Fresh starts and kindling fires

It’s typically advised that you shouldn’t have a blog if you’re going to let a week go by without a new post. It apparently makes it seem like there’s nothing interesting going on in your mind or your life or your career or whatever the hell it is that you talk about it. Well, I just let about four weeks go by without a new post. BUT I can genuinely say that it’s not for the lack of excitement, but rather for the complete opposite: so many things happening. ALL THE THINGS HAPPENING.

I graduated, I randomly explored Texas, I moved, I started a job…My life went far these past few weeks.

Daorba went far, too. Before Finals ended, I completed a 107-page design document, low-fi prototype, and mock-up video demo of this game-based mobile app for foreign language & cultural learning. As for the project itself, though…it’s far from “completed.”

I thought the project was pretty far along. In fact, I thought it was pretty solid. The research & competitive analyses felt exhausted, and the design felt good. Yeah, I really thought I was done [to the extent of the scope I had set out to accomplish in a semester].

Daorba

But then I was encouraged by a professor to join the IGDA NY, and I was invited to contribute a chapter on second language acquisition through games to a collaborative book project on learning, education and games. With this awesome opportunity, I’m actually finding tons of research and case studies that I somehow missed before — aspects of the approach that I never gave enough consideration to until far into later iterations.

And then I went to the Games for Change conference in NYC which was AWESOME and got me inspired to revisit my approach with some fresh perspectives. (BTW shout-outs to speakers Rick Brennan from Histrionix & Michael Angst from E-Line Media for their thoughtful and ambitious efforts with game-based learning, Robin Hunicke from Funomena for her incredible passion, Dan White from Filament Games for his game “Reach for the Sun” winning Best Gameplay and for his very true-but-overlooked points on e-learning — definitely all worth checking out). And I met so many innovative & ambitious members of the social impact game dev community.

Then I met even more awesome people at a Game-Based Learning NYC Meetup following G4C — Educators, designers, visionaries. I must say, the teachers behind this movement are the most inspirational. Listening to their struggles, where games fit in to help solve those problems and how they are best integrated, along with their “success stories” of positive implementation — and all with this fiery passion for truly wanting to harness the power of play in aiding education — is something that pumped up every enthusiast in the room. It was one of the main points from Jesse Schell‘s talk at G4C as well: teachers need to be brought into the forefront of GBL initiatives, and right now they’re often excluded. As a co-organizer of this new Meetup group, I’m hoping that we can create a space to connect the educators themselves with the game designers & school administrators who seem to hold the power in a dissonant way right now.

Alright…It’s kind of late for me now that I’m officially part of the US labor force. (cue sudden burning desire to be back in college). But that’s an update of some of the things I’ve been up to lately. The game-based learning drive is definitely in full force from these networking events and such, along with a new craze for cross-platform UX & responsive design thanks to the cool project & awesome team I’m working with for my new job. So, I guess there’ll be plenty of new posts to come about these subjects in the coming weeks.

LOVING the view on my new running route!

LOVING the view on my new running route!

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