Course: Adventures in 2D & 3D Video Game Creation & Game Modding
DMA Instructor: Katy Mayer
Education: Montclair State University; Montclair, NJ (Major: Family & Child Studies, w/ Concentration in Elementary Education). Certified to teach Early Education and recently received her certification to teach Gifted & Talented students, from the University of California San Diego.
Professional Portrait: A versatile instructor with a wide range of technological and educational interests, Katy Mayer has spent the last two years teaching 4th Grade at La Jolla Elementary in San Diego, CA. During this time, she has shown her passion for the digital arts by teaching the Seminar class “Multimedia Fusion 2,” and by serving on the Technology Committee at her school. (She also attended the California Computing Educators or “CUE” Conference this year for Digital Media Academy.) Katy matches her classroom excellence with a variety of vigorous athletic pursuits, she’s a surf instructor of five years and also operated a surf clinic. She has also coached a high school varsity lacrosse team sports and served for two years as the head coach of a lacrosse camp.
DMA Campus: UCSD
Katy is just one of Digital Media Academy’s instructors who not only possess outstanding educational credentials, but also have backgrounds that reflect their diverse training and personal creativity. When Katy’s not teaching during the regular school year, she spends her summers with DMA at the University of California at San Diego.
As a local 4th Grade teacher, Katy Mayer knows how to bring out the best and brightest in kids.
“I was hired for the instructor’s position after working for DMA as a teacher’s assistant,” she recalls. The teacher’s assistant position was for DMA’s Jr. Adventures program in Game Creation. That same year, she was also serving as a TA for the Adventures in Surfing and Filmmaking Summer Camp. In that summer camp program, students shoot surf video using state-of-the-art video gear and then edit the footage into their own extreme surf film. Katy was also a TA for Digital Media Academy’s Adventures in Robotics program. At last year’s UCSD session, Katy taught Jr. Adventures in Art & Digital Photography and Adventures in 2D & 3D Game Design and Game Modding.
As part of her school’s Technology Committee, Katy keeps current on the latest software breakthroughs and emerging teaching methods. Katy is very excited to be gearing up for her third summer with DMA, and the prospect of working even more intensely with the technology she loves.
Katy’s passions are technology and helping children use it to tap into their natural creativity.
“I look forward to the four weeks when I’m able to work with students hands-on with a project-based curriculum and state-of-the-art technology,” she says. When asked about one of her most memorable experiences at DMA, Katy mentions last year’s 2D & 3D Video Game Creation class. Students started the program by learning how to make their own basic version of “Breakout” (the timeless 70s Pong-like classic where you hit a white dot across a screen to literally “break out” a playfield of bricks). That was just the first step though.
Campers then developed increasingly more sophisticated games as the week-long summer computer camp for kids continues (that’s right, kids aren’t making leather and beaded bracelets anymore). The interaction during camp – between the student and instructor, as well as between students – helped spark ideas that refined the games even further. By the end of the week, students had tangible proof of their expanded skill set.
“Not only do the students learn how to make a video game, but they are able to bring that game home to show their friends and family.”
This summer, Katy anticipates that aspiring game designers will again start the week of camp making a “Breakout”-like game. It’s a guided process that teaches kids the basics of game creation. Students will then add their own images and create a game theme. “After we build the complex and exciting parts of the game,” says Katy, “Students are given the freedom to independently create their own game using what they’ve learned. Many students are able to create three or more games by the end of the week. Not only do the students learn how to make a video game, but they are able to bring that game home to show their friends and family.”
The camp quickly brings students up to speed on game design basics, help them develop problem solving techniques and gets them on the path to creating their own ideas. Students test and play each other’s projects, sharing ideas along the way. The finishing touch is adding sound effects and then standing back and watching campers being blown away by what they’ve created.
Katy and the next generation of game makers – DMA’s 2D & 3D Game Designers, Class of 2010.
Katy enjoys DMA’s total approach to the digital media camp experience. When not in the classroom instructing this summer, chances are you will find her helping another Jr. Adventures class as a teacher’s assistant, or outside enjoying some recreational fun with Jr. Adventure campers. She’s delighted to welcome each summer’s new game designers to DMA, but Katy’s really overjoyed when she sees students coming back for more. “This will be my third year at the UCSD campus and it’s a thrill to see students return year after year to advance their skills or to take another course.”
Digital Media Academy offers one-week and two-week-long summer computer camps for kids ages 6-12. DMA is also a Certified Apple Training Center and offers one-on-one training for budding game designers of all age groups, in a wide range of creative areas. DMA instructors are industry and educational professionals with quality credentials that count. Like Katy Mayer.
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