Please join us Thursday January 17 at 9 PM ET for the sixth installment of the G.A.M.E. "It Takes A Guild - A Guild of Educators" webinar series. We will be interviewing Steve Isaacs, Lisa Castaneda and Cameron Pittman about their use of Portal 2 in the classroom.
Steve Isaacs has been a gamer since the days of Atari and his Apple II+. His parents were initially concerned with how consumed he was with technology. Now they chuckle as he has created a career around his passion. Steve has been teaching Video Game Design and Development for 15 years, starting with his innovative programming at Liberty Corner Computing, the interactive training and gaming center that he and his wife owned and operated for 10 years. Liberty Corner Computing offered summer camps, after school programs, and multiplayer gaming. LCC was a mainstay in the small town of Liberty Corner, NJ, providing a unique opportunity for children to explore, learn, create, and socialize. In addition to operating LCC, Steve has been teaching computer courses at William Annin Middle School in Bernards Township, NJ for the past 14 years. Hired to bring his innovative approach to teaching technology, Steve has continually developed and delivered curriculum in areas including Graphic Design & Animation, Computer Programming, Digital Storytelling, and Video Game Design & Development. Several years ago, Steve developed an online version of the Video Game Design and Development course for Virtual High School (http://www.govhs.org). Based on enrollment, this course has quickly become one of the most popular offerings at VHS. Steve’s 7th grade class was featured in a Case Study video created by the Joan Ganz Cooney Center (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PN8o7Mv6Tlc&feature=relmfu).
Currently, Steve is working on his doctorate in Educational Technology with a focus on Game Based Learning at Boise State University. Recent presentations include ISTE 2012 in San Diego where Steve presented Game Up! as part of the Brain Pop team and a workshop on using Game Maker to teach Game Design presented at the Games in Education Symposium in Troy, NJ. Steve’s blog is at http://gamesandlearning1.blogspot.com
Lisa Castaneda has been teaching for nine years and during that time has taught from kindergarten through 8th grade. Currently, she is a middle school Math teacher. She has a master's degree in Education and has done research examining the effectiveness of video games in the math classroom. As a beta test teacher for the software company, Valve, she helped to design lessons and teach using their Portal 2 Puzzle Maker program. She was featured in a case study by Katie Salen on learning with video games and is involved in technology and learning groups in the Seattle area.
As a female gamer, female math teacher, and a female who is trying to advance the thinking of others surrounding video game usage in the classroom, Lisa definitely feels that women are underrepresented in this arena. Part of the research for her Master's program illustrated the challenges of effectively using video games, such as Portal 2, with girls in the classroom. She was proud to be a role model for her female students and also to demonstrate to her male students that she, too, enjoy and learn from video games. Video games benefit students of both genders and it is important that educators, game developers and researchers see females out there in the gaming world and learn from their experiences.
Cameron Pittman has been teaching for four years, spending most of his time teaching physics and chemistry. Currently, he teaches 10th and 11th grade students at LEAD Academy, a charter high school in Nashville, TN. Combining his interests in physics, video games and teaching, he has spent the last two years exploring Portal 2 as a physics lab setting for high school classes. He contributed all of the original physics lesson plans to Valve's Portal 2 educational community forum, and he also runs a website, Physics with Portals, which he uses to demonstrate physics experiments made in Portal 2 that students can perform in class. Currently, Valve Software is following the progress of Cameron's 11th grade physics classes, which are among the first to make Portal 2 a centerpiece of laboratory exercises.
This G.A.M.E. interview will be conducted by Laurence Cocco, Director of Educational Technology for the New Jersey Department of Education and one of the Guild Officers for G.A.M.E. (Gamers Advancing Meaningful Education).
"It Takes A Guild - A Guild of Educators" is an educator-centric webinar series of interviews and panel discussions featuring practitioners who have successfully implemented games into their classrooms and learning environments. As a G.A.M.E. (http://g.a.m.e.shivtr.com/) program, its mission is to help all stakeholders see and understand the deeper learning, community, creativity and entrepreneurship that is possible in online games.