November 26, 2013 in Projects

Update: Teaching endeavors in NYC

NYC is treating me well, no doubt. In addition to part-time work at the Institute of Play, I've found a real passion for teaching and a few excellent opportunities: Front-end Web Development at General Assembly This is a ten week course covering HTML/CSS/JS and more, similar to the one I taught this summer at the Saxifrage School. The class has 27 students and, being so large, it is a more traditional classroom format where we code together and I explain concepts as we go. Being in the front of the class, I don't get the visual/body language feedback from students like in a round table or discussion structure. It took me a class or two to get in the groove, but I think it's going really well now and is a lot of fun. Also, I've got a pretty pro profile on the GA site, so that's cool. Website Bootcamp for Creative Professionals with Simple Labs Started by Nate Cooper at Simple Labs, this is a two hour crash course in websites. It's perfect for creatives not necessarily looking to make websites, but to learn the lingo. Curriculum-wise, I'll hit on client-server communication, the difference between HTML/CSS/JS, mobile web, about CMSs (mainly WordPress of course), and the current relationship between design and development today. Interested? It's at 7pm on Dec. 17th at the Centre For Social Innovation in Chelsea. 25% discount here and on Dec. 4th, come meet the developer (me!) for free (breakfast included!).

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November 21, 2013 in Miscellaneous

How the Internet Works Comic

I’ve totally posted this before, but just want to reiterate how great it is. I used it in my class at General Assembly and I think it was an excellent guide for talking about what is normally a really confusing/jargon-heavy topic. via Fabulously Broke […]

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October 31, 2013 in Design, Research

Cargo Cult CSS

About every other day I read a blog post about a new take on CSS best practices. I think either “I’m doing right!” or, “Ohh that makes sense, I’ll change my ways”. Cargo Cult CSS is another of these posts, and resulted in an “Ahh…now I’m really confused, […]

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September 27, 2013 in Projects

NYC + Cute creatures

As of the middle of September I started as the Design Assistant at Quest to Learn in New York City. My job is, well, assisting the game and learning designers at Q2L’s Mission Lab. It’s been excellent so far – I’ve gotten some fantastic insight into what goes on at […]

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July 17, 2013 in Games, Projects

Social Studies with Charades & SMALLab

Recently I've been thinking about adapting common party games for the classroom. The energy and quick thinking involved in games like Charades, Celebrity, Pictionary, and Taboo would work well to help students internalize facts such as historical names and events. "Who Am I" (title will change, don't worry) is basically Charades using SMALLab to provide visual feedback and an architecture for team play. I made a very rough video of how it would work (do not judge my animation & video skills on this!): In case you don't feel like watching it, here's an illustration and brief description: In the above image, students have been divided into 4 teams. One student from each team has been given a character to act out such as Ben Franklin, Abraham Lincoln, etc. That students stands in the center of each quadrant. When the game begins, the center student silently acts out their character while his/her teammates guess who they are.

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June 4, 2013 in Games, Ideas, Research

Embodied Learning: Research & Thoughts

Chemistry in the SMALLab. Credit: Ken Howie Photography> In this post I'll go over two applications of embodied learning. First is SMALLab, a learning environment using motion-capture technology and large scale projections to track movements in space, and second is Science Choreography, a project through Wesleyan University and the Liz Lerman Dance Exchange that combines art, science, and kinesthetic learning to teach science topics. But before getting into all of that, a look at what embodied learning actually means: Definition The SMALLab website defines embodied learning as "a field that blends the learning sciences and human computer interaction". Science Choreography deals more with the direct translation of a process or concept into movement. In this video, Liz Lerman describes, "when you embody a process you start to realize what you don't understand, and you begin to ask questions because you want to get the movements right." In embodied learning, physical movement is the medium through which we internalize knowledge. A few learning theories relevant to embodied learning are embodied cognition, differentiated instruction, and social constructivism. Some quick-ish definitions before getting into the examples: Embodied Cognition is the argument that all aspects of cognition are determined by the body. This includes higher level cognition like reasoning, judgement, and categorization. Differentiated instruction refers to a teaching philosophy contrary to the "one size fits all" model that many schools go by today. Students are provided avenues for learning and assessment that are effective for all students, regardless of ability.

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May 21, 2013 in Games, Research

Reinventing Board Games

Dominic Crapuchettes (founder of North Star Games) talks about the renaissance of modern board games. A few main points:

Tablets are making traditional board games obsolete.

Similar to books vs. ebooks: the production process is very expensive compared to buying a game from the App Store, and the convenience of a tablet is certainly desirable.

Game Designers are no longer anonymous.

You won’t see the name of the Monopoly’s or Scrabble’s designer on the box; prior to modern board games, designers were completely anonymous. In this case, designers receive no upside from sales even if the brand is massively successful, and receive no recognition for their work.

In modern board games, designers have become more like authors and artists. The trend started in Germany with the award Spiel des Jahres (Game of the Year). The prize is always awarded to the designer not the publisher, and he/she will receive royalties according to the success of the game. Designers now take on the role of entrepreneur with intense passions for their craft and the opportunity to make a living from it.

The craft itself has improved.

Modern board games get rid of the mechanics that are not fun, though common in older games like Monopoly:

  • Waiting for your turn.
  • Not allowed to play, i.e. losing and being knocked out of the game.
  • Unpredictable play times (will it take 1hr or 24hrs?).

Finally, the space is crowded. New game designers now see themselves as artists, they find a concept and use the craft of board game design to involve people in that concept.

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