The Game of Learning (with guest Alex Peake)


Learn Anything: Hacking Your Education


Lesson Info

The Game of Learning (with guest Alex Peake)

So now we've got alex peak joining us who is a fellow a fellow academic he he has a very interesting educational background got into uc berkeley didn't go on dh now makes a game that teaches people that make games that'll teach everything else so that's exactly how I like describe getting middle teach people to make games that teach everything else so I'm going to talk today about becoming a code hero my own path was like dale said I got into berkeley it was going to go to computer science was like berkeley a m I t those were the places you win to become a true hacker like wozniak that could make stuff but then something happened, which is I just didn't wait that long I became a hacker in grade four I started going to computer science classes at university so I took a different path and increasingly people are finding their own paths to becoming coders and increasingly coders are changing the world and people are starting to see that being a coders heroic thing. So the question is how ...

do you become a code hero? Well, the thing that I would have done if it existed a long time ago as I would have gone to a hacker space now there's this place you can go and these people have been making these things and they're like space inventors they're hacking the future with hacker spaces and so what they've done is they've made this magic place like a campus like a university like hog words for hackers so what is a hacker space well in the old definition of hacking so I imagined the internet has probably full of people saying is he advocating like breaking into computers you know that used to be what people would think of when they thought of hacking and so in the old school of someone asked you what hacker space was especially if it was a grand jury investigation to do with like bradley manning the only response you should give to a grand jury about something that is I invoke however if you are in the new phase of hacking hacking means creating stuff changing stuff turning things around and being open so it is a place for all arts all tech where all are welcomed all the time all over the world that's what the new packing means now the way this started was way zero there was this place in germany called sea bass and they wanted to take this culture of having these revolutionary meet ups and conferences where geeks all get together and invent things they wanted to have a community they want to have a place for everyone could do it so they started this this place and then suddenly it wasn't enough to have one so someone came along and said let's start another one started metal abbott in austria and so wave to is just exploding like wildfire. Suddenly, people said, let's, put these all over the world, people gave a talk about it at ccc, and now, everywhere in the world, the people have heard about the idea of a hacker space, people who wanted to learn to code people who are coding. We're creating a campus where you, anybody could walk in and without the encoder before you got there just learned the trade without having to pay big tuition. Now, this was initially perceived by some people as kind of like a weird silicon valley thing. Was this a silicon valley? You know, geek subculture? Or was it really something that could affect everybody? Well, there are over nine hundred hacker spaces, apps are power level is almost over nine thousand is actually not over nine hundred. I got corrected when I gave this talk by some people who said your way today, it's over twelve hundred, so I went and I looked it up, and it was almost one, three, three, seven, so we've made almost one thousand two hundred thirty seven hacker spaces. We made lots of these things, and they're out there for you to go to to learn about code, but is that enough? So we made lots of them what's next. I asked the question, is it enough to make it bigger? Shuttle hacker spaces be twice as big and have more members? Is that enough to have more of them in more places? So that there's one in every city isn't enough to have multiple, like, so you have them in different neighborhoods for different means? There's got to be something beyond just the hacker space model we've had so far. And so wave three is this idea that we're going to reach out and experiment and try new things so the community that you can go out and find if you want to get into coding, I call a maker hood, and I just think coding and hacking has become making it's become the idea that people that build arts and crafts were burning man and people that build electronics and, like, make weird toys and robots and people that write software for, you know, internet companies that go big are always the same people, they just crafty people. So I think that what we're really seeing is that a maker hood is a holistic community, and it includes the hacker spaces, which is it's like the community center it's it's, the town hall, it includes the maker quarters. Where you want to live with other people roommates are the best mentors you'll ever find so if you want to learn coding, find some some coders will take you in his roommate even though you're a non coder as long as you promise that you're learning and that you want them to teach you and third academics so what dale does when he teaches people is he brings them to a camp where they're basically getting a boot camp on how to run their own university, how to find their own professors, create their own basis, their own accomplishments and all of this really has one big group of people that's been left out many actually groups of people have been left out, their names are on this who are they who's going to fill these spaces we'll wave for is to diversify the kind of person that feels like they belong in hacker spaces it's to diversify the kind of people that feel like they're a code or two and some of the questions that people were talking about earlier in the hot seat about feeling like you belong in a new place that you're not familiar is exactly what I want to talk about today and when I hope you take one thing away from from my talk today it's that you belong in the world of code it's your world you live in it and you want to be literate in it so toe hack the future, a bunch of my friends at hacker does joe have started teaching big groups of kids, so I think they're one of the biggest groups that's left out of coding there's no riel k through twelve computer science curriculum to speak up in america, or in most countries in the world, just like an elective subject you can take that teaches you some programming and makes you think programming is boring and that's grown with hundreds of kids coming to big events, and it's it's been transformative, but I really think it has to go to another level. It can't just be an event that some kids get to go to some kids, don't it can't just be a hacker space that some people live close to know about, and some people don't. We really have to make it so that anyone who's watching any video in the youtube reading, any blogged, can just go, I can hack to this is this is for me, and so to that, and I have been creating something along with my team, so I founded a company called primer laps, and we've created something called code hero, and the purpose of code hero is to give people a game that teaches them how to mcginn's why is this necessary is because this space is and the mentorships and events are one time only or in certain neighborhoods, but video games are everywhere all the time, ninety seven percent of all kids love video games and increasingly they don't quit playing, they