Ubisoft, Youth Fusion team up to keep kids in school
Published Saturday, May 7, 2016 6:00PM EDT
Last Updated Saturday, May 7, 2016 6:57PM EDT
Since the first gaming systems came out, kids have counted down the minutes until they can get home from school and play Pong or Call of Duty. Now, gaming giant Ubisoft has partnered with Youth Fusion, an organization that works to lower the dropout rate, to convince Quebec kids to stay in school.
“They really get to discover why they are in school, why they learn all those things,” said Youth Fusion Executive Director Sarah Houde. “Now, they understand what this is useful for.”
The new program launched 34 weeks ago in six schools, including Lasalle Community Comprehensive High School. Mentors from Ubisoft come to show students the basics of programming and give them the assignment of coming up with a game based on the theme of ‘New France.’
“The objective is really to use the passion they have for video games and help them use that passion to learn, to stay in school, to stay motivated, to understand teamwork,” said Ubisoft spokesperson Jean-Philippe Grou.
LCCHS student Chloe Polson said her team wanted to make their game non-violent. They spent about 40 hours working to develop the final version.
“We didn’t like our game and we thought we could do a lot better than what we had,” she said. “The three of us got together and we gave ourselves a challenge of making the demo of the game in 24 hours.”
Her teammate Stirling Luker tried to make sure the game’s audio was appropriate for the historical era it took place in.
“The audio we chose was a traditional French band that’s around today but they play historical songs that would have been around or would have sounded about the same as traditional Nouvelle France music,” he said.