For immediate release | December 6, 2011

AASL joins challenge to motivate STEM learning

CHICAGO – The American Association of School Librarians (AASL), an original outreach partner, is proud to once again lend its support to the National STEM Video Game Challenge presented by the Joan Ganz Cooney Center at Sesame Workshop and E-Line Media. The challenge, now in its second year, aims to motivate interest in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) learning by tapping into students’ natural passion for playing and making video games. More information can be found on the challenge’s website at

Recent research suggests game-based learning is one of the most innovative and promising areas in making STEM topics more engaging for America’s youth. Video games can be used to learn not only content, but also STEM skills and systems thinking, which are essential for preparing youth for STEM careers. Other research highlights how games foster the development of critical STEM and 21st century skills, including problem solving, critical thinking, creativity, collaboration and digital media literacies.

One of the many ways AASL is putting the focus on educational gaming includes the September/October 2011 Knowledge Quest on Educational Gaming. The issue explores how lessons based on games are currently contributing to school learning standards, what effect educational games have on students, and the ways in which school librarians are helping to develop games as educational tools.

“AASL is happy to return as a partner with the National STEM Video Game Challenge,” said Carl Harvey, AASL president. “This competition is a great model for students to take information and share it via an interesting and motivating format. It encourages the student to collaboration with their school librarian, their teacher, and their peers as they use critical thinking and problem solving skills to create a game that will engage them and others in STEM learning. Encouraging participation in the challenge is the perfect opportunity to help our students think, create, share, and grow!”

The challenge is now accepting submissions of original video game concepts and designs from students and educators in four categories: middle school, high school, collegiate and educator. Entries will be accepted through March 12, 2012, and complete guidelines on how to enter are available at

Inspired by the Educate to Innovate Campaign, President Obama’s initiative to promote a renewed focus on STEM education, the 2012 National STEM Video Game Challenge is partnered with the Digital Promise, a new initiative created by the President and Congress and supported through the Department of Education.

The American Association of School Librarians,, a division of the American Library Association (ALA), promotes the improvement and extension of library services in elementary and secondary schools as a means of strengthening the total education program. Its mission is to advocate excellence, facilitate change and develop leaders in the school library field.

The Joan Ganz Cooney Center at Sesame Workshop is an independent, non-profit research center that is fostering innovation in children’s learning through digital media. The Cooney Center conducts and supports research, creates educational models and interactive media properties and builds cross-sector partnerships. The Cooney Center is named for Sesame Workshop's founder, who revolutionized television with the creation of Sesame Street. Core funding is provided by the generous support of Peter G. Peterson, Genius Products, Mattel, Inc. and Sesame Workshop.

E-Line Media is a publisher of game-based learning products and services that engage educate and empower, helping to prepare youth for lives and careers in the 21st Century. E-Line works with leading foundations, academics, non-profits and government agencies to harness the power of games for learning, health, and social impact. Find out more at