Bridging The Gap: Georgia K-12 students, STEM education, esports, and the gaming industry

This event is packed with special guest speakers from the gaming and education industries.  Come learn from them first hand as they discuss esports and its impact on education and career paths for students.

When: Thursday, May 20th, 4 - 6:45 PM
Where:  Online - Register at Eventbrite
Limited slots available, register below to secure your spot.
Cost:  FREE
Target Audience:  K-12 school leaderships, educators, parents, and students

Who

Laura Levy

Laura Levy  @sciencelaura
Research Director
Gaming & Esports Applied Research (GEAR)

Institute for People and Technology, Georgia Institute of Technology

Laura Levy is a human factors psychologist at the Institute for People and Technology at Georgia Tech and Research Director of GEAR (Gaming & Esports Applied Research) specializing in esports and games user research, STEM engagement with games, and human-computer interactions research. Levy works on a variety of gaming projects including the implementation of esports in schools to drive STEM skill development, the design and scientific evaluation of student assessment games with ACT, Inc., and augmented reality student STEM game applications with the Verizon Foundation. As a previous marine biologist, Levy encourages students that are pursuing a STEAM education that they can open many doors to unexpected and exciting careers in STEAM.

Brian Cox

Bryan Cox
Computer Science Specialist
Georgia Department of Education

Bryan Cox is the Computer Science Program Specialist at the Georgia DOE. Prior to working for the GaDOE, Bryan spent 8 years as a High School STEM teacher, teaching math, computer science, and engineering courses. He is currently pursuing a PhD in Instructional Technology from Georgia State University with a research focus on educational games for computational thinking. He also received a M.A.T. in mathematics from GSU and a B.S. in Computer Information Systems from Florida A&M University. He has spent time working as a network designer and computer technician as well as working with after-school and summer youth programs.

Todd Harris

Todd Harris  @toddalanharris
Founder & CEO, Skillshot Media

Todd Harris is an accomplished entrepreneur who has been leading video game and esports businesses for 15 years and involved with technology product startups for 25 years. Todd co-founded Hi-Rez Studios, one of the largest video game studios in the Southeast and is currently Founder & CEO of Skillshot Media, a leading esports infrastructure and production company, President of the North American Scholastic Esports Federation (NASEF), and co-owner of esports professional team Ghost Gaming. 

Diana Hankinson
Development Director
Hi-Rez Studios

Directs the Art group. Diane has a background in programming and art, with a focus on pushing visual quality balanced with performance and gameplay for every platform we ship on. She refine processes, guides teams and careers, and drives big picture goals for art aligned with HiRez business goals.  Diane has worked on game titles such as: The Godfather II,  Deadspace 2 & 3, Battlefield: Hardline (pre-production), World of Darkness, Smite, Paladins, Realm Royale, Rogue Company 

Wes Byrd

Wes Byrd
CEO, Skullz Inc
Co-founder, GSEF

Wes has over twenty years of experience as a Web Application Architect and has spent eight years as a Ecommerce Technical Architect developing enterprise level ecommerce storefronts for large name brands.  Wes has enjoyed hosting LAN parties for Skullz for the past twenty years where the Skullz family of gamers come together to play games for a full weekend of fun.  Using his gaming club's name, Skullz, Wes turned his passion for games and community into a name brand for gamers and esports.

Tyler Kinner

Tyler Kinner
STEM education researcher & Curriculum Developer
Institute for People and Technology
Georgia Institute of Technology

Tyler Kinner is a Research Scientist II at GTRI focused on K12 STEM education and workforce development. As the STEM Curriculum Development Lead for STEM@GTRI, he supports the creation and implementation of GTRI/GT-inspired learning experiences for K12 students, including teacher professional learning and live interactions with researchers. Tyler has previous K12 experience as an instructional coach and teacher.

PK GraffPK Graff
Instructional Designer
Academies of Creative Education

PK Graff is currently a STEM content specialist and Instructional Designer at the Academies of Creative Education in Forsyth County. He is also the unofficial Director of Gaming for Forsyth County Schools where he has been spearheading a middle school gaming initiative as well as continuing to support his six varsity programs. He is passionate about building a positive gaming environment for everyone and is working with industry partners to help build awareness in order to combat the toxic gaming culture that too often invades our favorite titles. PK is also a gamer himself, playing on a variety of platforms but he really found his competitive edge in virtual reality gaming where he plays in multiple VR master leagues like the one for Echo Arena. A passionate educator and gaming enthusiast PK is helping to bring Esports in Georgia to every school.

  • Scarlet Dangerfield - VP, Talent Acquisition, Hi-Rez Studios
  • D'mitri Shan - Project Manager, Skillshot

Agenda

  • 4 - 4:30pm: Welcome message
     
    • Laura Levy: Welcome to the event, content overview.
    • Bryan Cox: state of gaming/esports/computer science standards in the state 
    • Todd Harris and Wes Byrd: state of esports and gaming in the state of Georgia, national impact by NASEF and local engagements by GSEF
       
  • 4:30pm - 5:30pm: Quick start guide to esports and gaming in K-12
    • Laura Levy describes top barriers to entry for K-12 in developing esports/gaming programs and resources to support people interested, describe benefits of these programs in school
    • Todd  Harris describes purpose of and resources provided by local programs, how to activate, how to involve gaming/esports activities in schools
    • Tyler Kinner and PK Graff connects these initiatives, resources, and programming with standards and best practices
    • Q&A

  • 5:30pm to 6:30pm: Meet the pros!
    • Meet industry professionals (Scarlet Dangerfield and D'mitri Shan) representing different roles, backgrounds, and career states briefly describe how they got where they are, what they do, “a day in the life”, and advice they have for young aspiring professionals.
    • Q&A

    • 6:30pm to 6:45pm: Closing remarks

    Presented By

    Georgia Tech

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