DMA Central

THE OFFICIAL COMMUNITY FOR DIGITAL MEDIA ACADEMY

Adventures in 2D & 3D Video Game Creation

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

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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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posted by DMA Jordan in 3D Game Development,News Blog and have No Comments

Adventures in Art & Digital Photography: Unlocking Genius at an Early Age

Course: Junior Adventures in Art & Digital Photography

DMA Instructor: Megan Howe

Education: Western Washington University; Bellingham, WA (Major: Child Development, w/ Reading Specialist Certification). Master’s degree: Boston College; Chestnut Hill, MA (Major: Curriculum and Instruction, Teaching English Language Learners).

Professional Portrait: A talented educator and gifted photographer, Megan Howe brings numerous skills and endless energy to her work. Currently a 3rd Grade teacher at the Graham and Parks Alternative Public School in Cambridge, MA, Megan will change coasts this fall and begin teaching 4th Grade at Larchmont Charter School in West Hollywood. Her six years of teaching children (in combination with her undergrad major in Child Development) give her special insight into today’s kids. She knows what makes them tick and how to help them unlock their creative potential. Megan combines her superb educational credentials with a confident understanding of today’s digital media and an artist’s passion for expression.

DMA Campus: UCLA

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Put a digital camera in a young summer campers hands and show them in how to use it – not just to focus and shoot, but to really take advantage of the technology’s amazing potential. Then teach them the connection between digital photography and traditional art – by not just showing campers famous works of art, but guiding them as they recreate major masterpieces. Experiencing for themselves the same techniques used by art’s great masters.


“The marriage of art and digital photography really enriches the program and gives kids a more in-depth perspective as to how to see the world as an artist.”

At Digital Media Academy’s computer & visual arts summer camp, learning is strictly a hands-on process, no matter if you’re using a digital camera or picking up a paint brush. Now, Megan is ramping up for another great summer and getting ready to teach digital photography and art to kids ages 6 through 8 in DMA’s Junior Adventures in Art & Digital Photography summer camp course.


DMA Instructor Megan Howe helps kids take a hands-on approach to learning how art and digital photography work together.

“I love seeing the kids’ faces when they really get to explore with the digital camera.” You can hear the excitement in Megan’s voice: “I love seeing the kids’ faces when they really get to explore with the digital camera, their faces light up the first time they see the image on their camera screen…just as they do the first time they upload a picture and see their work, or when they share their work with others. And then their faces really light up when they present the slide show of their photographs to their families.”

Digital photography isn’t just a summer hobby for this teacher, either; she tells DMAC that she incorporates today’s electronic technology into her classroom activities throughout the academic year. This way, her “digital” skills never become outdated, because they stay in constant use.

“I love seeing the kids’ faces when they really get to explore with the digital camera.”

This summer, kids in her Junior Adventures in Digital Photography and Art course will get a well-rounded overview of both art forms. For their training in digital photography, the first step is getting familiar with the equipment. “The kids learn the parts of a digital camera, how to hold it and what each part does. This helps them with the basics for the rest of the sessions,” Megan explains. “Then we learn things like how to zoom, how to photograph shadows and photographing using the ‘rule of thirds.’ This gives the kids a variety of photographs to look through and choose for their slide show. It also gives them experience using different techniques.”

Those are all great learning activities, but it’s not the whole picture. “We also learn how to edit the photographs,” says Megan. “This includes an introduction to I-photo, cropping, retouching, and creating black and white photos. Then the kids put all these skills together to create a slide show.”


Megan, an expert photographer, captured this close-up of a rock-climbing snail.

What makes this Junior Adventures course really special, however, is that it also underscores the connection between digital photography and traditional art. The course’s art sessions familiarize students with the works of five important artists – Vincent Van Gogh, Jackson Pollock, Georgia O’Keefe, Henri Matisse and Eric Carle – by letting the kids use a technique related to each particular artist. So kids experience Van Gogh’s amazing use of color by using chalk pastels to recreate his signature masterpiece, “Starry Night.” To study action painter Pollock, kids will actually learn his famous method of “drip painting.” Each artist’s technique – from cutting paper and making collages like Matisse to mixing colors of paint a la Georgia O’Keefe – will broaden the child’s appreciation and knowledge of art. Even more importantly, these activities will help identify special talents and interests possessed by that child.


Megan commands the imaginations of the young crowd.

Megan feels that both parts of the course carry equal significance for that child’s training. “Students split their day between creating art on paper and capturing it with a camera,” she says. “The marriage of art and digital photography really enriches the program and gives kids a more in-depth perspective as to how to see the world as an artist.”

DMA offers computer and visual arts summer camps and courses for budding artists of all age groups, in a wide range of creative areas. DMA instructors have the quality credentials that count to parents and other educators and their methods of instruction represent the best and latest professional teaching practices. Learn more about DMA programs and instructors by visiting Digital Media Academy.

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Camp Fairs Raffle (Drawing #2) Winner Announced!

Announcing the Second DMA Camp Fair Free Tuition winner!

Congratulations to Darryl Sanjeant (Dominic) for winning the raffle for free tuition to the Digital Media Academy from our second round of camp fairs! Dominic can choose from our many great courses.

DMA attends many camp fairs across the country. Attendees are able to enter their name for a chance to win a free summer camp course by Digital Media Academy.

summer camp fair

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posted by DMA Jordan in News Blog and have No Comments

Camp Fairs Raffle (Drawing #1) Winner Announced!

Announcing the first DMA Camp Fair Free Tuition winner!

Congratulations to Tiffany Miller for winning the raffle for free tuition to the Digital Media Academy from our first round of camp fairs! Tiffany can choose from our many great courses.

DMA attends many camp fairs across the country. Attendees are able to enter their name for a chance to win a free summer camp course by Digital Media Academy.

summer camp fair

 

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posted by DMA Jordan in News Blog and have No Comments