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U.S. government backs summit to unite teachers and game makers

U.S. government backs summit to unite teachers and game makers

April 14, 2015 | By Alex Wawro

"We're excited about this event as the start of a much larger conversation about how to bridge two worlds that can be mutually supportive of each other but for so long have been siloed."

- Richard Culatta, director of the U.S. Department of Education's Office of Educational Technology, speaking to Polygon about his hopes for the upcoming Games for Learning Summit.

The 12th annual Games for Change festival kicks off next week in New York, and the U.S. Department of Education will be there alongside the ESA to help host the festival's first-ever "Games for Learning Summit" -- an all-day affair that aims to bring together educators and game makers to discuss how to best design games for use in the classroom.

This is most interesting for developers because, in a recent interview with Polygon, the department's Office of Educational Technology director Richard Culatta pitched the event as a direct follow-up to the inaugural White House game jam last year and represents the U.S. government's continuing interest in using games as educational tools.

"That was sort of the first piece of it," said Culatta, calling the White House educational game jam a "big success" and expressing excitement about the potential of bringing developers and educators together under the aegis of the U.S. Department of Education.

"Part of the message we are trying to send here is, if you're building and designing games for learning you have to connect and work with teachers and with school leaders to make sure you are building games that are meeting the needs," said Culatta.

Ubisoft's Paul Cross is slated to keynote the summit, which is taking place at the NYU Kimmel Center on the first day of the G4C festival and includes speakers from the White House, the ESA and developers of games like Never Alone. Developers interested in registering to attend can do so via the Games for Change website.

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