Teachers Teaching Teachers #202- The 3R's of Gaming: Playing, Modding, and Designing - 05.26.10

Post-Show description: 

On this episode of Teachers Teaching Teachers, we learned more about playing, modifying, and designing games. press-villagevoice.png

One of our guests was Scott Price, a game developer or producer at Gamestar Mechanic. A few of us in the New York City Writing Project, especially Susan Ettenheim and Shantanu Saha — both of whom are on this podcast — have been using a beta version of Gamestar Mechanic this spring with their students.

Students or as they are know inside of this game, “Mechanics" can do a bunch of fun and interesting things with Gamestar Mechanic, and most of them fall into three categories:

You’ll start the game playing the Gamestar Mechanic Quest. You’ll start out as a new arrival in Factory 7. Along the way, you will play games, fix broken games and even design games of your own. As you complete challenges, you’ll collect “sprites”: avatars, enemies, blocks and other tools that serve as the building blocks for making games.
In the workshop, you can use the sprites you’ve earned to build your own games. You can edit and change games you have created, add content that tells the “story” behind your game and, of course, play the games you’ve made.
Game Alley
If you’ve created an awesome game, you can publish it to Game Alley. In Game Alley, mechanics can play games created by other users and share the games they have created. You can review and comment on other mechanics’ games to let them know how much their games rock or what they can do to make them better.


On this episode of TTT, we were also priviledged to have a 6 grade teacher who has been using Gamestar Mechanic as well as other gaming platforms extensively with his students, Al Doyle.

Al is the “Sports for the Mind” domain teacher at Quest 2 Learn, a new public school in New York City “where students learn to see the world as composed of many different kinds of systems. It is a place to play, invent, grow, and explore.”

Al Doyle, a native of Brooklyn, has interests ranging from art and animation to set design, digital imaging and most recently, game design. He was the producer and lead animator for the Salvadori Foundation’s Art of Construction, a web site designed to teach basic architecture and engineering to middle school students. For more than twenty years, he has taught computer graphics and multimedia at leading independent New York City K-12 schools. Al developed a popular course for adults, Learning Photoshop Through Art, at the Guggenheim Museum. Al received a Jerome Foundation Fellowship to create a portfolio of prints at Bob Blackburn’s Printmaking Workshop which is now in the Library of Congress collection. Al studied stage design at the Polakov Studio in the West Village and was resident designer at HB Studio for several years. In addition, he designed over 100 educational theater productions and over 25 professional designs for ballet, dance, drama, musical theater and opera in off-Broadway and regional theater. As Director of Internet Training at the National Teacher Training Institute for New York’s Channel Thirteen / WNET, Al traveled extensively in a “train-the-trainers” model of technology integration for K-12 teachers. Currently, in addition to his role at Quest, Al teaches for the graduate division of Touro College’s Masters Degree Program in Instructional Technology.

 We hope you enjoy this episode, and we invite you to join us in our quest learn more about how to understand “game mechanics.” We want to imagine the different possibilities that Gamestar Mechanic and other sites like this provide to our students as we make room for these new literacies of game play, game modding, and game design!

Click Read more to see a copy of the chat that was happening during the webcast.

