Welcome to Flathead Tech4Good!
Flathead Tech4Good is a community outreach and professional development initiative at Salish Kootenai College (SKC) in Pablo, Montana. Our vision is to build a community where each student is empowered to pursue their educational and professional goals.
Winter Game Jam Recap!
Students of all ages from across the Flathead Reservation gathered at Salish Kootenai College for the Media Design Department’s Tech4Good Winter Game Jam recently. This early February weekend was the “middle” Game Jam event for our 2017 – 2018 “Water is Life” Challenge Theme.
During the Winter Jam, “jammers” brainstormed and storyboarded and worked on designs new ideas and “playtested” two Tech4Good games, Water Warriors and Mussel Hustle. These two Aquatic Invasive Species-themed games were conceived of by attendees to the T4G Fall Game Jam.
Since that November weekend, students behind the project spent time at T4G partner Native Teaching Aids in St. Ignatius learning tech skills while designing the game board, playing pieces, and cards.
Saturday morning, both games were playtested and refined. Students and volunteers, many who had not yet seen the games, had fun trying it out and giving feedback in groups of four or five. Volunteers from Native Teaching Aids and the students who crafted the games took notes on the game’s mechanics and how well it lines up with how people, water, and invasive species actually interact.
With feedback in hand, both games will be finalized in time for presentation and production at our Spring Game Jam in May.
Polson, Charlo, Ronan and St. Ignatius were represented by students from 1st to 10th grade. Because of the wide age range, the weekend into blocks to allow more unique interests to be explored.
For example, Saturday afternoon we had students designing “Choose Your Own Adventure” style stories using a free application called Twine; at the same time, we had students exploring virtual reality with an art-based program called TiltBrush that allows users to paint in a fully immersive, 3D environment. Other students learned some tips and tricks for Photoshop while some kept playing and designing games!
“Do you have these every weekend?” one girl asked.
The first steps towards creating a virtual “scavenger hunt” on the reservation were taken Saturday night and Sunday morning. We wrapped up the weekend with a to-do list of goals to accomplish between now and the Spring Game Jam and a plan to see the new project to fruition in the coming months.
In the Summer, participating students have the unique opportunity to present their work in front of the Immersive Learning Research Network at their annual conference. Last year it was held in Portugal; this year it will take place in Missoula, Montana. We’re excited to continue working with the students involved and can’t wait for their chance to present on a global platform!
The program is primarily coordinated with community partners at Native Teaching Aids, but would not be possible without the generous participation of local experts located on and around the Flathead Reservation.