Friday, November 29, 2013

Winter Break Fun-shop Camp!

People between the ages of 5-11 are invited to join us for a fun workshop. The workshop days are January 3 (Friday) and January 6 (Monday) and people may attend one or both, whatever works best! Hours are 8-5.

We are super duper excited to get together for some end of break fun. Some of the things we will do: 

Hiking on the greenbelt
Cooking
Writing and drama
Games
Making things

Please contact me with questions or to reserve a space! I'd love to hear more about which of the activities sound most interesting when you get in touch.And also if you need to tweak the hours.


About the workshop and leaders: 

From Laura: I am a workshop leader, play producer, mama, and cooking aficionado.  The camp will take place in my yard and home near Zilker Park/S. Lamar area, and will be co-led by my 13 yr old assistant. 

Cost: 
$35/full day
$20/half day
Limited to 10 kids

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Getting girls excited about coding

Technology is not necessarily a subject for students but instead it is part of every minute.  Yet,  interest in coding and tech careers can be elusive.

Research based ideas:
Media production: This link is to a paper by Rich, Perry and Guzdial describing an undergraduate course that drew women into the computer science field.
Social issue/tech for good: Elaine: it says Not why but what? Needs to have a meaning. Girls make a website for how to boost enrollment for girls in STEM program. 'Let's make a page- we can be one of the stations that we can show what we do'
Tinkering and making (see dollhouse and high tech textile ideas below)

What are some strategies that you have found effective?
Social issue games: The above case study (link) discusses two 6th grade girls and their experience making a game about an issue important to them, teen pregnancy and drop out prevention. 
 
Girl Scouts of USA research and personal experience have shown me that engagement in a cause that has personal resonance can be highly motivating. Many girls cite an interest in changing the world as a factor in choosing a career path.

Black Girls Code: go to Past Events on site, for examples of the following

Media production
Web page production
iPod Film making

Other ideas:
Robotics programs

Contests, such as the National STEM Video Game Challenge

Mentoring programs

High Tech Textile Design

ADA fruit 

Roominate (DIY dollhouse)

Suggestions about grant funding:
Allstate
Local electric companies
Caterpiller
Region 10

Other ideas:
Saint Ignatius: Uses students as the Tech crew, architect

technovation- NSF funded- girls get together to create android apps with MIT app inventor
Girl Startup- in San Antonio

Hole in the Wall school

Tools:
A very thorough list of game making environments: Digital Game Making Environments

Dot Alice

App building tools:
Touchapp Creator
GamePress

Blockly Maze (demo)

Monday, October 7, 2013

Lessons from playtesting slides from Captivate Conference

Here is a link to my slides from Kids are different: Playtesting talk yesterday. Click here for a google doc version. Thanks to all who attended!

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Sesame Street pitch reel

Here is the summary of the Sesame Street pitch reel. It features Dr. Gerald Lesser and Joan Ganz Cooney, and is brought to you by the word 'groovy'.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Letter from the Guy Who Made Monsters Inc

Pete Docter was a pretty good artist in middle and high school, and then became an animator. He has been at Pixar for 20 years. He also became a director for the films Up and Monsters Inc.

Here are two amazing letters he wrote to middle school classes:

http://www.lettersofnote.com/2012/07/whatever-you-like-doing-do-it.html

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Making Games and Making Change

The interview excerpted below is with a student in 7th grade who takes a game design class at his middle school in East Austin. The class, called Globaloria, is required of all students, and this is his second year. He is describing the game he worked on for the class.  The link to his game is within the interview and here. Play the game

My game is about Teen Drug abuse – teens getting addicted to drugs. Throughout my life I have had experiences..... so I decided to do that.



I researched one of the most popular drugs that teens use, and what different drugs do to the body, to make obstacles for characters to get away from drugs- (levels- facts, different levels- it tells what it does to their body)- kind of like a maze Play the game here


Do you like to play any games?
I kind of don’t play games anymore. Like last year I used to play games- I used to play all kinds of war games, like Xbox 360 and Playstation, or what the other company is.
I’m too old, I feel like, I’m too old to play games.

Do you think that is related to knowing how to make them, or is it just a coincidence?
I think that …..games, making games, is..... I like it,  because making games is hard and difficult. But playing games is kinda easy. I feel like that’s for little kids,  kids [who] like games. And Globaloria is for me. Because I like creating games, and all the code, which would be difficult for a kid to do.