media. The Cooney Center conducts and supports research, creates educational models and interactive media properties, and builds cross-sector partnerships. The Cooney Center is named for Sesame Workshop's founder, who revolutionized television with the creation of Sesame Street. Core funding is provided by Peter G. Peterson and Sesame Workshop. Learn more at

E-Line Media is a publisher of game-based learning products and services that engage, educate, and empower, helping to prepare youth for lives and careers in the 21st century. E-Line works with leading foundations, academics, nonprofits, and government agencies to harness the power of games for learning, health, and social impact. Find out more at