#CSEdWeek: Taking Computer Science Education Beyond School — Kurt Bieg, Playcrafting NYC

 |   Kurt Bieg, Instructor — Playcrafting NYC

As part of our commitment to education, we’re thrilled to be celebrating Computer Science Education Week. This year, we have teamed up with Playcrafting, an organization that utilizes gaming through events, classes, and workshops that make computer science education available to all. Playcrafting has introduced us to some of their top instructors, who showcase opportunities in computer science beyond primary and secondary education.

Kurt Bieg, Instructor — Playcrafting NYC

Kurt BiegWhat was your introduction to the gaming community?
I initially set out to make a platform that would raise donations for non profits through games in 2007. That’s when I realized I would have to learn a bunch more about game design. Shortly after that I enrolled in Parsons MFA program for Design and Technology. I learned how to code there and also learned to make games. After graduating I formed Simple Machine and started making mobile games. The rest is history.

What do you teach in your Playcrafting courses?
I generally teach three classes. One is an 8 week intensive where students learn basic to intermediate skills for Unity 3D, programming in C#, and game design. I also teach a class that gives a complete breakdown of programming basics so people can feel more confident about learning to code. And the last class is a puzzle design class where we go over match three principles and classic puzzle games.

How did you learn game dev / design?
My time at Parsons was instrumental where I learned about game design from Nick Fortugno specifically. Otherwise I play a lot of games, I read a lot of articles, and I think a lot.

Who is your computer science mentor?
Ramsey Nasser is my computer science mentor. He taught me everything about coding and guided me through my first two years. He is unbelievably brilliant and an excellent mentor.

Outside of higher ed, what are some opportunities to learn dev or design?
There are tons of opportunities to learn game design outside of higher ed. For instance, you can participate in the Global Game Jam right right around the corner. There are also a bunch of smaller game jams that take place throughout the year where you can get into a community and learn from them. You can also hop online and learn a ton about coding, making games, etc. Of course, I’m biased, but Playcrafting is an excellent place to learn from industry experts and build a game that you can share with the community.

Tell us about computer science applications in gaming.
I think computer science can be helpful in gaming, but it’s not crucial. I actually feel that people who don’t have a computer science background bring inspirational prospectives to gaming because they are exploring it all for the first time.

Outside of game dev, how do coding skills apply in your everyday life?
Code is a poetic expression of the systems we experience everyday. From the games and apps we use, to buying lunch and banking, coding is part of everything we do. Once you get into programming you start to see how it’s actually designed to imitate the world around us, even nondigital scenarios, like ordering a coffee, or meeting someone at a party, or deciding what to eat for dinner. It all can be replicated through programming. So I see it everywhere.

Who can take a Playcrafting course?
You!

Looking for more coding opportunities? Find more coding tools and resources for students, parents, and educators at microsoft.com/hourofcode.

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