One of the highlights of being in the Game Art & Design concentration at Durham School of the Arts is attending the East Coast Game Conference (ECGC). This event, which is held annually in Raleigh, boasts the largest gathering of professional game designers on the east coast. The focus of this year's conference was virtual reality (VR). Students had an opportunity to listen to talks such as:
While all of us could attend talks in any of the sessions tracks including: narrative, art, design, audio, programming, serious games, Indie games, Unreal engine, and portfolio critiques, I spend most of my time listening to the speakers in the design track. Some of the topics that caught my attention were:
Baldwin's talk focused on making sure that team leads consider and touch on each of the following areas when doing critiques: sensitivity, clarity, inspiration, generosity, timeliness, honesty, openness, curiosity, time, follow-through, role identification and riffing. After the talk, I asked the students who attended this session with me how well I meet those requirements as defined in the session. Their response: around 70%. While this is pretty good as some of the items discussed mainly pertain to team leads at game companies, I know there are areas that I need to work on improving. With all that is expected of teachers, I know that I could put more time into critiques, both verbally and in print.
One way I would like to do improve my critiques is to plan on adding a day completely dedicated to critique every couple of weeks starting next school year. This will allow students to see and discuss each other's work as well as pick up tips from me on how to improve their skills. Also, such a day will give them a nice breather between assignments, allowing them to critically think about the work they are doing rather than just plowing through the assigned work. Learning critiquing skills is also an important life skill for students, so I may even have them take the lead on some of those days as well. I may try these techniques a couple of times this year as well, but as the we are coming up to exams and the year is ending before much longer, it really doesn't make sense to make any drastic changes to how we have been doing things all year.
I am a high school Career & Technical Education (CTE) teacher located in Durham, NC with a focus on game art and design. This blog provides a place for reflection on relevant classroom practices.
The views and opinions expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not represent those of my employer or anyone else associated with Durham Public Schools.