It has been announced by White House officials that a new computer science plan to allow for children to learn computer skills may have gaming elements. The $4 billion plan presented by President Obama, called “Computer Science for All” is set to take place over 3 years and will give states funding to train teachers and classrooms.
The initiative, which is aimed with a slant especially towards girls and minority groups, is a part of the 2017 budget and will require approval by the Republican Congress.
White House deputy director Tom Kalil said “The reason why some kids might get interested in computer science is because they like to play them, but they also want to make them” in regards to the new proposed plan to incorporate gaming.
The president of Microsoft, Brad Smith, recently praised the plan and announced that Xbox would be launching a 50-state campaign in order to continue to further develop computer science education. This proposal from the American government comes soon after Microsoft announced an education specific version of Mincraft (which is discussed in more detail in my 18-24 January News Diary).
When revealing the scheme, Obama discussed how the workplace has been changing. “Today’s auto mechanics aren’t just sliding under cars to change the oil; they’re working on machine that run on as many as 100 million lines of code. That’s 100 times ore than the Space Shuttle. Nurses are analyzing data and managing electronic health records.”
On Tuesday February 9th Obama will be discussing his plan more in terms of specifics.
Why is it news worthy?
I think what makes this story news worthy is that it links in with so many other factors and stories in the industry. As discussed in my summary this links in well with one of my previous News Diaries regarding Minecraft education edition. It just shows that the government and companies are taking gaming more seriously as more than just an entertainment medium.
There are many stories in the last few months that this links into in a much broader narrative. Firstly there was the legal changes in America allowing eSports players to gain entry to the USA with a athletes visa, showing an initial start of gaming culture being taken more seriously by the American government. This then links further to the BBC televising the League of Legends Finals late last year showing it as a valuable form of visual entertainment rather than just interactive.
Further from this there was my previous new diary about the Life is Strange inspired competition which had a scholarship fund as a reward. This showed that aspects from games and ideas included can be relevant and be something that can do good in terms of both business and publicity. This story combined with the school that intends to teach an eSports class shows just how much gaming has ingrained itself in our culture as a whole.
This is just another story that shows the evolution of gaming and how it can be a more positive medium despite the majority of media coverage in recent years linking it to negativity such as addiction and violence. It shows how gaming has begun to be taken seriously by governments and continuing to prove itself a powerful education tool.
Makuch, E. (2016)
Obama Looking at Gaming for New Computer Science Education Initiative, White House Says
Available at: http://www.gamespot.com/articles/obama-looking-at-gaming-for-new-computer-science-e/1100-6434570/ [Accessed 07 February 2016]
Hart, M. (2016)
Gaming a Major Part of President’s $4 Billion Computer Science Education Plan
Available at: http://nerdist.com/gaming-will-be-a-big-part-of-presidents-4-billion-computer-science-education-plan/ %5BAccessed 07 February 2016]
Crecente, B. (2016)
Gaming likely to be big part of Obama’s $4B computer science initiative
Available at: http://www.polygon.com/2016/2/5/10923916/obama-computer-science-for-all-video-games [Accessed 07 February 2016]