just get really busy and wish they could be playing like play them in their heads. So the idea of code hero is to give you a first person world like my craft, and if you've ever seen kids dig into minecraft, you understand the appeal this has for them where they have power, they have mastering, but they are using that power in a way they're constantly learning and it's not just for kids. So when I said diversification and I said one group, what I really mean is that kids or the one that everyone knows our future, the ones that need to learn but increasingly we are all lifelong learners we're all lifelong students and the kinds of things that you say about a kid like, oh, I really want introduce them, I want to give him lessons and something or find them a mentor. Parents are always saying that, and we're increasingly having to say that about ourselves that we're looking for the mentorship, so we started code hero and I built it for about a year, put the prototype up on kickstarter and said let's, expand this to a true game school essentially and for a long time, it was terrifying. You know, kickstarter is something that I could talk about as well. It's it's a really big challenge to have an idea and put it out there and just hope without any backing or like famous people behind you are their significance that people will believe in your idea too well for months and months were zero like practically is that we've made like a couple thousand dollars, and then in the last ten days, something really big happened, we got all the stops that we had an all hands meeting and basically spent ten straight days contacting every journalist and reaching out. We found out that not only do we want to make a game that teaches people how to make games the game engine that we're teaching unity, they really like us to, they really appreciate us, and they've seen what we've been working on. So the ceo of the game engine that we make our game to teach the kids that are playing in the people playing it came out and gave one thousand three hundred thirty seven dollars to back us instantly famous person plus a pretty good idea that just needed someone to say they believed in it equals giant hockey stick and hockey stick is is not guaranteed to continue forever, you know, this kickstarter gave us one hundred seventy thousand dollars above our goal is one hundred, but it gave us the power to work for a whole year on this project and to get it where it's at now, which is an alfa so you know, if you're going to download this right away and hope is going to teach you everything it's not quite there yet we're still working on it, but the point of my talk is not just that you should learn from my game it's that you are capable of learning this stuff in this game is essentially a motivational tool to show you the on ramp to that path, so we took what we were working on in august we showed our first big alfa of the game and what we discovered just like we felt all along, but when once it was really in people's hands, it was it was really apparent is that people were hungry for this every single gamer that packs almost about exception said I would love to be able to make my own games. Of course they don't know how actually challenging this is until they try it they might they might occasionally, you know think that it's it's tough, but they all wanted it and parents wanted it for their kids and people all over the world believed in us because I code is literacy were it a game conference, but we're not again not in the same sense that like pure entertainment games are we are a transformational opportunity where an on ramp to a career or a path or hope because that's what education really is when you go to school it's tio basically you prostrate yourself and you put all this money and all this time and all this commitment before the wisdom that you want to obtain that could change your life now code is literacy and reason is because what literacy means how many people here have a definition of literacy? I'd like to put this out to the web or anyone in the audience who wants it because it's a state what they think literacy means good relating it into words so absolutely the ability to express ideas in work because otherwise you don't have a voice even have power um anybody else what is literacy mean to you be able and to understand and translate what isthe being presented in front of you right it's like if you live in a world where you couldn't read words you can't drive safely you can't understand the subtext of everything that's going on we're wired understand body language and the reality here each other's speech but increasingly people are communicating through a few three devices increasingly people are talking about aps they're working on and the whole world that people are living in now is, you know, aps this code that idea this idea that and if you want to get into this world you basically have to be able to see what's really going on and have your own idea and take it all in and come up with something so that's why literacy really is the mastery of the language of the land so when mathematics and business became a of the deal it became important you had to like get some business knowledge you had to become literate I just wanted to read off to you I like some of things that people were saying online about how they define literacy s o we have regina george who says comprehension and communication again laura reid literacy is an understanding a type of communication and laurel reads his literacy can expand to body language cold english to written language spoken language, et cetera and even biology itself. We are made of star stuff and we you're in to return to those stars and you could think of our whole human project as like the ability for the matter of the universe that's been able to organize itself to get a level of intelligence that's capable of getting back in the space that we came from the elements were made of our language like letters that combined them into words like molecules so the challenges we're going to master this language and do something that makes a dent in that big project of like humans getting it together and surviving we have to master this so the problem is that for someone who doesn't feel like the master it it's very disturbing and I know so many people who describe it in unequivocally as coder envy how many people here have ever felt like they're in a room with a bunch of coders we're talking about stuff and they which they could do it where they have an idea you ever felt like that so a lot of hands and some of us are thinking I don't want to do that that's not for me I never want to be a coder and that's ok too, but the perception a lot of people have about coding is that it wouldn't be fun or it would it would not be something that would be part of enhancing your life most people think of it is just hard work and I'm gonna show that when you make games instead of the case no if you feel that way you have to answer the question either I'm just going to accept that I could never do this because you don't think it's possible you might not be correct or how am I going to do it? So it turns out there is a source that coders come from there is a pipeline there's a giant mechanism that society and the government and corporations and universities and the whole culture of geeks themselves have created to bootstrap a young human into a highly capable coder and this process started with the original computer nerd charles babbage so charlesmarriage was a I think he was ah major professor at cambridge and he had a lot of prestige in before he made these computers very famous for many things and he just was obsessed with eyes this idea that he could build this machine on this is me standing next to the machine that he wanted to build that he never got enough funding to finish in the computer history museum the reason they had to build it is they wanted to know if it would have worked he had the idea and he realized that basically if you built mechanical structures that represented numbers you could calculate anything but he couldn't get enough funding to finish the project and this is the actual mechanism if you if you look closely you'll see their little numbers printed on the sides of those wheels and when they turn computation happens and this next slide actually shot live video of the machine running and hopefully you can see this this is the gears turning in this machine now he never got to see this operate fully in his lifetime he saw little bits of it run but he could see it in his head that's mako teres so when you become a coder what you're doing is you're getting the ability to visualize the thing and how it would work and then to be able to just incrementally get it to where it's going to work and in his case he didn't get it to the last step he never shipped this product, but he had a prototype that sat in a dusty hole for about one hundred years. Now this is what some of his prototypes looks like they were prototypes, they were like, if you were to come up with an idea and just say, I'm gonna do my best and just make a version of it with my friends over a weekend, you come up with something that feels like this, you know, it's not the beautiful perfect machine, but it shows promise. And when he got one version of it, it was a general purpose computer and he showed it to a young lady named ada lovelace something very magical happened, so being computer geek is not an isolated activity, right? If you are starting off on your own and you have all these ideas for this stuff or you try to read books, it can feel her isolating. But when he spoke to a loveless about it, she had an insight that he didn't and that's the spark that I think is the key to becoming a geek is you have to get social, you have to reach out and find other people to exchange ideas with a don't look at it and she said, and I don't have the exact quote here, but she said, basically that you could enchant these numbers and they could become representation of ideas and symbols, and you could use mathematical computation to do symbolic reasoning or analysis. This is profound because she literally wrote this this source code here, along with charles babbage, which is it doesn't look like modern code, but you see it's, step one, step two, step three and it's put this variable in here and put this variable they're calculated for noli numbers, but that wasn't what she was really interested in that was just like proof of concept. What she wrote about was that you could take some punch cards and you could punch in, but this is the letter a and this is the letter d, and this is the letter a and that's her name, and it could do things understand her as a person and ideas. So this was literally computing in its crib, ready to exist except society really didn't care for female mathematicians. In fact, ada lovelace was an exception to a society which did not educate young women in mathematics except to the school teachers. So it's, like a few women who were like, taught all the boys on that was all they were really needed for for mathematical purposes. So the very problem that you're thinking in your head when you think I'm not a coder is what would have prevented computing from being even discovered in first place if ada had said oh I'm a girl you know program is not for girls mathis hard then we would have never had had that breakthrough if charles babbage had said well, I can't get enough funding for this or you know it's too hard he could have given up on itself so whatever the barriers that you think you have you have to ignore them that's how breakthroughs happen unfortunately charles babbage failed to get the funding and he sadly said another age must be the judge he was forced basically abandoned the project and he said another age must be the judge well he turned out to be right didn't it was a pretty good idea and our agents be the judge and what he was trying to do and what all of the people in the history of science and technology we're trying to do is give you right now an unbelievable talk it to get us over the finish line so to speak a species but how do we do that? Well, the first problem we have is this whole basis for the idea of discrimination itself and the basis for media discrimination is the builder now the bell curve is a terrible idea because although it can accurately describe a given population as it exists right now, it justifies or entrenches a belief in the genetic sort of destiny of certain people not being good at things. Now if you look at the organization which is in intrinsically based on the felker menzah, they claim that they're the smartest people in the world you know, provably on paper they can they can do it a mathematical proof and their mathematical proof is this brilliant piece of genius the men's a qualifying I q test score must be in the top two percent now, given the education is the number one priority of virtually every government on the planet and that many people are trying to teach everyone in the world programming, engineering and math because we clearly can't just assume that people who only do low skill jobs are just gonna all be unemployed then clearly men's is on ly number one priority project would make half their membership kicked out of their organization because if you brought all the people over here up that half of them would no longer qualify. So I think men's asshole criteria is symptomatic of this deep flaw in our thinking that we're just not smart or they're smarter than us, so we're capable and they're not so aita is the symbol of this if we're going to make everybody have the same opportunity to break out of their station break out of their mold we have to think of ourselves as a does now there is a country that's doing this finland is destroying that states in every metric of academic performance and we're twenty ninth and science there first they didn't even think they were trying to be excellent they were just teaching all the kids to be happy their full educational model was to have a great education for everybody equally not to have like a special program that produces, you know competitive geniuses and there's another country that's doing this with code because I would put it to you that the science scores are good, but science is increasingly a realm in which you apply the tool of cho just like math was the first tool it was applied in this way and so there's a country that's doing this and the country is another little european country that's making us look bad. It's called estonia and estonia has quaint castles and beautiful architecture, and they keep saying, oh it's a very small country there's no such thing the small country it's five hundred k through twelve high schools, our schools and they are teaching k through twelve computer science to all those kids, so anyone who thinks, oh my kids aren't the type that would learn computer programming they probably very more into sports or something or they they're not into that question that assumption they are teaching every single young person computer science and so the challenge becomes can all the people in the world take all of their gifts and talents and just use code as it's? Another thing like reading and writing like art like poetry that's part of being human and can we create a project together that is the sum of all of our