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Friday, March 22, 2013

Google Hangout in the classroom - Bring in the experts

Last week I experimented with Google Hangouts in the classroom. I asked two of my game designer friends if the would connect for a short time with me and four students who have been using Stencyl to make computer games in a science class.

James Kyle and Kory Heath (see below for more information on their work) graciously agreed to take time to meet with us.  I sent them a short email explaining what we've been doing in class and we arranged to connect about 20 minutes early just to make sure things were working.

The classroom teacher I'm working with, Andrea Thelen, and I met with James and Kory and quickly prepped on what we'd cover in the 25 minute session.

The students were glad to meet with a couple guys who are livings their dream of making digital games.  James and Kory were quick to point out that its a lot of work with no guarantee of decent pay when one sets out as an independent game designer.

The best tips that came out of the session were:
  • Don't try to work alone. Find other designers you can work with, get feedback from and learn with. 
  • Keep a game design notebook for ideas.  You'll never have time to program them all, but by keeping them in one place you can easily come back to them even years later.  They will develop and combine over time. 
  • Break big ideas and dream designs up into manageable pieces you can start on even now. That can make the hard work of learning a little more fun. 
The meeting definitely encouraged me to try more of this. The students enjoyed it and have asked more than once if we can meet with them again. On the downside,me did have a lot of lag for about 10 minutes of the meeting. I think it can be attributed to the computer lab being in full operation right when we started.  Next time I will try meeting with just one person to see if that makes a difference. 

I want to give a special thanks to my friends James Kyle and Kory Heath.  Please check out their work when you get a chance.

  • I wrote about Kory's work in this post and he was very influential in the work that led to my class creativity presentation games
  • James Kyle is a great friend of mine who helped immensely in my early efforts to get my games to the world.  His unique word game for iPhone is called Word Surgeon

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