Young Creators Academy is about much more than technology, software coding or creating videogames with tablets.
Through our hands-on active engagement approach and results oriented fun activities, we cover a wide range of basic and advanced skills while the kids enthusiastically go through an exciting journey of discovery learning and creation:
Awareness, conceptualization and visualization, open and applied creativity, structured thoughts, oral, visual and written expression and communication skills, collaboration and team work, connected processes, logics, maths and finally tech and coding skills.
One important impact of the program is that kids learn and actively use technology as a tool and as an enabler for creativity, not just a delivery mechanism for content and entertainment. When they see a tablet of have access to technology, now they will think what they can create with it rather than what to watch or play on it.
The same goes with stories and games. They unleash their capacity and are motivated to imagine their own stories and actively explore alternative and how to change stories and games.
Below is a quick summary of our general approach and some of the skill areas covered throughout the program.
Engagement and Awareness
Our first engagement with the kids is a fun session where we watch a short video of popular video games and slowly create awareness of what games are and about the playing experience.
The goals are:
- To connect the instructors with the kids and with the topic of games.
- To make kids aware of their own emotions and experiences when playing.
- To gain insights and a higher understanding of games by creating a personal interpretation of game types and games as interactive stories.
- Watch a short video showcasing popular videogames.
- Have participants identify them and talk about them.
- What are our favorite games?
- Why do we like them?
- What are some games we don't like?
- Why don't we like them?
- Different types of games for different types of players.
- Action, adventure, roleplaying, sports, puzzles, trivia, labyrinths, etc.
- What is a game then?
- Introduce the concept of games as interactive stories where we get to control one or more characters and influence their environment and even the story itself.
- Discuss the elements of videogames and stories.
- Story and plot, characters, environment, goals, challenges and obstacles, actions, inflection points and levels, scoring, resolution, winning, losing.
- So, how are games created:
- Concept and story.
- Visuals: images and animations.
- Game mechanics: control, movement, interactions and collisions.
- Computer programming.
- Experience the fun of creating:
- Let's start by drawing a story scenario and see it come alive as a game.
- Draw and Create a quick game with Draw your Game
Conceptualization and Creativity
We move to a more creative approach, motivating kids to imagine a videogame (open creativity), visualize it and then focus on its features and specific appeal to others.
- Invoke the Magic, Create the Inexistent.
- Imagine a Game. Explain what it is about.
- What is cool about it. What will you like about it. What will others like about it.
Storytelling and Communication Skills
- Tell the story of your game to others.
- Make them like it.
Graphic Skills and Visualization
- Draw a picture representing the game.
- Optional: Draw additional pictures of the game stages, situations, winning and losing conditions.
Writing Skills and Spelling
Write the story of your game.
At this point, the kids are ready to complete our Videogame definition template, without it being a boring task and allowing them to structure their thoughts and become our of the structure and building blocks of a videogame.
- Name of the Game.
- Situation represented in the game.
- Where does it take place.
- Who is the main character (player).
- Who is/are the adversary/ies.
- What’s the goal.
- Winning condition.
- What are the challenges / difficulties.
- What are the obstacles.
- Losing condition.
Collaboration Skills: Working together
Since the very beginning and throughout the program, collaboration and respect of others work, ideas, space and tools is actively incentivated within a framework of horizontal cooperation and under the supervision of the coordinators.
- Building and sharing knowledge and skills together.
- Helping others.
A clear set of rules is explained and enforced, including:
- Others work, others ideas, others tools.
- Workplace environment.
- A time for work, a time for play.
Challenges and Problem Solving
We believe that software coding is mostly about creating practical solutions to challenges and creating tangible interactive experiences of ideas and stories. The actual coding is only a minimal part of it and most of the software creating activity is done in our heads, addressing challenges and creating solutions.
The kids also develop and acquire advanced math skills for their age, without difficulty as part of the creation processes of their games.
- Addition, subtraction.
- Numeric and Text Values.
- Operations with Variables.
- Logic statements.
- Conditions and true and false statements.
- Comparison of variables and values.
- X,Y Coordinates
- Relative and Absolute Positioning of Objects.
- Movement along coordinates.
- Continuous and discrete.