[Ed. Note: This has been cross posted from Let's Move.gov.]
As we enter the final six weeks of the Apps for Healthy Kids competition, the excitement hasn't stopped. We are nearing the 15,000 supporter level, and three new partners have recently come on board. We are thrilled to announce new partnerships with General Electric (GE) Healthymagination, the International Game Developers Association (IGDA), and Numedeon, Inc., creators of the online virtual world Whyville.net. Our partners bring a boost of encouragement for up-and-coming developers to get involved, including new prizes and opportunities to collaborate.
Launched by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the White House Office of the First Lady, and the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy on March 10, Apps for Healthy Kids challenges software developers, game designers, students, and other innovators to develop innovative, fun, and engaging tools and games that help “tweens” (ages 9-12) and their parents eat better and be more physically active.
This week, to help encourage student participation, GE Healthymagination committed to a total of $20,000 to in award funding for the best student-developed submissions—$10,000 for the best student game and $10,000 for the best student tool—bringing the total prize purse to $60,000. The GE Healthymagination Student Awards are open to students from elementary school through college. Although summer break is near, we can’t think of a better way to earn extra credit!
And that’s not all. To help stimulate creativity and generate winning ideas, IGDA announced this week that it will hold a series of game jams over the weekend of May 21-23 in major U.S. cities including Boston, New York, San Francisco, and Atlanta. The jams will bring together game developers, graphic artists, and local youth to pool talent and creativity, and ultimately help create competition entries in just 48 hours. Find out how to participate at www.HealthGameChallenge.org.
For would-be contestants who are unable to attend a game jam, Numedeon, Inc. is providing a virtual space to get valuable feedback from tweens within the virtual world Whyville.net. Developers may post their game prototypes in the Whyville Game Arcade, where Whyville's hundreds of thousands of users will be able to play, rate and provide feedback on the entries before they are submitted to the Apps for Healthy Kids competition.
All submissions must be entered by June 30, so time is of the essence for you to get involved. If software design is not your forte, don’t worry! Visit www.AppsforHealthyKids.com to register support for the initiative and for the innovators who will be submitting software solutions as part of our nation’s fight against childhood obesity. Also, be sure to return to the site between July 14 and August 14 for the public voting period when you can help decide on the winning game and app.
Robert Post is Deputy Director of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion