The home of Dino

The school of gaming for kids. The start…

This is just a quick post but it only scratches the surface of my interest in this subject. In a nutshell, I was never very good at maths at school. I liked what it did, just couldn’t really get my head around some of the deeper concepts. I got a C at O-level and then dropped out of A-Level maths in the first 2 weeks.

Then I became a proper multimedia developer back in 1994, making games, websites and the like. Maths was my friend but I did it in a very organic way. I worked out how to write my own physics engine for a pinball game by drawing lots of angles in countless sketch pads… and chatting through the problems with my friend Jop. I got there in the end. Have a go at the game here. Most ‘hardcore’ developers wouldn’t even attempt it. I’m still not sure if that makes me smart or stupid. It did make me proud though. I showed the ‘clever types’ what someone who barely passed their maths exam could do.

My mission is to inspire kids to see the beauty, the fun and more importantly, the simplicity of maths. Nobody took the time when I was at school. We all have an inspirational teacher from our past that got us to invest that little bit extra by injecting their own passion into their lessons. If they don’t exist, I’ll have to do it for them!

Earlier in the year I started a series of simple modules to show how cool maths can be by showing how games use snippets of maths. And something games developers do very well is cheat with maths. Sure there are complicated equations for gravity, but Mario doesn’t use any of them. He just uses simple addition to do all that jumping around. It’s surprisingly easy when you know how… and shows how, with a bit of confidence, you can bend the rules a bit and ‘do maths’ in a very creative way. It’s problem solving at it’s best and when you use something like Flash, you SEE the results.

I’ll post more when I actually get my arse into gear and present to a local school (I have one lined up). My recent job change has deflected my focus of late. But now I’m back on my mission.

In the meantime, just noticed Quest to Learn, a fantastic initiative in New York. An entire school based around gaming. There’s a great article about them here to give you a quick overview.

Watch this space…

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