brilliance? Well, one of the things that we have to do to do that successfully is we have to bridge through people's resistance or people's people's belief in themselves and that's why we applied to of games so code hero is a game that brings you to a place like publix it is a school of wizardry with code and this the front steps of this place you know they're meant to impress you and kind of you know like any big school make you feel like you're in some important place but they're also meant to welcome you and the tree of all the knowledge that humans can synthesize and create with is growing out of that school because it's your job to build that tree and so your challenge when you arrive is to join game, bridge university and matriculated and had this warning label on the front this area contains technologies, ideas and methodology is known to the state of california because productivity and entrepreneurship the formation of start ups and other businesses may occur so you've been warned and within there are basically three steps the first is the arcade, so if you're a gamer, you play games and you start hacking those games and by hacking them you learn how they're made and you learn about code and how it runs games that's allowing you to get into it if you're motivated by fun, the second is the library once you're motivated and you want to understand how to really dig in, you go there and you focus and your studios about mastering the code used to it by solving puzzles and the third is you have to synthesize what you're learning into producing something and that is called the rial artist shipyard how many people here are familiar with the phrase riel artists ship? So the whole idea that steve jobs this was getting at when he told the mac team, which was behind schedule on producing the original macintosh I was yes, I know I told you to be artists and never compromise on perfection but real artist ship we've got to get it out there, otherwise it won't matter how good it would have been. So the threshold that we believe is most important for you to cross when you're approaching code is to produce something it's not how good it is it's not like you have to produce something of a certain quality level it's that you have to make your first thing and I'm going to show you how to make the first video game in, like fifteen minutes and be ableto just experiment and add things to it and so that's, our goal is to get every single player of this game to ship something if we all ships stuff, then we're all putting little leaves on that tree. You might think my game isn't like groundbreaking or amazing anything but it's like that soil that nurtures your next project and allows you to keep building your skills. There's a very simple reason that most people want to learn coding right now, and it just comes from practicality. This is a non coder income it's one point three million lifetime about forty k a year on average, this is a engineer coder let income is four million over your lifetime and around one hundred k a year, yes, with education or not education. Uh, technically, these graphs come from engineering degrees, but that's because they didn't have data on this stuff before. That's just how society used to measure this kind of thing like engineering degree equals coder, you know, non engineering degree equals none, but a lot of the people that are over on the right or even way further like because they start companies don't have degrees anymore it's not the main issue and so code is the new literacy code is the tool which makes you a master of the world and it's a tool that you can use whatever you do program organization is the new monetization so many of the companies out there tournament games to monetize and sell you something, but maybe the most single most valuable thing you could do for a person is turned them into a programmer so if I turn you into a programmer in my game is free or cost thirteen dollars and thirty seven cents how much value that I created for you, right? How much monetization is that worth to you? Well, it could make you, you know, four million dollars in your lifetime that makes me happy I feel like I've created value rather than just trying to get like you to pay me for more dollars for in app purchase or something and if you could do the same thing, you could make a game that teaches something else and I've got one recommendation for what game to make first the first one is don't make a really complicated learning game make palm make something totally stupid and just have fun, but if I could recommend your second game will be something that teaches something these people are going to get a lot out of that and finally who makes the games makes the school's right if we succeed with code hero than all of computer science education is different it all starts from a baseline of oh, I already know programming so I played that video game teacher what can you help me build? What are the questions that I have for you? And I'm going to reach out for questions pretty soon toe ask you kind of what your questions are, so who makes the code makes the rules you as a coder will be able to create things that are not arguments, they're not opinions, they're running code, they exist in the world is different because they're there a game that teaches us how to make games can teach you how to make games that teach everything else and it's my challenge to you to make your second or third game something that teaches me something I can't wait to play all the teaching games and learn stuff from the people who played code hero we can make all knowledge playable not just accessible like wikipedia, but playable weaken give humanity a tree of games that anything you would like to learn there is a game for it when someone comes to figure out what their academic career will be about bacon, sample all the possibilities through the games that teach them so I think that the two billion children in the world today are going to find what they need and the mentors that they're going to need in the future of hacker spaces and that you, as someone who might not have ever been to a hacker space and is just getting into the idea of coding for the first time, should go there and should be a part of making the future of hacker spaces the future of humanity because you're the future of humanity. And, uh, I would very much like to see what you guys all create and begin to show you today what the process is to become a creator of code. So I'm going to begin by showing a little bit of how code here works, and I want to first ask everybody in the audience on the internet toe ponder the question, what do you think the world would be like if one hundred percent of humans were becoming literate coders, but not just code? Is that also makers, artists, scientists, thinkers endures? If all those games were being made and all those skills are being learned, how would that change things? What you guys think instead of people just asking open ended questions, they would get immediate responses for solutions? Yeah, a lot of things speed up on that. You can just go for it. Yeah, I just think that the world would look like the world would look different, like our streets would be different, and all of these things, like they would like all of these like little problem like little things that we think about our day to day that think we think could be better would be better because someone has already thought about it and it was like working on it yeah there's a lot of there was a saying in a design exhibition called like massive change in vancouver that I saw once that said it's not about the future of design it's about the design of the future because