New Kensington offers Python game design course for high school students

High school gaming enthusiasts can create computer games and earn college credits with a new programming course at Penn State New Kensington. Campus students also can take the course.

“Learning Programing Through Game Design” is a two-credit course that runs from 6 to 9 p.m. on eight Wednesdays from March 19 to May 7. The general elective course uses the software Python, a popular program language for first-time learners.

Python is used in a variety of industries including gaming, graphics and Web development. Computer games, such as “Battlefield 2,” utilize Python to keep score and balance teams. Companies like Google, Yahoo, NASA and the Weather Channel use Python.

The course is a part of the information sciences and technology curriculum, and covers the basic elements of programming. Students will learn about 2-D game design, including sprites, collision detection and animation, and will develop a game as a final team project.

The cost of the course is $324 for high school students in Westmoreland County and $624 for students from other counties. Students from Westmoreland receive a $300 scholarship from the county’s Keystone Innovation Zone (KIZ) program. All students, regardless of residency, are eligible for additional scholarships based on need.

The Dual Enrollment program offers high school juniors and seniors the opportunity to take college courses at a 50 percent tuition reduction. The program enables students to get a jump on their college careers by earning college credits while still in high school. Students can choose from a variety of Penn State courses offered during the fall, spring or summer semesters. Dual Enrollment helps to introduce more students to the advantages of postsecondary education and helps students have a more successful transition into the culture and expectations that are present in postsecondary institutions.

The initiative is sponsored by the campus’ Stem Academy and KIZ. The Stem Academy is a joint effort by Penn State New Kensington and local school districts to stimulate interest, provide understanding and expand learning opportunities for ninth- through 12th-grade students in STEM-related (science, technology, engineering and math) fields. KIZ is a state program that provides grant funds to community/university partnerships to generate job growth through tech transfer and entrepreneurship.

To register for the course, high school students should contact the campus Admissions Office at 724-334-LION. Current campus students should contact the Registrar at 724-334-6040.

For more about the Dual Enrollment program, visit

About the information sciences and technology program
New Kensington’s IST program gives students a background in the core technical areas of networking, databases, programming and system integration. Graduates are trained in key business areas, such as project management and organization theory. The capstone course, “Information Sciences and Technology Integration and Problem Solving,” provides students with real-life problems faced by organizations. Each semester, nationally-known corporations bring campus students on-board as interns for special projects. To learn more about the program and its students, visit

For more on the IST program, visit

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Last Updated March 05, 2014