November 6, 2010

Activate has been selected as an official resource of the National STEM Video Game Challenge. Inspired by the Educate to Innovate Campaign, President Obama’s initiative to promote a renewed focus on Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) education, the National STEM Video Game Challenge aims to motivate interest in STEM learning among America’s youth by tapping into students’ natural passions for playing and making video games.

The contest features prizes for both youth participants in grades 5-8 and professional designers. Submissions are open now through January 5th, and games can be created using the Gamemaker software taught on the Activate! site. Learn more about this amazing initiative at


October 10, 2010

After spending the Summer and early Fall working on tuning and expanding Activate!, we're ready to remove the beta stamp and open up for the world. We are excited to see what people think and do with Activate! and hope that it proves to be a useful resource for budding game-makers looking to help make a positive impact in the world.

A special thanks to Margaret Moser and Donnie Bugden for all their work in preparing the site for launch.


July 1, 2010

As part of its ongoing collaborations and work in China, the Communication Design and Technology program at the School of Art, Media and Technology at Parsons The New School for Design is running four one-week workshops at the Dandelion Middle School ( 蒲公英中学 - Pugongying Zhongxuein) in the Shou-Bao-Zhuang Village of the Daxing District in Beijing. The Dandelion School is the first and only registered non-profit Middle School in Beijing serving children of poor migrant families. The school is unique in its focus on quality education and measurable improvements, serving as a replicable model school. Lead Activate! China organizer and Parsons Director of BFA Design and Technology, Assistant Professor Benjamin Bacon along with Activate! curriculum designer, Parsons Adjunct Faculty Eric Nunez will lead the workshops that will provide as many as 480 middle school children with programming, game design and issue exploration opportunities.

The workshops are made possible by a generous grant from the AMD Foundation's "Changing the Game" initiative. In addition to funding the workshops, AMD China is donating 30 PC desktops and a web server for a joint AMD China and Parsons state of the art computer lab at the Dandelion School.

Activate! China: Primary Leads and Facilitators

Benjamin Bacon: Director, BFA Design and Technology and Assistant Professor, Parsons The New School for Design: Lead Organizer, Co-PI, Activate! China.
Eric Nunez: Adjunct Research Faculty, Parsons The New School for Design: Activate! Curriculum Design.
Haiyan Huang: Professor, Xi'an University of Technology: Co-Organizer and Chinese Translation, Activate! China.
John Sharp: Professor, Savannah College of Art & Design-Atlanta: Activate! Curriculum Design, Information Architecture, Website Production.
Colleen Macklin: Director, PETLab; Associate Professor, Parsons the New School for Design: Primary Investigator.

Activate! China: Teachers

Cheng Chi Chang: Student, MFA Design and Technology, Parsons The New School for Design.
Yi Wen Hong (Effy): Graduate, China Academy of Fine Arts.
Conway Liao: Graduate, MFA Design and Technology, Parsons The New School for Design.
Chen Ta Lin: Student, MFA Design and Technology, Parsons The New School for Design.
Lan Xi: Student, MFA Design and Technology, Parsons The New School for Design.

The Activate! Team


June 3, 2010

Today marks the soft launch of Activate! Over the course of the summer we are running several pilot workshops around the curriculum in the New York City area and in Beijing, China. We will also be adding new Game Design Challenges, expanding the Codex and in general tuning things to prepare for a big launch this Fall.


May 23, 2010

Activate! was unveiled to the world today during the "Power of Design" workshop at the Games for Change Festival. Ward Tisdale of the AMD Foundation, Colleen Macklin of PETLab, and John Sharp of the Savannah College of Art and Design-Atlanta made the announcement and provided an overview of the site to the audience of educators, activists and game developers.