• Completed C# Course

    Completed C# Course

    I just finished this course with Penny de Byl on Udemy. It was a thorough introduction to C# that is providing a foundation for learning Unity. I've already started her Unity animations course to begin applying what I've learned here. 

    It's amazing what you can accomplish with a gifted teacher by your side. I feel like I'm at roughly the same skill level with C# now, after this one course, as I am with JavaScript, which I've been learning on my own for years. Although I was able to skim through some of the early lessons on computer science fundamentals because of my prior experience.

    One of the best features of Penny's course were the moments when she would stop and challenge you to do something in your code before moving on. If you could figure it out, then you felt like a hero. But if not, she jumped right back in with a detailed explanation so you wouldn't get stuck for too long. 

  • New Prototype!

    New, professionally printed prototypes finally arrived today! Just in time, too - I'm about to fly out tomorrow morning and I wanted to bring at least one with me. Hoping to get in some good user testing and observation in while I'm away.

    The art is only placeholder for now, but I really like this bold, colorful style. I'll probably keep some elements of this look in the final version. 

  • New Game!

    The past few weeks, I've been doing rapid prototyping on a new tabletop game called And Sometimes Why. 

    prototype #3 

    It's a casual game about lying to your friends. I have the basic mechanics down, but now I need to tweak it and of course, playtest! I've already been attending the NYU Playtest Thursday and I have a playtest night scheduled with my coworkers in a few weeks. I've been getting excellent feedback and I hope to have a polished game soon!

  • 5 Kyu!

    Over the past few years, I've been investing time learning JavaScript. It started out as a way to more effectively communicate with the developers who were building my designs, but now I'm continuing so I can start building my own games and other projects. 

    I've been using Codecademy and Codewars to learn and practice, and last week I leveled up to 5 kyu in Codewars. The challenges presented on Codewars are designed to teach you fundementals of programming as you solve complex problems.

    I don't find the level-up mechanic in Codewars to be particularly motivating, but it is slightly better than traditional badges in reflecting proficiency. In order to achieve a particular level, a user must complete a certain number of challenges at that level or higher. So achieving a 5 kyu level means that people can be reasonably certain that I could solve a 5 kyu challenge. 

    We have an informal system like this in our workplaces. When you solve enough of a particular type of problem, people start coming to you for help on those problems. This way you can "level up" in your workplace and build a reputation. But it's very difficult to quantify that reputation or transfer it from one workplace to another. There are plenty of startups out there trying to change the way we confer credentials to solve that problem, but I think ultimately we're going to need to rethink our entire education system. 

    We as educators need to start thinking critically about how much of education we provide is actual teaching and learning, and how much is assessment for the purposes of credentialing - and whether that is the right balance for our population.

    I know Codewars has the right balance for me right now. No one but me cares what level I am, but the levels help me see my progress and choose challenges that are in my zone of proximal development. It facilitates self-direction but does not provide extrinsic motivation. But does my Codewars level mean something to an employer? Should it? Or should my work speak for itself?

  • Promotion!

    I've been promoted to Manager of Learning Experience Innovation!

    I will continue to work with the Learning Experience team and spend about half of my time on instructional design, but I will also be able to do some future-thinking and prototyping for new solutions for the organization. The director said that my presentation on the future of learning from my conferences last fall confirmed led her to believe that I would be a good fit for this position. 

    In addition to instructional design and innovation, I will also have two videographers reporting to me. It's been a while since I did management at Kaplan so I'm looking forward to getting to stretch my leadership skills again.

    I'm already planning ways to shake up the way we're currently doing things and use technology to make our work easier. I'll continue to post here when I can to record updates on new projects, but some of what I'm working on might be Top Secret!

  • Conference Recap

    After going to two conferences last fall, I put together a report for my team about what new ideas I had heard about and what skills I had learned. Check it out here: 

     My notes are included in the file and some of the images are links to videos with demos and more information.

  • OLC Accelerate Conference

    It seems like I just got home from DevLearn, but it was already time to head to Florida for the OLC Accelerate conference. This conference was more practical and less aspirational than DevLearn, which meant that although it wasn't nearly as inspiring or invigorating, it did provide lots of solutions I can start putting into practice right away. 

    Besides, I what's better than Christmas at Disney World for inspiration?

    Another perk of this trip was that two of my Benefits Group coworkers live in Orlando, so our entire team traveled to Florida to have a team meeting. It was wonderful to see everyone in person and get in some good brainstorming time!

  • DevLearn 2017

    I had the opportunity to attend the DevLearn conference this year. It was a fascinating and insprirational three days. I came away from the myriad of talks and workshops full of ideas on how my organization can improve, innovate, and push the boundaries of adult education.

    I was especially inspired by Jane McGonagall's keynote, How To Think Like A Futurist. In her talk, she told us about her work at the Institute of the Future and gave us a preview of the future of work and learning.

    She also shared several "artifacts from the future" that capture what the future might look like in a tangible way. Her most recent artifact from the future is this video about an as-yet-undeveloped educational technology called The Ledger, which distributes the responsibility for education throughout the community. 

     I came away from this keynote inspired to put into practice some of these futuristic ideas. Since the learners I'm currently working with at SEIU 775 Benefits Group are paid for their time spent in training, their learning is already earning. I'm hoping to get my ideas on paper soon and share them with the rest of the team.

  • Volunteering at the NYC Pride March

    Volunteering at the NYC Pride March

    I had the wonderful opportunity to serve as a Section Leader at the NYC Pride March! This was a great way to give back to the vibrant and diverse queer community here in NYC, as well as support LGBT political and social causes. I love living in a city where everyone can be proud of who they are and who they love! <3