Sometimes I really love it when I’m wrong. Like many people, I often rely on gut instincts to guide me through life, especially on issues where thoughtful analysis has run its course. But sometimes those instincts fail me. And in the case of AMD Changing the Game, I couldn't be happier that my gut took a swing and a miss. When our team was designing this program to be our lead initiative on AMD's approach to improving youth education, I found myself rolling my eyes when gaming was proposed as the focus. Didn't my two teen-aged boys' fixation on playing Halo and Gears of War to all hours of the night annoy me? Didn't my daughter's delight in sitting in front of a computer screen caring for her Webkinz equally frustrate me? Yes. It was all true. But there was a key distinction that I was not initially grasping. AMD Changing the Game is not about kids playing games. It's about them using PC technology to create games on important issues like the environment, energy, poverty and disaster relief, among a variety of issues that teach kids about the world we live in. So the question quickly switched from “Why gaming?” to “Why not gaming?” A 2008 Pew Research Center study confirms that nearly every U.S. teen - 97 percent - plays video games. At the same time, other studies cite boredom as a leading contributor to why kids drop out of school. Meeting kids where they are is the essence of AMD Changing the Game. An initiative of the AMD Foundation, AMD Changing the Game funds programs and gives AMD-based desktop and notebook PCs to schools, nonprofits and other organizations that are on the cutting edge of education by teaching youth how to develop social-issue games. We have partnered with the Boys and Girls Clubs of America to help develop a curriculum for Game Tech, their after-school game development program for kids, and equipped two BGCA tech centers in Ft. Collins, Colorado and Marlborough, Massachusetts each with 10 PCs to enable kids to create games. In February, we brought AMD Changing the Game to Asia by co-sponsoring the Malaysian Cybergames Festival 2010, including the “Dare to Create” digital game design and development workshop that will enable more than 2,000 rural Malaysian youth to experience basic game design. Last week, we took a big leap with the program when the AMD Foundation awarded a $65,000 grant to the Alliance for Young Artists and Writers. It will be used to help fund the Alliance’s new video game design category for the 2010 and 2011 Scholastic Art & Writing Awards. Kids will compete with each other by creating video games with two winners receiving awards and the awards ceremony will be held in New York City in June. Cool stuff! My instincts may not always be right. But that’s not such a bad thing. What do you think about kids creating games to learn about technology and the world around them? Ward Tisdale is Director of Global Community Affairs for AMD. His postings are his own opinions and may not represent AMD’s positions, strategies or opinions. Links to third party sites are provided for convenience and unless explicitly stated, AMD is not responsible for the contents of such linked sites and no endorsement is implied.