New Albany News

World Education Games

Local student is ambassador for online gaming forum

By ThisWeek Community News  • 

Twelve-year-old Nishant Chittari of New Albany has enjoyed playing World Education Games online for the last four years and was excited to be chosen this year as one of four U.S. ambassadors for the games.

"Being an ambassador, my role is to promote the games," Chittari said.

The World Education Games, started as an online math game in 2007 and has since expanded to include science and literacy questions, offering an online gaming forum for students around the world.

"We're trying to unite students all over the world in a world of learning and to showcase education," said Peter Walters, chief executive officer of the Americas for the World Education Games.

Walters said the World Education Games chooses ambassadors based on their performance in the games.

The other three U.S. ambassadors are in New York, Florida and Colorado.

Chittari said he placed 10th in the world in math in his first year of playing and has continued to achieve high scores every year since.

In 2012, more than 5 million students from 200 countries participated in the online games, said Chittari's mother, Madhavi Gajarla.

As part of his ambassadorship, the seventh-grader hung posters in New Albany schools, notifying students of the game dates, March 5-7, and sent letters about the games to other school districts.

He's also required to raise funds for UNICEF's school-in-a-box program, which provides an educational tool box for students who have experienced a natural disaster or live in an impoverished country.

Chittari said each box costs $236.

To raise money, he said he is working with each New Albany school building to coordinate one day in which students can pay $1 to wear a hat and teachers can pay $1 to wear jeans to school. All proceeds will be donated to the UNICEF school-in-a-box program.

He has also been posting blogs about the games on the game website: www.worldeducationgames.com.

Chittari said interested students ages 4 to 18 can register free for the World Education Games on the website.

To play, students must log in and choose a game in one of the three categories: math, science or literacy.

The site shows all other players -- and the country in which they live -- who are playing the game.

A countdown starts the game and students have 60 seconds to answer as many questions as they can.

At the end of one minute, the results are posted so students can see who answered the most questions correctly in the shortest amount of time.

Students can access answers to learn from their mistakes, he said.

Gajarla said students are required to have answers certified from time to time by playing games in front of a third party, such as a teacher, who can certify that the student is the person playing.

His gift for being an ambassador was an electronic tablet donated by Samsung, which Chittari uses to show people how to play the games.

He has recruited several people to play, including his younger brother, Aditya, who is in third grade.

"He's actually pretty good," Chittari said.

Chittari said results from the 2013 World Education Games will be posted online within a week of the competition.

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