people that are designers and creators they look at things they go oh, this could be better I'm going to fix that right away so it has very far reaching implications when you start to look around and just fix things now we have people chime e online first of all a couple people starling and elizabeth are saying this guy is ted talk material that was awesome it s o let's see, simply simply o says there would be much more transparency in how things work. So how many people here heard of aaron swartz? Aaron schwartz is a champion of transparency and you know of his work even if you never heard of him because you probably read read it he was a coder who act like I don't exactly lt was when you got involving read it like at fourteen or fifteen he was doing things like founding read it and he did it because he believed that truce could come out if people could use code to judge what should be in the spotlight instead of editors and old boy networks and cronyism and you know he instead of criticizing cnn or fox which a lot of people do he just made them obsolete for a lot of people's daily lives I don't look at the mainstream media I get my information from a transparent opened immunity process and he kept doing that he took it to open libraries and and aggregating science and journalism articles. Now he got attacked by the government for one of these openings that he did and that's a danger when you when you do code or things which disrupt when you do things that overturn an established way that business is done or way that information is controlled but I think that he's a shining example and if you look at the movement right now that exists to follow an aaron swartz his legacy and tow live up to the standards that he lived by. There are a lot of things that can be done to make the world more transparent we also have one more here online from lower read in terms of people became coders I think we would see major changes in the world in the medical field maybe would find the cure for cancer or get out further into space and we have in biology there are biologic biologists who are computer scientists who are looking at things a biologist never really thought about and just changing them overnight. Aubrey de grey is a guy who is a computer scientist. He was married to a biologist, and every night at dinner they would talk and he was gradually learning about this this world of biology, and one day he just said, you know, why don't you ever talk about aging? And she said, what he said, well, aging isn't that a major topping analogy said, no, it just happens, he said, what do you mean? It just happens? I mean, you want to study it or fix it or something? And she said, fix it, it's, just part of biology. Well, aubrey de grey started sentence the society for engineering negligent, negligible senescence, and they are doing health extension by actually changing the fundamental damage processes which we call agent, which are just damage, basically. And that was because someone with code went into a world of biology that they were able to use their tools to solve the problems. Sounds like talk a little bit about how breakthroughs can come when you combine different disciplines. I think about the book, the medici effect. They gave the example of there's a big breakthrough in traffic populations when they urban planners looked at how ants did things on the ground to change how we drive nowadays so coding could make big breakthroughs with other disciplines. Yeah, the less you think of yourself as a coder, the weirder and were imaginative. The things you could code might be because you apply an outsider perspective and not just be like every other engineering graduate I'm gonna read. Run one more to you that I like from miriam, joy says artist post activists plus healers this coders equals social change that is a very treated my own heart. The challenge with changing the world is that you're often put in a position of appealing to authority, to appealing to someone in authority and trying to make arguments to persuade them, and it often turns out that they just have, like a backroom deal and they're immune to your appeal. And so a lot of activists get angry and they tow a protest once reason doesn't work and they go to go, all these measures to try to force power to obey, and what aaron swartz did is he just wrote code and you couldn't stop the code. He liberated the articles, or he made information spreadable, and if if we want to see the world change, that that phrase I use before, which is that who makes the code makes rules applies. You know you can write a piece of software that takes a group of people that are disenfranchised and just alter the way that they know how to use the tools that exist for example like let's say you make an app and it teaches people to be more grateful every day where it teaches people like to have more self confidence and be able to go into activism for example and not to be afraid of doing that to feel good about it you could mobilize more people than an army of fundraisers or a political you know, pack for example so it's very powerful socially would you say like that little about like in a third world country or something where like there's still there obviously there's computers and stuff in but it's like not as acts like what if you wanted to end poverty in africa so you know I mean in africa one of the technologies that they do have because you always look at what you've got the first seven technology has built bemoaning the lack of like mac book pro retinas or the lack of ipads so hey, they've got cell phones with text messaging so I met a fellow at a class I taught in amsterdam at a place called think and he had a network of of millions of people in africa using cell phones to learn and to deal with other other like services like health and it was literally a revolution to just use a simple technology to consent to receive text and people sending messages and learning and he was upset that his his impact wasn't enough and he was trying to figure out a way to rethink his life and do more so the limitations and technology mean that sometimes if there's a place that doesn't have technology you have to mobilize people that due to go there and help them but there is a movement to spread hacker spaces to communities and a felony and todd hoffman was involved in hacker spaces in afghanistan felon and allow is spreading hacker spaces and helping hacker spaces that are coming up all over the middle east cairo, baghdad, beirut and so every kind of community the first routes that they could plant to give that access to people in that community would be the hacker space as a focal point to bring that technology together and that applies to midwest towns to the art college towns and that you feel trapped on board and you know like every place in america has that had the potential to be a prison if it's not the place you dream of being and it's really important to look at wherever you live it's not like the san francisco bay area nexus of silicon valley and just make the community that you want rather than wishing that it that you were somewhere else I have come with community, which is a game engine, which I teach in my classes and the game code hero itself. And I'm gonna briefly show you code heroes that I can then segway into how it was made and how you can make something. So this is the unity editor, and unity is a game engine which has quite literally taken the industry by storm. And not just the game industry. People use it for things other than games to, uh, unity was created by a seventeen year old name, your cayman auntie. And he and his friends, as they were in college, decided to make it a full time