Gamelab in talks with New York museums to launch Gamefroot in American schools

Gamelab chief executive Dan Milward, right, and New Zealand Council for Educational Research (NZCER) senior researcher ...
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Gamelab chief executive Dan Milward, right, and New Zealand Council for Educational Research (NZCER) senior researcher Rachel Bolstad.

The size of your wallet should not dictate what opportunities you do - or do not - get in life.

And this is why Wellington tech company Gamelab is giving its time to young people to help them building online courses and games, which teaches them basic programming and game design skills.

Gamelab chief executive Dan Milward said they were hoping to broaden the "digital divide" between gamers and creators.

In 2012, Milward created a website that lets anyone create their own online games.
CHRIS SKELTON/FAIRFAX NZ

In 2012, Milward created a website that lets anyone create their own online games.

"Young people living in lower socioeconomic areas are being left without the opportunities to pursue careers in digital industries like game design.

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"Our initiative brings students and industry together and empowers young people to help their peers to have access to the same skills and opportunities that they do, regardless of where they live or whether they can afford it."

It was about "levelling the playing field", Milward said.

"How do we expect them to get 21st century jobs with no access to 21st century technology?"

The company's latest project in New Zealand involves teaming up with Wellington High School in an attempt to give students enough knowledge to pass on to their peers.

At the same time, Milward is also in talks with museums in New York to get their game-making programme - Gamefroot​ - into American schools.

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The idea behind that is students will go to a museum for the day, then go back to their classrooms and create a game from the themes of that particular museum.

"We'd like to see more teachers embracing software as well as young people stepping up to the challenge - to be our little agents of change," he said.

"It's all about empowering young people with tomorrow's technology."

Gamefroot has attracted 200,000 users since it's launch in December 2012, when Milward also launched Gamelab.

Since then, the Gamelab team have travelled the country, visiting numerous schools, showing them what they have to offer.

"Kids that have never made a game before get it really fast," he said.

"These kids understand. It's natural for them."

 - Stuff

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