20:49:49 Paul Allison: Do I really have to turn my fan off?
20:49:52 Al Doyle: Hi Paul
20:49:57 Paul Allison: Hi Al.
20:50:35 Paul Allison: I've been out in our school garden all day... feeling a bit of heat stroke...
20:50:54 Paul Allison: But I'm excited about talking about gaming more tonight.
20:51:14 Paul Allison: Susan will be along soon, I imagine.
20:51:37 Al Doyle: moi aussi... aren't we Skyping as well?
20:51:48 Paul Allison: yes.
20:51:59 Paul Allison: SusanEttenheim will call you.
20:52:37 Al Doyle: yep, yep, I'm waitin' on a call here :)
20:57:00 Paul Allison: Hi srw
20:57:08 Paul Allison: Is that you Scott?
20:57:09 srw: god evening
20:57:13 srw: nope
20:57:27 Paul Allison: Are you a teacher?
20:57:44 srw: whoops-- good-- and yes-- former teacher-- admin now-- Dir of Tech
21:00:48 SusanEttenheim: hi jackie can you hear us?
21:01:21 srw: i cannot hear anything
21:01:45 Al Doyle: Hey, there
21:03:15 scottmwprice: Hello!
21:03:49 SusanEttenheim: hi srw welcome
21:04:31 Shantanu Saha: Hi!
21:04:33 srw: thanks
21:06:47 Paul Allison: http://www.gamesforchange.org/fest2010
21:09:09 Al Doyle: Gamestar Mechanic
21:09:49 Al Doyle: http://gamestarmechanic.com
21:09:50 Paul Allison: http://gamestarmechanic.com/
21:10:01 Al Doyle: we think alike :)
21:11:52 SusanEttenheim: hi christina welcome!
21:12:02 SusanEttenheim: hi rafael
21:12:04 SusanEttenheim: welcome
21:12:15 RafaelFajardo: hello everyone
21:12:30 Christina: hello
21:14:49 Christina: sorry ... cooking while listening
21:16:25 SusanEttenheim: yumm what are you cooking?
21:18:32 Christina: well, salmon over red rice and fresh lettuce from the garden
21:19:33 SusanEttenheim: umm
21:19:48 SusanEttenheim: glad you can listen in while cooking what and where do you teach?
21:20:06 Paul Allison: Isn't this C. Cantrill?
21:20:24 Christina: hi Susan ... this is Christina from the NWP. Happy to be here!
21:20:57 SusanEttenheim: :)
21:21:24 Christina: Caught Paul today while he was in the garden at school today. He was paralleling gardening with gaming. So I thought I should come by :)
21:21:34 SusanEttenheim: great!
21:21:47 SusanEttenheim: srw - where and what do you teach?
21:22:05 srw: Dir of Tech in Western NY-- former english teacher
21:22:16 SusanEttenheim: ahh have you joined us before?
21:22:23 SusanEttenheim: I think soo.... ?
21:22:42 srw: likely-- I pop into lots of ed talks
21:22:58 SusanEttenheim: what ages do you work with?
21:23:23 SusanEttenheim: rafael - welcome - please introduce yourself
21:23:23 srw: k-12.  taught middle and hs.
21:25:05 RafaelFajardo: Thank you Susan. I teach at the University of Denver, and I am co-PI on an NSF ITEST grant to teach teachers and students to design and dev games
21:25:42 SusanEttenheim: wow are you familiar with our guests?
21:26:54 RafaelFajardo: No, not with your guests. I've been following the developments of Gamestar Mechanic, and am friends with Katie Salen
21:30:37 SusanEttenheim: have you used it?
21:32:23 RafaelFajardo: I had access to an early beta, but wasn't able to use it with our cohorts. It was closely held. We started with ActionScript 2.0 the first cohort. Greenfoot with the 2nd, and are now committed to Scratch. We are moving toward teaching middle school teachers with our next round of proposals.
21:32:56 SusanEttenheim: ahh rafael - do you have skype?
21:33:05 RafaelFajardo: Yes
21:33:16 SusanEttenheim: earbuds? mic?
21:33:25 SusanEttenheim: so we don't get feedback
21:33:31 RafaelFajardo: yes to earbuds, onboard mic
21:33:48 SusanEttenheim: great
21:33:56 SusanEttenheim: can I call you into the conversation?
21:34:19 RafaelFajardo: I've got some background noise from the AC in my room, let me turn it off. No cameras right?
21:34:27 SusanEttenheim: so you have used gamestar mechanic?
21:34:36 SusanEttenheim: no cameras
21:35:09 SusanEttenheim: ;)
21:35:15 RafaelFajardo: only very briefly, I don't think I would be qualified to say anything that your guests can't already cover
21:35:35 SusanEttenheim: oh it's just to chime in ... ask questions..
21:36:12 RafaelFajardo: susan, I'm going to demure and listen. I'm hoping to learn. :)
21:36:22 SusanEttenheim: ok :)
21:36:42 RafaelFajardo: thank you for the warm welcome :D
21:36:59 SusanEttenheim: glad you're here!
21:44:10 SusanEttenheim: al had them make gamlng cards
21:48:00 scottmwprice: Al's challenge cards and gaming cards are really cool.  :)
21:49:00 scottmwprice: Gamestar Mechanic's Learning Guide is free, btw, and provides a nice "Game Design 101" curriculum whether or not you're using Gamestar Mechanic.
21:54:52 SusanEttenheim: hi carl welcome!
21:55:03 SusanEttenheim: where and what do you teach?
21:55:55 Carl: Hello everyone, I teach in a MS in NM, I teach students how to make tech work for them, (tech lab)
21:56:13 SusanEttenheim: do you do any gaming?
21:57:06 Carl: personally or in class?
21:57:13 SusanEttenheim: in class
21:58:04 Carl: My students have a 9 week unit on programming, they can choose to make games if they want for final project, (Scratch).
21:58:14 SusanEttenheim: ah wow
22:00:27 Carl: This is the first year I put the whole unit on our Moodle server, kids enjoyed that, next year all content will be on Moodle.
22:00:43 SusanEttenheim: wow
22:01:53 Carl: I also run a Project Guts club after school that uses StarLogo TNG for modeling scientific problems - http://projectguts.org
22:04:04 Carl: Any MS teachers out there?
22:04:38 Al Doyle: "Casual Games" by Grep Telfrey
22:04:48 Al Doyle: MS teacher here...
22:05:26 Carl: What is everyone using to do Game programming?
22:06:22 SusanEttenheim: well, with gamestar mechanic, you drag and drop
22:06:27 SusanEttenheim: it's amazing
22:09:52 Carl: Anyone use roblox?
22:10:05 SusanEttenheim: hi hello welcome!
22:10:12 SusanEttenheim: what is roblox?
22:10:24 scottmwprice: Roblox is pretty cool!  Though I had trouble installing it properly.
22:10:45 Carl: http://www.roblox.com/
22:10:58 scottmwprice: "Casual Game Design" by Greg Trefry.  (sorry, Al-- sp!)
22:11:15 Carl: Program games, avatar, scenery, etc
22:11:52 Carl: Unfortunately, Roblox is blocked at school
22:14:03 Christina: 'night all. thank you!
22:14:10 SusanEttenheim: night - thank you!
22:14:33 RafaelFajardo: thank you all!
22:14:41 SusanEttenheim: see you all next week!
22:14:55 scottmwprice: Yep - you've got a new subscriber! ;)
22:15:35 Carl: Night