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Universities Devote Studying to eSports

We all know how popular spectator sports are, such as baseball, football, and basketball. Something new is joining the league of the all spectator sports for the age of millennials, eSports. A survey from digital gaming industry website Newzoo found that 22 percent of males from 21 to 35 watch eSports, making competitive video gaming as popular as America’s national pastime. With many prestigious universities as Harvard launching eSports clubs, it’s clear that higher education is taking note of the popularity of video gaming. The University of Nevada has started involving itself in the world of gaming, but not to be a competitor.

During the summer, it was announced that the International Gaming Institute, which was a source of research and innovation in casino gaming, would be launching an eSports lab. The lab would have coursework geared toward exploring facets of eSports and produce presentations and business plans relevant to the casino industry. The director of the lab says that eSports was a natural fit for the institute and that many resort casinos have requested more insight into how competitive gaming might work for them. The students will work on designing competitive events and improving experience models, as well as developing and testing hypothetical business models for casinos. The director of research at the gaming institute, told gambling and casino industry news outlet Yogonet that the eSports lab will be housed within UNLV’s Konami Gaming Laboratory, which has a mock casino floor alongside classrooms. The institute will also work closely with the eSports club to host tournaments and game play regularly.

Devoting a study to competitive gaming is not a surprise given how popular it has become. Newzoo survey has found that live-streaming services, like Twitch, have more than 100 million unique viewers each month. With all the demand is was able to capitalize on, it was able to sell to amazon for $970 million in 2014. Universities, like Maryville University in St. Louis have seen the demand for video game competition and created club-level teams. University of California, Irvine launched an eSports initiative that grants 10 academic scholarships to students on the school’s competitive video gaming team.

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Virtual Reality Musical

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Virtual Reality has been making its rounds through medical school, engineering, and even underwater. And now, it’s headed towards the Arts department. At the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) in Georgia, the students are making history by becoming one of the first institutions to use virtual reality for a musical. Recently, they showcased their first VR musical, bringing together 116 from 14 unique programs over a course of 20 weeks to create their 360-degree story. “Say It With Music.”

The film was shown as a part of a VR showcase at the recent Savannah Film Festival in which students were able to watch a snippet from different vendors. The music for the movie was motivated by Irving Berlin’s composition, “Say It With Music.” The plot follows an unexpected romantic connection between two servers at a restaurant. Viewers get to use sound cues to continue with the narrative and can experience a 360-degree perspective that showcases the multiple plotlines best.

Even though VR devices are still not entirely common, this institution already has experience with it in the previous year. The SCAD sent out 10,000 pairs of Google Cardboard, a VR set by Google, to students who had already been accepted to the institution, and to potential students, to allow them to visit the campus virtually. They worked with the Collaborative Learning Center (CLC) for these projects, bringing together students from all fields, such as film, animation, dramatic writing, and production design. The CLC brings professionals into student work to challenge them with real-world challenges. For example, the students SCAD have created advertising campaigns and prototype plans for NASA, BMW, Google, and Disney.

The VR musical that the school produced is a first in a line of stories they are going to produce. Michael Chaney, a professor of film and television, explained that: “We consulted with the leading pioneers in this industry and we ourselves are becoming pioneers.”

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Technology Can Help Expand Creativity

The next generation of college students, Generation Z, has had technology as part of their life since birth. It should come to no surprise that 93 percent of students in an Adobe Education survey said that technology in the classroom was essential for their career preparedness. Eighty-nine percent also believe that creativity will also be a big part of their success. Colleges are already preparing for the needs of Gen Z students with programs that combine creativity and technology. Technology in higher education can help expand creativity in higher education and one way is helping designers innovate through engineering.

Staff from Parsons School of Design has already started reaching out to show how technology can help with problem solving in art and design. Noelia Bautista made a music box that could communicate with a computer using the Arduino open-course computing platform, which in turn inspired her to study to be an interior designer. She said that by engaging in the iterative design process, as well as user testing, sketching, and prototyping, she was able to cultivate the skills needed to tackle a wide range of design challenges. Tech-filled spaces also encourage new ideas and collaboration. Clemson University works on a partnership with Adobe to open a digital studio in their library to create a teaching, training and collaborative environment. Adobe even gives access to students to the Adobe Digital Studio, which gives an open access earning space on the Creative Cloud to ensure that students get the best digital tools needed to succeed.

Technology creates an entirely new Artistic experience. Rochester Institute of Technology announced the launch of their MAGIC Spell Studios which is a new building dedicated to supporting game development, film and animation and other digital media. The ways that people engage with games and interactive content is rapidly changing and the industry is more multi-faceted than ever. The school of interactive games and media will challenge students to build into new horizons that expand into the ever changing industry.

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3 Ways Pokemon Go Can Create Learning Opportunities

Pokemon is taking over college campuses all over the country. If you haven’t heard of Pokemon Go, it’s a modern Pokemon game available for free via Android or IOS app. Users are trainers in a virtual reality attempting to catch all the Pokemon within the user’s reach. How can schools use Pokemon Go as an education experience?

Pokemon Go uses the location and camera to create a virtual reality. Students can screenshot the Pokemon they are about to catch and save the pictures to their camera roll. Later, students can use the pictures for classroom projects to create digital stories.

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PokeStops are popular locations that provide users with educational information before collecting Pokemon Balls or Potions. A journal in the app collects all the Pokemon users catch, including date and time. Students can use the date to figure out the average number of events per day or graph the items collected from a PokeStop.

Washington State University is now incorporating Pokemon Go in their campus tours. WSU Tri-Cities will incorporate a portion of their 15 Pokestops. The tour will also includes stops at 2 different Pokemon gyms and extra time to hunt for a Charmander or other characters in the game. Seanna Coleman, lead WSU Tri-Cities student ambassador, shared “We thought this would be a fun way to incorporate an additional digital element in the tour, while allowing prospective students and their families to view our beautiful university campus along the Columbia River”.

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Click here to learn more about WSU’s Poke Tours.