Narrascope 2020 Educators Gathering

Welcome to our own education-focused int.fic forum! Whether you attended the IFTF EdCom Roundtable or not, please introduce yourselves and let us know what you teach (or would like to teach)! Teela Brown = me, Judith Pintar, chair of the Education Committee.

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I am actually retired but hope to do some research loosely affiliated U of H or Texas Tech (TSBVI), or some other interested university.

I have a background in low vision therapy and hope to develop some fact based science fiction for students with low vision. I am hoping to be entertaining and include science learning along the way. If it works, I hope to have a series of similar stories covering various areas of general science.

It will need to be primarily text based so it will work with screen readers or braille.

So, I don’t intend to teach IF in the normal sense, just use it as a tool.

v/r
fos1

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Hi fos1. Thanks for being the first person to post after my call to Narrascope educators! Your plans sound wonderful and I’m sure you’ll get some interest. We’re hoping for a big crowd tomorrow at the Education Committee session at Narrascope – 5:30 Eastern Time on the Narrascope Twitch!

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Hi Teela,

I have to travel to Alabama tomorrow. I hope to be able to attend even if I have to stream to my iPad in the car. Hopefully it will be recorded as a backup. The Round Table is one of the highlights of Narrascope for me. Thank you!

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I’m Mike Spivey. I teach mathematics at the college level, but I was also able to teach an interactive fiction course (also at the college level) in the fall of 2019. I hope to teach that course again soon!

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I’m Josh Giesbrecht. I teach middle school kids, have occasionally introduced them to IF and would love to do so again in the near future!

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I’m that one zoomer on the Discord being very excited. I’m a fan of parser-based fiction and theory (closer to literature than game analysis) and I hope to get involved more in the IRL meetups post-corona!

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Hello! I’m Clara Fernandez-Vara, I’m full-time faculty at the NYU Game Center, and I’ve been teaching narrative design since 2010, and will hopefully continue doing so for many years. I teach mostly to game designers, but also computer scientists and screenwriters. I’ve also taught narrative workshops to educators over the years.

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Hi Everyone! I’m Katryna Starks and I’m currently full time at the University of the Sunshine Coast. I was quite fortunate in that the Game Design program was being developed while I was there, so I had the opportunity to design an Interactive Narrative minor. My primary authoring / teaching tool is Twine, but I expose my students to Ren’py, ChoiceScript, Adrift (briefly) and Quest. I also tell them to go to the Spring Thing contest to see what people are using to build and encourage them to try out any new tools they discover. My class is in the Game Design program, but I also get creative writing students, programming students, and others who just want an elective they consider creative and fun. I’ve learned so much from Narrascope and it’s great hearing advice from some of the people I’ve included in my class examples or quoted in my dissertation. It’s definitely going to contribute to my teaching. I hope I can give as much as I’ve gotten.

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Hi, fos,

Welcome to the forum! As you probably know, the IF community has traditionally included lots of low-vision folks, chuckling when they hear, “You’ve entered a dark place. You can’t even move around here, and you’re likely to be eaten by a grue.”

I wok with Beth Brassel, the young-adult librarian at the Pollard Memorial Library in Lowell, Massachusetts. For ten years or so, she and I have offered an IF club for middle-school and high-school students.

Best of luck, and be well.

Peace,
Brendan

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Hi, Mike,

It’s always good to hear from you. And thanks for your very-helpful session at Narrascope.

Peace,
Brendan

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Hi Katryn,

Welcome to the forum! I’m sure that you’ll have a lot to contribute here.

Would you care to offer some insight into your experiences with Quest? I, for one, am quite interested in this authoring system and its use with kids.

Have a great day, and be well.

Peace,
Brendan

Hi Brendan,

I haven’t personally made anything in it and only a few students have used it, but I like it because it gives them a parser option. I used to use Adrift for the parser option, but it needs its own player and Quest seems a bit more updated, though I like the organisational structure of Adrift because it separates things into characters, static and dynamic objects, locations, etc.

As for Quest itself for kids, it looks easy enough if to make a simple parser game (and it has linked options so it can make a game like Twine as well). There is no programming required as it’s all input boxes. The most difficult part I think would be explaining variables and “programming” aspects that would be easier just typing code. However, a lot is automated. You can create objects and then use check-boxes to determine whether they can be opened//closed, whether you can put things on them, whether they can be picked up and taken, etc.

I prefer “choice” games to parser games because I think parser games are playing the author (what verb would ‘they’ use - even though I’ve never met them?) and choice games are playing the game. Having said that, the options in parser engines include the type of organisational thinking required to make an interactive game, so I like showing them for that reason.

I wrote an article which outlines several IF engines, aimed at creative writers who have never made an interactive work. There’s a brief outline of Quest. You may find it interesting: http://www.textjournal.com.au/speciss/issue49/Starks.pdf

I hope this is helpful.

Cheers,
Katryna

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Hi, Josh,

Welcome to the forum. It’s good to have another middle school teacher. I was principally a middle-school teacher for twenty years before I retired in 2009, and I’m still happy to work with middle schoolers in an IF club at the Pollard Library in Lowell, Massachusetts.

Which stories have you tried with middle school kids? Which ones worked best?

Have a great day, and be well.

Peace,
Brendan

Hello,

I’m Mark Baumann. I’m a professor of physics and astronomy at St. Edward’s University, a small private university in Austin, TX. I am also a physics research fellow at The University of Texas at Austin. My research is in computational astrophysics.

I’ve had a long-time interest in IF and I’m currently working on my own IF game (www.4thwallgames.net). I’ve never taught IF, however that may change soon. My university has a video game design program and I’ll be teaching the coding courses for that program starting in the Fall of 2020.

I am interested in possibly using something like Inform or other IF languages to help non-coders learn some of the fundamental concepts of programming.

Nice to meet you all! I look forward to interesting discussions on teaching IF.

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In my Digital Media classes I’ve introduced kids to authoring IF using Inklewriter a few times. I haven’t yet been teaching English / Language Arts so I haven’t assigned readings.

I think I’ve also showed a few Twine examples to students along the way, most notably ‘You Are Jeff Bezos’ as a small but pointed numeracy lesson! :smiley:

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Thanks for the suggestion! I’m playing ‘You Are Jeff Bezos’ now :smiley:

(Warning, it’s a bit sweary to really get away with in a middle school … but, still)

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Hi, Katryna,

Thanks for getting back to me. I enjoyed my first reading of your article. Now I have to think about it.

Have a great day.

Peace,
Brendan

I’m Matt Weiner! I teach philosophy at the University of Vermont and really don’t teach IF at all, though I do teach a Wittgenstein class were we often use Something Something Soup Something, which is probably a game and probably not IF, and discuss, er, what is a game. (I tend not to share my definitive answer.)

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