Academic journal article T H E Journal (Technological Horizons In Education)

Innovator: Dr. Todd E. Keruskin, Assistant Superintendent Elizabeth Forward School District, Allegheny County, PA

Academic journal article T H E Journal (Technological Horizons In Education)

Innovator: Dr. Todd E. Keruskin, Assistant Superintendent Elizabeth Forward School District, Allegheny County, PA

Article excerpt

LEFT, RIGHT, AND CENTER

About two years ago, we visited the Entertainment Technology Center at Carnegie Mellon University, which brings right-brained and left-brained people together to create apps, video games, and other innovative things. We were blown away. It was like a museum, with colorful rooms just bursting with creativity.

FUN AND GAMES

With the Entertainment Technology Center as our model, we started the Entertainment Technology Academy at our high school. We redid an old computer lab, bringing in fun colors, fiber optic stars in the ceiling, and pop art on the wall. There are no student desks, no teacher desk. And in that room, students first take a course called Games Through the Ages, a history lesson on everything from ancient Egyptian and Roman games to modern day board and video games. From there, they branch off into courses like Gaming Programming, The Digital Artist, and Digital Storytelling. Than they come back together in work groups of three to develop video games and apps. We started the program in January 2012 with 30 kids, and now we have more than 200 students out of 800 taking one or more classes in the academy. We have parents calling us, asking us what the heck is going on, because their kids want to be in school now.

Beyond re-energizing our students, one of the biggest benefits of this approach has been the collaboration. The artists and the programmers and the creative writers are all working together, bringing their various strengths to the team. …

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