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NMSU students win CampusLink competition, will present video game idea in Peru

Four graduate students from the New Mexico State University College of Education?s Curriculum and Instruction Department won a trip to Peru during last month?s CampusLink technology and innovation conference.


Photo of two men and two women against a video screen with a green light.
A team of graduate students from the NMSU College of Education?s Department of Curriculum and Instruction won a trip to attend a technology conference in Peru next year in last month?s CampusLink Idea hack Competiton. Team members, from left, are Francisco Serrano Wall, Armando Altamirano Garcia, Ruth Torres Castillo and Cecilia Palacio-Ribon. (Courtesy photo)

The conference took place at NMSU?s Corbett Center on Oct. 29 and attracted more than 600 high school and college students from across the region. The graduate students ? Cecilia Palacio-Ribón, Francisco Serrano Wall, Ruth Torres Castillo and Armando Altamirano Garcia ? participated in the ?IdeaHack? competition hosted by the Organization of American States to develop a digital framework to prevent gender violence and cyberbullying.

The team decided to take on the difficult task of developing a game that could inform players about how to prevent gender violence while providing an engaging experience, Altamirano Garcia said.

?Our group is very excited about winning this contest, as it showcases the great student talent currently molding the College of Education,? Altamirano Garcia said. ?We have students who are experts in the use of technology, but more importantly we have students who understand and deeply care about improving the lives of underrepresented groups and society as a whole.?

Altamirano Garcia said he served as the group coordinator with a background in curriculum learning technologies and web design. Both Palacio-Ribón and Serrano Wall have backgrounds in language, literacy and culture. And Torres Castillo is programming the game and has a background in computer science.

?Games are great tools for learning,? Altamirano Garcia said. ?They are an expressive medium that stimulate players to explore real or imaginary worlds that can reflect the values of the societies they live in. We also wanted to move away from a violent game design were you have characters fighting each other and dying, which is why we choose to frame our game based on the value of life, dialogue and prevention.?

Altamirano Garcia said he believes the contest presented a unique opportunity to demonstrate how educators can use their knowledge about teaching and learning to develop digital tools that can enable people to find solutions to real world problems across different fields of study.

The team will be presenting the game?s concept to the members of the International Organization of American States next year in Lima, Peru, during their annual meeting. The team is developing the game with their own resources and expertise, but is also looking for external funding that could help them create a more elaborate game concept and design, Altamirano Garcia said.

The team?s accomplishment was among the highlights of CampusLink, which took place for the first time on the NMSU campus through a partnership with Universidad Autónoma de Chihuahua. Cornell Menking, associate provost for NMSU?s Office of International and Border Programs and one of the organizers of the event, said he is very happy with the results.

?The evaluations show that participants were nearly all very satisfied with all aspects of the event,? Menking said. ?What impressed me the most was the content of the presentations. The visitors were truly talking about the endless possibilities in the future.?

The NMSU CampusLink presentations can be viewed at http://ibp.nmsu.edu/campuslink2015/