I pulled a double the other day. I not only visited the first Mobile App class in Iowa, but got a chance to visit the first Coding and Video Game Development class we have in Iowa. Both are in the same school.
Clint Gadbury is the teacher who is teaching two classes of our Coding and 3D Video Game Design Course. Clint is a veteran STEAM educator and has great connections to his learners. The campus is pretty cool as it was at one time a Ford automobile factory churning out Fords back in the “Teens” as in 1916.
With the students, we talked about the gift of getting a chance to take a course like this that will help them think like a coder. I promised them that this course will forever change the way the approach projects and problems. We talked about what it takes to make a great game and how games grow and develop. I warned them about the dismal statistics of how often software projects fail and how those failures are rarely the fault of anything other than just poor project management. I shared some of my tails of project mishaps, and this segued into the roller coaster ride that is the entrepreneurial experience. It is hard for teachers to get business owners into classes to speak openly about what it is like to build a product and a company. Many times people share only stories of success and forget to tell the stories of when they failed. I always try to get students to understand the true value of failure.
I also told them the story from a couple years ago when a college professor of digital graphics told me that since I was a coder I didn’t understand what it meant to be creative…. I have to stop now…breath so that I don’t type what I wanted to say to that jerk. But thanks to many hours of therapy – I can say with clarity that have forgiven the idiot for his stupidity. ( I mean really – what an idiot… coding is incredibly creative… for example Will.i.am …. he says coding is creative – he is creative…..he would know… that professor – was an idiot.. OK, I will let it go for now).
Clint has two great classes of students, and he was kind enough to share some of the statements his students made about my chat.
“I liked that he (Steve) took the approach to developing a course the way he would like to learn. It was cool that he actually came to visit us in person.” – Rachel
“It was great. I learned that need to not only build my knowledge in coding, but also my experiences.” – CaseyLee
“Steve’s visit helped me learn a lot about the game development and marketing of the game industry. He told us that it’s better to start develop games early. Like we are now so we can get a good grasp on what we are going to expect if we decide to do this as a job.” – Will
“One thing I thought was kind of inspirational was to never let anyone tell me that coding is NOT creative. Because you can make limitless possibilities with shapes generated from coding and such. I also found that since (in game development) you work more in teams, that this would be a lot better for me.” – Cole
Clint summed it up nicely when he emailed me “I really believe your visit helped validate what I have been telling students in class; 1. to embrace failure but be persistent…success will come. 2. All games start very simple at first. Get the basic perfect then start adding the cool stuff. 3. The story behind games is super important.”
Yep, embrace failure, persistence pays off always and never trust anyone who tells you coding is not creative – Steve