‪‪ Educators Summit | GDC | Teaching Game Development

Educators Summit (M-T)

GDC 2018 content. GDC 2019 coming soon.

Discover the most innovative and exciting ideas in game education in the Educators Summit on Monday and Tuesday, March 19-20, 2018. Learn best practices to bring back to your classrooms and experimental approaches that will advance the field for the next generation of students. Join educators from established game development programs and new game course creators for professional development and to explore challenges together. Register for an Educators Summit pass to attend (or choose an All Access or GDC Conference+Summits pass).

View all Educators Summit sessions

Featured Sessions

Cuba, Nairobi, Borneo, Oh My! Creating Games Education (Very) Abroad
Lindsay Grace (American University Game Lab)
In 2017, the world learned of Cuba's first indie game, as the US opened and closed its doors to Cuba. How do you bring the wonders of game design and development across political and national borders? How do you design and develop educational programs not only abroad, but in communities that may offer little or no such education? How do you teach game design and development without the internet? Drawing from the experience of providing games workshops and programs in Cuba, Nairobi, and Borneo, this talk gives you the full process for bringing games education abroad.
Improving Critique of Game Projects with Expert and Peer Feedback
Jessica Hammer (Carnegie Mellon University)
Martin Pichlmair (Broken Rules)
In design education, as well as commercial creative practice, game educators are constantly asked to provide critique for unfinished work. This talk presents best practices, common challenges, and successful formats around providing critique. In addition to providing material on expert-led critique, Jessica Hammer and Martin Pichlmair will share two experimental approaches for improving peer feedback on game projects. Considerations for selecting and implementing appropriate critique methods will be discussed. While originating from education, the presented techniques are applicable to a wide range of design areas, from game design to visual arts.
Disabilities: Helping Students Survive and Thrive
Henry Bawden (Columbus State Community College)
There are students with disabilities in every college program. Game development programs, in particular, tend to draw large numbers of students with disabilities. These can present unique challenges to teaching that go above just sharing information. In this session Henry Elmo Bawden will share his experiences in tackling this challenge. He will share success stories, and a methodology for you to use. You will learn to overcome challenges, while helping to utilize the amazing and unique strengths students with disabilities can bring to your programs.
Game a Week: Teaching Students to Prototype
Bennett Foddy (NYU Game Center)
Inspired by the Experimental Gameplay Project, Foddy and Wilson have been teaching two versions of a class in which students, working alone or in pairs, make a digital game every week of the semester. Both Foddy and Wilson are excited about the results: a body of critically successful prototypes as well as students who have rapidly improved in terms of technical competence, design flexibility, and creative vision. This talk presents a close look at "Game a Week", discussing the pedagogical challenges involved in successfully running such a class.
Games and Social Justice: Adopting Service Learning for Games Education
Gillian Smith (Worcester Polytechnic Institute)
In this talk, the speaker offers a post-mortem on a course she has designed and taught about "Games and Social Justice". The course uses service-learning, where students work with external, non-profit community partners, to provide a context for a group final game design project. Attendees coming to this talk will learn about the value of integrating service learning into their game design courses, how the incorporation of reflective writing helps students build links between theory and practice, and how working with external partners builds students' professional skills and makes abstract discussion about social issues more concrete through game creation.

Educators Summit Advisors

Katherine Isbister
UC Santa Cruz

Katherine Isbister is a leading researcher in games and human computer interaction. She is Professor of Computational Media at the University of California Santa Cruz, and Director of the Center for Games and Playable Media. Her research focuses on designing games that heighten social and emotional connections for players, toward innovating design theory and practice. Her lab's games have been featured in venues including IndieCade (‘Yamove!' Finalist in 2012; ‘SceneSampler' Featured 2017) and the World Science Festival. Isbister's book on game character design, Better Game Characters by Design, was nominated for a Game Developer Magazine Frontline award. Her edited volume, Game Usability, brings together best practices in game playtesting and user research. Her most recent book, How Games Move Us, explores connections between game design and player emotional responses.

Michael Mateas
UC Santa Cruz
Michael is recognized internationally as a leader in AI-based interactive entertainment. He was the founding chair of the Department of Computational Media at UC Santa Cruz, a department which grew out of Computer Science and combines CS, art and design to invent new forms of interactive experiences. He founded and co-directs the Expressive Intelligence Studio, one of the largest technical game research groups in the world and was also the founding director of the Center for Games and Playable Media at UC Santa Cruz. Credits include 'Prom Week', a social simulation-based interactive story and puzzle game, and 'Façade', the world's first AI-based interactive drama. Michael has given numerous keynote addresses and paper presentations at conferences worldwide. He received his Ph.D. in Computer Science from Carnegie Mellon University.
Brenda Romero
University of Limerick & Romero Games
Brenda Romero is a BAFTA award-winning game designer, artist and Fulbright scholar who entered the video game industry in 1981. As a designer, she has worked on 47 games and contributed to many seminal titles, including the Wizardry and Jagged Alliance series and titles in the Ghost Recon, Dungeons & Dragons and Def Jam franchises. Away from the machine, her analog series of six games, The Mechanic is the Message, has drawn national and international acclaim, particularly Train and Siochán Leat (often called "The Irish Game") which is presently housed in the National Museum of Play. Most recently, she received the 2017 Development Legend award at the Develop: Brighton. In 2015, she won the coveted Ambassador's Award at the Game Developers Choice Awards. In 2014, she received a Fulbright award to study Ireland's game industry, academic and government policies. In 2013, she was named one of the top 10 game developers by Gamasutra.com and Develop magazine listed her among the 25 people who changed games in 2013. Romero co-owns Romero Games based in Galway and is Program Director at the University of Limerick MSc in Game Design & Development.
Ian Schreiber
Rochester Institute of Technology
Ian Schreiber has been in the industry since the year 2000, first as a programmer and then as a game designer. He has worked on six published game titles and two serious game projects, and is a co-founder of Global Game Jam. Ian has taught game design and development courses at a variety of two-year and four-year schools, and is currently an assistant professor at RIT.
Miguel Sicart
IT University of Copenhagen

Miguel Sicart is an Associate Professor at the Center for Computer Games, IT University of Copenhagen. His research has focused on the ethics of digital games and game design. He teaches courses on game design and experimental digital play design, and was Head of Program for the IT University's GAMES MsC between 2009 and 2013. His more recent work explores the nature of play, with a particular interest in the ludic aspects of computational technologies. He is the author of The Ethics of Computer Games, Beyond Choices: The Design of Ethical Gameplay, and Play Matters (The MIT Press, 2009, 2013, 2014).


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