gig. And now, it's quite a few people doing quite a lot of stuff. So yes, I just wanted to read out for everyone online. The you earl where they can find this as you go, you know, two, three dot com. There we go. Unity the number three b dot com. Thank you. You know, two three dot com and what this engine allows you to do is it's the best game engine this side of a million dollars, as they like to call themselves and it's free. Actually, you just go download this it's free. And I'm going to show you code hero, and you'll see that it's running in the editor. So this is the tool that I made code era with and you'll notice, you know, there's these buttons where you can move things around and you'll see something very magical happens way soundtrack I also make music, so you're being a coder is not me, and you don't do other make music, I do the art, all of them, but, uh, you know, writing and all that, so we're going to guest but ukraine account so you can track your progress. Reality is broken, gamers can fix it. Jane mcgonigal the quotes that rotate there are really important, and that one is probably the most important thing of all. The world is literally just waiting for the right game developer to come up with the way it inspire people to change things. So you enter on the front steps of this place called cambridge university. Your first challenge is just controls, so if you've never played a first person video game or any other kind of video game that you're getting new, too, you have to adapt, controls the basic controls, our wst, so w and ask us, forward and back, and he goes left to right and the mouse moves. And it's just comfort so don't feel intimidated if you're not a f ps gamer minecraft has shown that a bunch of little kids are like six and seven and totally master fbi chambers, and this will be like the back of their hand welcome to give you this we'll come and find me so weigh hear this voice, but we don't know who it is yet and there's the warning label, uh, entrepreneurship maker there's a thank you plaque, all of our kickstarter backers and another thank you black for our other kickstarter backers. Another one because our kickstarter backers are awesome and it was almost eight thousand this is our first teacher, fittingly the first programmer and waste your first what do you like game? She says, would you like a tour and I'll teach coding? And we say sure following we'll start by playing games in the arcade even play games created by vera is like yourself, so she says, basically, we're going to go to this arcade and we're gonna play games created by people like us and on the walls or faces of the other founders of computing, alan turning and grace hopper and the first and most important game you play is called the labyrinth, and when you enter the labyrinth you are in for a challenge you're in, it'll start in the leverage and you can if you can hack your way to make it out alive. You might have what it takes to it, bro. So it's the challenge. Right down with the call to adventure. There has to be a bit of a bit of danger when you entered what we want to say. Welcome to the labyrinth level zero. Find the key to the door. Simple, right? We played this game before. No big deal way. Find the key way. Open the door and that's the game, right? We're used to that it's deliberately. Very simple way. Get the door open and we go to the next level. Second level's. Not reason this level is infested with kenyatta dragons it's full of dragons and these dragons are not impressed by us. And they'll kill us if you go any closer. So we need a sword just together. Take dangerous to go. Take this there's our sort. Now the crazy thing is that this store and that dragon, all the code in this world you can change. But you know that you two started playing. So you go up the drugs sold and she says the sword total drag subtract five damage so you hit the dragon and the dragon disappears, says you did five damage. But the next dragon is not so easy. United the dragon press the key. We take a swing at this and it's just not having way. Hit it! We hit it! It's not impress, but it says the head of the dragon press cuchi well, when you press the cuchi remember those buttons in the top left corner. The move rotate buttons when here we hit q click on the dragon king to selective I know come through it's the same bottom right? There are the tools that unity gives you when you're making a game inside of the game you're playing and the only way to beat this dragon is to happen. So it says, click on the dragon and we do make the inspector button says quickly, inspector button and it flashes of lightning hit points manageable to teach. This has changed the head points variable. This dragon has nine hundred eighty points. That is not playing fair when we double like changing to five. But certainly to close the editor and dry slaying the dragon king now dragon hacking time, way got key. Dragon is not so tough without a thousand points. If he was gonna cheat them soaking game packing company ships now you're not playing by the rules, you're changing the rules with code so that's the concept of the arcade is that when you play these games in the arcade they start off being normal and then they start cheating and then you have to beat them by june. So the next step is to actually go in and learn about programming not going to show you that here I'm going to show you in a hands on way how it works immunity but you learn about the basics of programming itself you also get to meet the historical characters that did programming and invented it like ada, but you eventually get to the shipyard and your fundamental challenge in the shipyard is just have a blank slate and to make something and to put it out there and let people see it and that's what I want you all to do after you watch this meanwhile you're watching this the whole point is that a ship in harbor is safe ship it ships in harbor is safe that's not why they're built and so this is literally a harbor and this harbor is a place where you actually build your level in a scene box, not a sandbox you've heard that term before like a sandbox editor and you're building a game scene to make a world from scratch you must first invent the universe press cute open the editor so this is basically what it game building process looks like if a blank slate. There's, excellency, that's the three dimensions and you can put things there. Click the create button. So we create something clicked. Cube, let's, put a cube. Click on the ground to place the cube. Clear, labyrinth dragon! Notice that she's there helping us. So we're not lost. That's the whole point of code heroes to make you not feel lost. And we put a drag on the ground to place the dragon click labyrinth export, click on the ground to place this. Four. Click the levels button to save your level so you can save level real name and click the safe has button to save your level. We'll call this sword in the cube. You know it's, a classic allegedly played to leave the editor and play your level if you die, open the editor. And so we grabbed the sword. Now. Now the difference is this sword. Remember when we clicked on the dragon? We can click on the sword now we can see the swords code. We can edit this sorts code. We can ask the computer how the sword works and the computer could explain it to us and we can pick up the sword and hit this dragon. And that's all code that we can add it and it's going to be able to teach you that now what does this look like? Immunity how do you actually do this for real? Well when you hit this ship button you get to an actual shipping condition where your container is ready to go you built your level now they made