The Oregon Game Project Challenge (OGPC), managed and sponsored by TechStart Education Foundation, hosts its main event at Chemeketa Community College in Salem, Ore. Saturday, April 28, 2012. The OGPC introduces middle and high school students to computer programming basics through games designed to be fun, challenging and innovative around a socially responsible annual theme.
“Students learn about the power of cross-functional teams and collaboration by team members with disparate skills and experience,” says Chris Brooks, Board Member of TechStart. “They learn that producing and shipping technology products requires more than just programming skills. They also learn design techniques and project management techniques (managing scope, iterative development, etc.).”
The OGPC gives students an opportunity to:
- Learn about computer science and gaming
- Meet others interested in gaming and computer science, and
- Win recognition for their achievements.
This year, 150 high school students and 75 middle school students in 50 teams will compete. While TechStart is working to generate interest among women, the challenge currently serves 16 percent girls and 84 percent boys.
“OGPC is similar to FIRST Lego League in its approach to team structure and judging. We try to complement the FIRST programs by being a bit later in the year, allowing teams to participate in both, and making it a very low cost event (pure software, teams can use free tools),” says Brooks.
The OGPC started an a collaborative experiment four years ago between Chris Brooks, Bruce Schafer and Mitch Fry in collaboration with TechStart and the Oregon Pre-Engineering and Applied Science (OPAS) working group.
“There is insufficient access to computer science for most kids in most schools these days,” says Brooks. “I focus my time on helping motivated teachers develop skills in teaching computer science topics in school, and providing out-of-school opportunities like OGPC for kids to experience something they may not have access to in schools.”