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Silver Creek student teaches game design class

Senior leads six-week course as part of capstone

Silver Creek High School senior Joe Looney is teaching a six-week game design course as part of his Leadership Academy capstone.

He taught a class on Friday to 13 students at the Innovation Center of St. Vrain Valley Schools. Looney was a student of Tom Darcy, the director of advanced technologies and innovation at the Innovation Center, in the advanced technologies class focusing on virtual reality in a variety of applied learnings and project orientations.

Looney also supported the game making class during last year’s summer course in an educator role, which piqued his interest to teach game design. That became the primary focus of his senior capstone project.

Looney’s goal for the students in this course was to give them the confidence and ability to create their own game designs.

“Just like with any other art form, video games have rules and practices that need to be followed to ensure the end product is a satisfactory experience,” Looney said in a release. “I plan on teaching these rules to my students and letting them analyze their favorite games to better understand what makes them so fun.”

Among the capstone requirements, Looney had to secure a suitable class space and the necessary equipment required to deliver the sessions. Looney also was tasked with promoting his program, which he did successfully as the class doubled in size from the original enrollment goal.

Looney attributes his desire to lead a class based on his own design education that he got through primarily online tutorials. He taught the class as an opportunity to teach other students what he learned on his own.

“It's incredibly exciting to let the students let their imaginations run wild and turn a basic tutorial project into something completely unique,” Looney said. “To me, that's the best part about teaching game design; everyone has a special idea they would love to see come to life, and I can give them the resources that allow them to make their dream come true.”