a level it is time to ship it congratulations and so we like to make things very literally so you literally have a crane picks up your left hand, ships it through the real artist ship so that you could eventually get it on steam and get it out to the world claims that's the whole point of code heroes to get you across that threshold because real artists ship in the human but it's just a game right? How do you do it? And so this place this hall of heroes you're now one of them there's a delay of lace and she says, you know she no nights you as a coder of the round table so to speak and there's charles and all the famous people this is you but what you're going to put under your name you can't just say aspiring code here you know alcorn invented palm what's what's your claim to fame awesome should we see there are questions here in the audience and online before you have to wrap up awesome what were some of your biggest challenges when you first started this after getting the funding from code era are kicks her lack of experience fundamentally, you know were new to the game industry and so we had to figure out how to make a game that his game play that's never existed before and figure out how to produce it and get it done on schedule which you know we were not on schedule you know, it is taking longer than we expect so be prepared to face a lot of challenges when you make projects like this and just find mentors and that's what we're doing, we're going to keep it going and get it done when you think about like things like anonymous oh anonymous what's anonymous I never heard of that before um uh they're legion apparently and uh they don't forgive or something um how many people here have ever written code okay, so I want to show you one one final just proof that this is incredibly simple this is the same thing I just show you but in unity itself, so if you download unity and yet a blank screen you make a new project here is what you've got you go create cube there's a cute and it's good but it's little small we're gonna stretch it out and give it a name and we'll call it ground and we zoom out and we want it we want to put something in this cube that will do something so we import a thing called a character controller and the character in troller lets you play again and once the carriage controllers there we just drop it in just like placing member the dragon and the sword it's the same it's no much more difficult and we put the character in there and there's our character and we consume it and see him and move up and we can hit playing right now and we have a playable video game so if that's too hard for you you're not cut out to be a if this seems like it could be fun and you could dig into this then maybe you should explore unity maybe you should try the tutorials and just try it because there's a lot that you are capable of that you don't think you're capable of yet and you won't believe in yourself until you just do it awesome what are some of the questions they're coming in online first all people are just fascinated beating it up steve whitmore says this is so innovative I love it this is I mean people are just like what one person curious prentiss other says and you talked a lot about this could be the beginning of your talking is where do you see the education system in ten years I think that the word student will be obsolete because everyone is going to be learning and the idea that graduation occurs and then you stop learning full time, more or less will be obviously because everyone will be learning throughout their lives. And I think that universities and institutions that air, incredibly high quality, will always be something that people go to for excellent, excellent material and experiences. But I think that everyone will see the world as a university and life as being a student, and the first step is just teach everyone programming because people thought that was hard. And if it's not, then maybe everything could be learned all the time. A question from finger guns n o says, what kind of game could you create to teach history two people to show how we got to where we are today in our society economy, etcetera. So history is I actually, um, obsession of mine, too. And if you watch carl sagan's cosmos, I think he's the best inspiration for how to teach history in a way that really gives you a scope, very human touch and way actually created a level which might go into code hero eventually, which is a very pivotal historical moment. The invention of code itself. This is rukh mesopotamia, thirty, two hundred bc. These farmers are angry because their harvest has been put on the ziggurat and the supreme sky god on his priesthood has not been able to distribute it and they say they're going to eat the farmers so this is just all I did is I took things I got on three d warehouse I'm all of them and sketch up I built a world I build some atmosphere and I wrote some dialogue based on a historical article I found on wikipedia and you get there and they say we don't know how to count the food because we don't have numbers bigger than five and they know to collect the food and put it on the ziggurat but step six doesn't exist so they don't even have a number six so you say let's, take a blank tablet and we'll make a tick mark for each piece of food and you literally walk across there making that food into tick mark so you can count it and before you leave like no you can't go you're the only one that knows how to use these symbols so you have to give them a tablet of their own language and then show them how to test each other and show them how to build a school that's what a game can do is take the whole concept of civilization and allow someone first hands to experience it in a way where they feel like they are that person that change things not just reading about a famous person, but putting them in the shoes of something. This is this is a new idea of a history game. I'd like to see history classes in schools making when they study at a time period is to create what was shakespeare's theater like and then have a three d theatrical experience and then do it on the real stage. Things like that wait, another question coming from the chat world from cook esquire one that's coming in from a from cold milwaukee eyes there a similar program for someone who wants to learn cold for things other then games that they're just not a gamer. Yeah, there there are other things. Code academy is a good one for learning web programming and eloquent drama scripts. Eloquent drama script is the book I recommend teach tosco yes, that's how I start everybody off on java script on dh it's free and available online and interactive eloquent javascript dot com eloquent javascript dot com it's got interactive tutorials. The other thing is that if you want to become a web developer and be the next mark zuckerberg or build a big, amazing web site, if you do have money, go to de beauchamp, it'll save you time. There are people that do amazing training academies and things where you can turn your money and get your time back and be a successful web developer and, like I don't know, it's like six or eight weeks or something. It's, a nine week program that cost ten thousand dollars in there most of their graduates are getting jobs that started salaries of like eighty thousand dollars. You're pretty much guaranteed to get your money immediately after it's a it's a much better investment than going to college what's it called again dev boot camp another question from juris ra nod. If I had a kid, which code would you advice? Advise for them to learn first so I would advise him to learn unity and c sharp. We teach javascript in code zero because