NYU Game Center Announces New Scholarship for Women Game Designers

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The NYU Game Center, the Game Design program of NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, today announced the creation of a new scholarship designed to support women who wish to pursue a graduate degree in game design. The Barlovento Scholarship for Women in Games is funded by the Barlovento Foundation; Vanessa Briceño, the Foundation’s President, earned her MFA in game design at the Center in 2015. 

Briceño is currently an independent game researcher and writer based out of Houston.  She views the new scholarship as part of the Foundation’s larger mission to encourage young girls and women to learn about game-making and coding. 

“Since the 1980’s, digital and board games have largely focused on attracting young men, creating over the years a startling gender disparity within the games industry,” said Briceño. “The Game Center is a welcoming and supportive environment for all students, and I was especially impressed both by how internationally and demographically diverse our student body was, and yet still by how comparatively few female students we had in my class.  Our goal with the Scholarship is to encourage women to pursue game design as a career and to see the industry as expanding and inviting.  It is vital that we send the message that women are welcome and needed as diverse voices and creators within the gaming industry.” 

The Barlovento Foundation grant will provide a full tuition scholarship for three MFA students over the next six years. Thefirst recipient will be entering the fall semester of 2017.  All female-identifying applicants to the MFA program will be automatically considered for the scholarship, which will be awarded based on a combination of merit and need.

“It’s a major priority for us to encourage and support young women who are considering game development as a potential career,” said Frank Lantz, chair of the Game Center.  “The game industry, and technology in general, can be a hostile, unwelcoming place for women. We want to do everything we can to overcome this problem. We want to send the message that women’s voices are needed in game design. We need their perspective, their creativity, their passion, and their energy. We are incredibly grateful to Vanessa and the Barlovento Foundation for helping us get this message out and for working with us to promote the crucial values of equality and respect.” 

For more information about the Barlovento scholarship and applying to the Game Design MFA, visit our website at www.gamecenter.nyu.edu/academics

Scientists Find No Evidence That Brain Games Make You Brainier

Katherine Streeter for NPR

Want to be smarter? More focused? Free of memory problems as you age?

If so, don’t count on brain games to help you.

That’s the conclusion of an exhaustive evaluation of the scientific literature on brain training games and programs. It was published Monday in the journal Psychological Science in the Public Interest.

“It’s disappointing that the evidence isn’t stronger,” says Daniel Simons, an author of the article and a psychology professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

“It would be really nice if you could play some games and have it radically change your cognitive abilities,” Simons says. “But the studies don’t show that on objectively measured real-world outcomes.”

The evaluation, done by a team of seven scientists, is a response to a very public disagreement about the effectiveness of brain games, Simons says.

In October 2014, more than 70 scientists published an open letter objecting to marketing claims made by brain training companies. Pretty soon, another group, with more than 100 scientists, published a rebuttal saying brain training has a solid scientific base.

“So you had two consensus statements, each signed by many, many people, that came to essentially opposite conclusions,” Simons says.

In an effort to clarify the issue, Simons and six other scientists reviewed more than 130 studies of brain games and other forms of cognitive training. The evaluation included studies of products from industry giant Lumosity, which has been a prominent sponsor of NPR and other public radio programming.

“We went through each paper and tried to look at the kind of evidence it provided,” Simons says.

That meant asking questions like: How big was the study? Did it have an appropriate control group? Do the results support the marketing claims made by companies?

The scientists found that “many of the studies did not really adhere to what we think of as the best practices,” Simons says.

Some of the studies included only a few participants. Others lacked adequate control groups or failed to account for the placebo effect, which causes people to improve on a test simply because they are trying harder or are more confident.

There were some good studies, Simons says. And they showed that brain games do help people get better at a specific task.

“You can practice, for example, scanning baggage at an airport and looking for a knife,” he says. “And you get really, really good at spotting that knife.”

But there was less evidence that people got better at related tasks, like spotting other suspicious items, Simons says. And there was no strong evidence that practicing a narrow skill led to overall improvements in memory or thinking.

That’s disappointing, Simons says, because “what you want to do is be better able to function at work or at school.”

The evaluation got a warm reception from at least some of the scientists who had signed the 2014 letter defending the science behind brain training.

“The evaluation was very even-handed and raised many excellent points,” says George Rebok, a psychologist at Johns Hopkins University who has been involved in brain training research for the past 20 years. “It really helped raise the bar in terms of the level of science that we must aspire to.”

Rebok, who says he has no ties to brain training companies, remains optimistic that the right program of brain exercises can improve mental functioning and delay the effects of aging.

One reason brain games haven’t shown a clear benefit so far, he says, may be that they don’t work the brain hard enough or over a long enough time period.

“It takes mental effort and practice to be able to see results,” Rebok says. “If we can implement that long range, I think that there will be a big dividend eventually.”

In the meantime, the brain training industry is facing scrutiny from the Federal Trade Commission.

In January, the company behind Lumosity agreed to pay a $2 million fine to settle FTC charges that it made unfounded claims about its brain training program.

And in May, a smaller brain training company called LearningRx agreed to pay a $200,000 fine to settle similar charges. Even so, the Learning Rx website still promises “A better brain at any age.”

Scientists Find No Evidence That Brain Games Make You Brainier : Shots – Health News : NPR.

Source: Scientists Find No Evidence That Brain Games Make You Brainier : Shots – Health News : NPR

How playing one game can help students get into college

Mission: Admission takes some of the fear out of applying for further education

Next week, the U.S. Federal Student Aid program (FAFSA) will launch a new Oct. 1 start date and form schedule for students seeking financial help getting into college. In previous years, the FAFSA start-date was in March. The change is designed to give students more time to prepare for college, and to bring the aid program into the same timeline as college applications.

Research shows that those kids whose parents went to college are far more likely to apply for college than those whose parents did not go to college, regardless of grades.

For activists and professionals operating in higher education, this is a matter of concern. Applying for college and applying for aid is not a simple matter. Most kids need help. But with schools still reeling from budgetary cuts, there simply aren’t enough in-school councillors to go around.

Mission: Admission shows students how to enroll in the appropriate college

One project that’s gaining traction is a videogame that teaches kids how to go through the process of applying for college. Played in realtime over the course of a week, Mission: Admission shows students how to meet scholarship deadlines, apply for aid, work on personal statements, request letters of recommendation and take extra curricular activities as well as apply to and enroll in the appropriate college…

For the rest of the article, please follow the link below.

How playing one game can help students get into college | Polygon.

Source: How playing one game can help students get into college | Polygon

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