The Orlando Science Center hosts an event called "Otronicon" each year that is aimed at introducing our community and next generation learners to the gaming industry. The event focuses on emerging gaming technologies; how other industries including medical, law, science, and military are interacting with games; and career opportunities.
ADL Initiative's Dr. Elaine Raybourn, Dr. Damon Regan, and Andy Creighton led and facilitated multiple hands-on workshops throughout the event. ADL Initiative offered two workshops on our web-based open source game development tool, the Virtual World Sandbox. Participants learned how to use the tool to create their own scenario. Raybourn led three highly-attended "Hour of Code" workshops, which provided participants with the opportunity to learn how to code, explore how coding and logic tie into the artistic aspect of designing a game, and introduced them to game development and design vocabulary. These workshops were designed to open participants' eyes to the opportunities and complexities within the video game industry.
ADL Initiative has participated in Otronicon for the last couple of years. Raybourn explained that she thinks providing workshops at this event is a learning science research opportunity. "This is a unique learning environment for kids; outside of the classroom and the home," Raybourn said. "Kids are often early adopters of technology, and workshops like these allow kids and adults (parents, grandparents, and others) to learn about technology together, as peers, side-by-side in a new environment. Observing how they learn together enhances our understanding."