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SXSW Day 1: Games and Education. Orwell and O’Reilly.

Posted in Knerds on March 11, 2011 by

@nlasche and @jshabin are at SXSW this year (2012)… Go say hi!

We made it! Met up with Dave at the wrong La Quinta late last night. Dave is recharging after 3 sleepless days on The Startup Bus from Silicon Valley, while Ashley and I figure out plans for the day at IHOP.

For today, there are 2 interesting talks at 2pm and 3:30pm on education and games that we’ll be splitting up and checking out:

Death of the Textbook, Emergence of Games

Textbooks published on trees are on the way out in Texas, California and the rest of the country and world. The Textbook industry is hoping they will be replaced with on-line versions spruced up with animated graphics. However, it is likely that on-line textbooks will be no more successful than magazine advertising that morphed into banner ads. Linear content with multiple choice answers at the end of each chapter, won’t work. And as with banner ads, on the Internet you can measure that they don’t work. What does work? Socially networked GAMES.

Child’s Play: Game Design As An Educational Gateway

Society stands to gain a lot from our next generation of kids, who are not only consuming vast amounts of media, but highly engaged with creating media themselves. Research shows the top type of media kids aim to engage in online are games. If we empower them with the tools to make their own games, we give them the opportunity to build valuable technical, artistic, storytelling, media literacy, and complex systems thinking skills. This panel will explore actual classroom case studies and perspectives on the effects of teaching game design to young children.

Ashley’s going to check out the compellingly named:

Programming and Minimalism: Lessons from Orwell & The Clash

Programming is writing. A programmer’s job is to express abstract ideas in a specific language – just like the poet, the essayist, and the composer. But while writers and composers spend years improving their style, many programmers think style stops with “two-space indentation”. This needs to change. This presentation will discuss style in music, writing, and software. We’ll look at such diverse sources as George Orwell, Mozart, and punk music, and will find that much of art revolves around complexity and minimalism – just like software. Finally, we’ll look at specific patterns and tools for writing software that is not just effective and efficient, but stylistically beautiful.

While Dave goes to check out O’Reilly’s Fireside chat with Jason Calacanis. We’ll keep you posted as the day progresses. Now to go check-in.

As a bonus, muse over this car in our La Quinta parking lot… Car and Feathered.