7th Annual Ed Games Expo!
On January 8th through January 10th Killer Snails had the opportunity to join the 7th Annual ED Games Expo in Washington, DC!
We kicked off the trip at Pearl Street Warehouse in the District Wharf with an introduction from Ed Metz and opening remarks from Frank Brogan, the assistant secretary of the office of elementary and secondary education for the US department of Education. We learned about his background as an educator and administrator at schools throughout the country and his hopes that technology would improve education for all. We then heard about big ideas and projects from companies like Microsoft, Verizon, Lenovo, and Magic Leap who are creating their own technological classrooms to build schools for the future.
After the morning talks, we joined XR showcase which included demos from Schell Games, Electric Fun Stuff, National Geographic, and Lighthaus. Killer Snails demoed our new VR experience, BioDive, to high school students and teachers from the DC area. It is so gratifying to see real kids outside of the classroom interacting with a project we have spent the past several months developing and testing. Students were impressed with the graphics and interactions, while teachers appreciated the digital journal and experience premise. We also had the chance to try a game from Tablecraft VR with our friends from PocketLab!
We continued our day at Pearl Street Warehouse which in the evening became the beautiful concert venue for the ED Games Expo kick-off party. The stage played host to many past IES grant awardees and showcased some of the musically inspired content created for education including Muzology. We heard from Greg Toppo about his upcoming book that discusses the seven things we love that games give us access to: Failure, Feedback, Fairness, Flow, Fantasy and Fellowship. We even got to hear Chris Blue, winner of The Voice season 12, serenade us about math and integers. All of this rounded out a spectacular kick-off for ED Games 2020.
On Thursday, January 9th we started our day by meeting with the STEAM Student leadership team at Barret Elementary school. These wonderful students and their teacher, Laurie Sullivan welcomed us into their Discovery Lab. This intrepid class of young women asked us questions about not just science, but about our careers and game development, allowing us to reflect on the hard work it took to create BioDive. Laurie and her Discovery Lab were a true inspiration and the answer to why we do the work that we do at Killer Snails.
Later that day we joined hundreds of educational game companies including our friends Andamio Games, Alchemie, Teachley and Woot Math in Washington, DC at the Kennedy Center to demo BioDive, Biome Builder, and Assassins of the Sea for hundreds of students, parents, and educators in the DC area. We had the pleasure of having both our youngest playtester (he had just turned 4) and our wisest playtester (Christopher Cerf)! Overall a great day sharing a project all of us at Killer Snails have worked so hard to create!
On Friday, we were thrilled to join the Office Hours at the Kennedy Center and meet with fantastic people such as Diane D. DeTroye, Director, STEM Engagement and Shobhana Gupta, Applied Sciences Program, NASA Earth Science Division from NASA! The office hours included representatives from dozens of grant making entities such as the National Institute of Health, National Science Foundation in addition to the Department of Education, as well as researchers from Center for Children and Technology, West Ed and many other respected evaluators. The information each of these people provides is invaluable for anyone interested in creating educational games in any content area.
Thank you so much to Ed Metz for organizing this conference each year- 2020 was truly the best one yet!