Monthly Archives: March 2014

Reaction Paper Eight: Fir, Gideon, and Jake

This week’s lecture was by my classmates, Woodbury University’s interns from Singapore, Gideon, Fir, and Jake. Jake is a current major in programming, Gideon an animation student hoping to get into the game field, and lastly Fir is an animation student with a goal of getting into the film industry. Their lecture this week was about the experiences they had at GDC which is short for Game Developers Conference. I am genuinely interested in attending the monumental event however, listening to their talk, it all seemed too daunting, at least for me. The thought of even creating a portfolio is scary. How am I going to make a portfolio or even answer programming questions when I can’t even remember simple code? I remember them saying that it’s okay to say “I don’t know.” But I highly doubt that they meant I could be clueless for every single question sent my way. As for the art stuff, I don’t feel that I’ve learned enough to be considered. Besides all of this, I’m both excited and worried about the things they showed that were at GDC. The new game technology, the new ways of creating… I worry about the way of life changing. All it does is make me think of the Pixar film “Wall-E” and the characters that are too fat to even take a step. They simple exist behind screens and shoving their faces full of food. I worry that human existence will trickle down to a life behind a screen, or even a world that is simple plugged into our heads, much like what we’ve all seen in “The Matrix.” On a smaller scale, the devices we use to play our games our expensive enough, however, creators seem to be making the technology bigger and bigger and with more power. This translates to extremely expensive materials, making the product cost an arm and a leg… and possibly my first born child. This also makes me think of possible environmental issues. Going beyond the obvious issue of non-renewable resources that are often found in today’s technology, what about the power these things absolutely need to be used? I know that our technology is slowly making its way toward being too powerful for the processing capabilities we currently have. I also know that our most common forms of energy is not exactly unlimited or eco-friendly. What will happen to us if we continue the way we are going?

Reaction Paper Seven: Ki Karou

The speaker we had this week was Ki Karou, who is an Educational Game Designer from the MIND Research Institute. Currently, their focus of interest is STMath Touch where they are creating apps in order to educate students, kindergarten through sixth grade. Their focus is to educate people through gaming. However, he feels that educational games are lacking in comparison to games and the growth of technology. The MIND Research Institute was the institution that did a study concluding that children who listened to Mozart had better short term performance when performing tasks. It was considered something akin to a warm-up in sports. Spatial Temporal Reasoning, which is used in all levels of mathematics is the focus in the apps. Rather than using symbols and numbers, it utilizes space and time to help the students better understand each subject. This ability is innate in all people but it can also be improved. They believe strongly in the Action Perception Cycle which leads to self-adjustment. In short, when a child gets the problem wrong, it is expected that they will adjust accordingly to correctly answer the question. These games are normally one year’s worth of curriculum, common core, not just fractions or memorization. In regards to these applications, I’m not sure that they would be successful in the public market. I see no possible way for the child to get through these puzzles if they were to get stuck on their own without becoming extremely frustrated. As I write this, I sit next to my sister explaining the difference between the “>” symbol and the “<” symbol only to watch her get frustrated and bring herself nearly to tears despite my simplified explanation of “the alligator wants the most fishes he can eat, whichever side has more.” How can a child, especially one as emotional as my younger siblings, be expected to actually complete this in a home setting? Some of these apps look too difficult for even my parents to navigate around and I believe this would be much better suited to stay in the school environment where children could receive immediate assistance from their teachers rather than struggling at home trying to figure these puzzles out and eventually leading to giving up on the application and math entirely. I’ve seen what this type of frustration can do to a student’s taste for learning and while I do agree that students shouldn’t be given the answers right when they get something wrong but I believe that explanation and “how to” is essential for learning. Sure, they should understand something is the way it is, like division and what’s actually happening but I believe that explanation can happen after the lesson. This is something that I believe is sorely missing from today’s education; for example, I only recently figured out the why behind negative exponents. I could always find the answer but I didn’t know what exactly I was doing with these numbers which was finding the reciprocal or dividing. However, a simple lesson from a good professor provided me the insight rather than a convoluted application.

Reaction Paper Six: TED talk Cameron Russell

1. The title, speaker, and link (URL) to the TED video that you have chosen.

The title of the TED video I watched was “Cameron Russell: Looks aren’t everything. Believe me, I’m a model.” The speaker, Cameron Russell, is a well-known underwear model who has been in the fashion industry for over ten years. She has modeled for many companies, Victoria’s Secret is one of them.

2. Why did you choose that particular TED video?

I chose this particular video because it was influential when I first saw it. I wish I had been told most of this stuff when I was thirteen or fourteen. I feel like most girls need to know that modeling or simply being beautiful is not a “career path” like Cameron Russell said is her talk. I think even a few adults need to understand the concept of white privilege and what kind of benefits they earn simply from having a specific type color of skin.

3. What did you learn from watching this TED video?

In this video I learned that modeling is an occupation created entirely by society. What society deems as beautiful decides who will be hired and when. I had no idea that despite us boasting about today’s level of equality, there were so little non-white models hired in 2013. We’re in the 21st century and we still have white slender woman who fit the stereotype dominating an industry entirely dedicated beauty. If you were to take apart that simple sentence, what does that say to non-white, non-slender, non-stereotypical woman out there? Is it to say that everyone who doesn’t fit these characteristics is not beautiful, pretty or even simply a good person? I also learned about the huge problem that is racial profiling. “I live in New York and last year of the 140,000 teenagers that were stopped and frisked, 86% of them were black and latino and most of them were young men. And there are only 177,000 young black and latino men in New York so for them it’s not a question of ‘Will I get stopped?’ but ‘How many times will I get stopped? When will I get stopped?’ When I was researching this talk I found out that of the 13 year old girls in the United States, 53% don’t like their bodies and that number goes to 78% by the time they are 17.” Most of this section I found completely unacceptable about it but some part of it rung with the thirteen year old girl I used to be, the girl who felt that she needed makeup and straight hair for people to like her.

4. What are your reactions?

After this video, as a Filipino-Puerto-Rican-American, who sits at a nice 5’5”, feel extremely better about the choices I’ve made in life. After I first saw this video, I felt better knowing that instead of spending money on things like makeup products I was spending it on things I love doing. I bought books, video games and soon found that I am right where I need to be.