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Now in its second year, the Australian STEM Video Game Challenge uses video games to engage Australian school students in years 5 to 12 in STEM learning in new and exciting ways.

The awards consider what the place of video games is in education? How can video games enhance learning in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM)?

The award website provides resources for parents and teachers that are designed to help foster engagement for children and students, outline why it is important for children to code and highlight the vast benefits of learning to code.

It also provides resources for children and students who want to get stuck in and build something.

Chad Habel, a Senior Lecturer within the Faculty of Arts at the University of Adelaide and the Director of Game Truck Australia, is a strong advocate of the Australian STEM Video Game Challenge and of game-based learning more broadly, as he explains in an interview for the challenge:

…as well as giving students a portfolio, involvement in the challenge gives them an opportunity to develop their computational thinking. This will assist students through their education and beyond with skills such as logic and problem solving, self-efficacy, confidence and risk management. Finally, it will let students know that they are capable of understanding and using STEM, and that anything is possible.

The 2015 winners included a South Australian high school student, who won the Year 9-12 individual category. He created a game where you rescue and protect endangered Australian animals, using GameMaker Studio. I hope to see more SA entries in the future!