Robin Koman

Department Chair; Chief Storyteller; Lead Game Designer for Full Sail University // Story Tonic

Robin Koman is a game designer, educator, and author who runs the Game Design Master of Science program at Full Sail University in Winter Park, FL. Robin is also the co-founder, Chief Storyteller, and Lead Game Designer at Story Tonic, a new indie game studio that focuses upon storytelling as a means to make the world a better place. Story Tonic is currently at work on a VR project in contention for a scholarship through the Oculus Launch Pad program (a program which Robin was selected to participate in, one of only 100 people chosen from around the US in May of this year). As a freelance game designer, Robin Koman has worked with clients such as Phillips Electronics and NASA, focusing on games for education, testing, and advertising. As an educator, Robin has more than a decade of experience teaching undergraduate and graduate level coursework in a variety of subjects, including Game Design. Robin’s areas of focus in the game industry are narrative design, diversity, accessibility, and the Games for Change movement. She’s given multiple talks around the South East on the topics of Gender and Game Design, Creative Writing for Games, Storytelling for Games, and Mythological Influences on Game Storytelling. Robin has published in The Chicago Tribune, Game Career Guide, Vestal Review, Duende, and 3Elements Review, amongst others.

Talk Description:

Education for a Better Tomorrow: Fostering Student Interest in Games for Change

Who: Robin Koman, either as sole presenter, or as moderator/co-panelist of a panel, if there’s interest in that structure.

What: This talk would focus upon pedagogical (educational curriculum design) approaches to foster a culture of innovation and artistry in students, particularly as that impacts the effort to encourage Games for Change as a focus in student projects. There are two possible formats this could take. One would be a 35-40 minute presentation with a robust discussion/Q&A on techniques, approaches, and trends. The other would be a panel, where 3-4 educators would field questions from an audience interested in fostering a passion for Games for Change subjects in their student body.

Why: There are two great challenges in designing pedagogical approaches for game-related degree programs. One is the breakneck pace of change in the industry, the other is the relatively secretiveness in which our industry operates. With the latter being solved by having faculty actively involved in the game industry, familiar with their own methodologies and the methodologies of teams and/or studios they’ve worked with in the past, that leaves the former, contending with change. With the ongoing compression in the triple-A industry, much of my work as an educator in Game Design and administrator of a game industry-focused degree, has been to find ways to adapt curriculum to ensure that our students’ experience is relevant to the work they’ll pursue post-graduation, both in the short and long term. To that end, I’ve been striving to develop a curriculum that encourages students, in their efforts as game designers, to think of themselves as artists and innovators, versus just trying to mimic the work found in the games they love most to play. Games that seek, not merely to entertain, but to transform audiences, are, in my mind, the most approachable way to work toward this goal.

How: As a talk, this would be an image-focused visual presentation, focusing on a blend of theory and anecdotes, with a rich discussion/Q&A. As a panel, a list of questions would be given on the topic of foster a culture of artistry and social focus in a program, with time remaining for questions from the audience.

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