it's a little bit friendlier to start people often javascript and it's more forgiving than c sharp. But everyone who does the sharp or javascript immunity migrates to she'd see sharp eventually for its advantages. The reason I recommend unity is this. If you teach kids a bunch of different programming languages thinking that you're expanding their horizons it's like teaching them french, english, german and japanese every year, and then at the end, saying, now you know, s paronto congratulations, right, they know a language that no one speaks badly. If you teach them to get a game in the app store when they're twelve, when you start him off in their first year let's, get something, the app store, why not? They could be the next child prodigy that makes headlines, and from that point on, they're going to be so motivated by the fact that they're actually out in the world and not just your protege, that they're going to go and have the ability to learn. There were quite a few questions online. First, somebody yes, just say some older people out there who seem a little bit intimidated by this if you're not in your teens there, say, your twenties or something like that, you're living older, forties, fifties, et cetera. Is that still something that they can pursue the program are that helped me write the first version of code zero I was doing real estate and had a midlife crisis and said, I hate my life. I like playing video games. I'm gonna learn how to make video games, and he had literally just started teaching himself shortly before we started working together and he helped produce something amazing, charles and norman so there is no person who can't get excited about this and worry about it. Well, speaking of getting excited about, I'm curious. Now you just showed us and brilliance, right? There's really in depth. Attention to detail. Pretty pretty miraculous. What did this take for you to build it? Were you in a cave for nine months? Not getting any air water? Yeah, I was in a garage a basically windowless garage, which it was a really kind of grim place to start. But the motivation tio get out of that garage was part of what drove me. The way I learned was just this. I went to the help. And if you are in unity and you have this basic seem like I showed you, you know, a cuban, some stuff, and you make a script and you don't know the answers to things. What you do is you you bring up the help, and the help literally has, like, I wanted to make it load a different level. So I typed in, like, load. And then I went to help, and I went to a p I reference, and it has answers to all those questions. So there's load and I wanted to load a different level, and I just looked down there's a lot of level and there's the example code, and I copied and pasted it in and this is what I teach kids to do first before I teach them the whole programming language chief, some copy pasting is ok, just asking someone to help you do something, even if you don't even fully understand what they did to help you is ok, because you end up with the working game and, you know, in a professional setting, programmers working together, they don't understand each other's code fully because you have to trust your l a voters. So the first thing I recommend is start making something and just get people to help you. Uh, that's how I learned unity and their tons of tutorials, it's just takes patients to sit down and do them that's really reassuring for me because my the extent of my html is just like, cut and paste couldn't face change. I want to read you a comment from that g who says I just when I saw this the bit about your teaching a history class for that video game like that's when the light bulb went off and saw that that was awesome. How what percentage of of coders would you say are self taught versus externally taught? I think that depends on what you're asking. I mean, I think most people that I know who go through university are learning how to develop websites. On their own because the technologies that we use to build websites like facebook like twitter that we use every day are just not things that are taught in school yeah, some schools have a practical component where they go into like a php or a python or something and try to teach you something really useful but there's an emphasis and computer science on teaching you like thinking strategies and cars howto build algorithms and so a lot of these people get into a job interview and they failed this very sad test called fizz buns and fizz buzz theory journal test wass take the numbers one to one hundred and print them out one after another and if they're divisible by three or five or fifteen substitute fizz buzz or physicians so one to fizz for buzz is seven eight visits and a bunch of people with degrees failed this test from top engineering schools it is amazing and it was because they were given assignments but not really doing things on the road and not building things on. So, uh the question of how many programmers or self taught I'm not sure, but almost all the programs have ever spoken to their first project was a game and that that often involving element of teaching himself and learning so someone can help you sorry, but you will always be teaching yourself programming that's just the nature of it well, I just I was personally blown away by that. So I went, thank you so much, you know, it's, it's, a it's, a foreign language for me. I'm illiterate in the ways, but it's, just so fascinating, and I'm so engaged that was having so much. My cancer can't build a girl in a game right now, very cool, so it could give alex a cute.

Class Description

For most of us, getting a good education that prepares us for a satisfying, successful life and career means going to school and attending college. We pay our dues by sitting for hours in a classroom, doing the prescribed homework, and often paying tens of thousands of dollars for the privilege of getting a degree from an institution of higher learning.

But that’s not the case for Dale Stephens, who decided at a young age that school and college weren’t for him. Instead, he embraced “unschooling,” which is self-directed learning based on curiosity, confidence and grit. Instead of blindly following what society and institutions say we must learn and how we should learn it, Stephens offers an alternative approach that is richer, more dynamic and geared to our unique interests.

Stephens is the author of “Hacking Your Education,” founder of, a highly sought-after speaker, and a successful investor and advisor. He and his special guest speakers will help you devise your own personal learning path, figure out your dreams and how to pursue them, learn to embrace your outsider status, and discover how to find meaning and purpose while also making a living.

In this class, you’ll learn how to:

  • Create a personal learning plan that defines what you want to learn, why you want to learn it, and how you will learn it.
  • Keep yourself motivated when you don’t have the structures of school.
  • Identify what your goals and dreams are and what you need to learn to realize them.
  • Connect with mentors and advisors who can help you on your educational journey.
  • Build a community with other “hackademics” to help you learn anything you want.
  • Create a portfolio to communicate your talents rather than a traditional resume.
  • Find a well-paying, satisfying job using subversive job search techniques.


a Creativelive Student

I'm not able to afford this class now but I saw the live view on CL and want to thank you! So many things I have experienced recently it was nice to learn that I am not about filters, time managing as innovators, taking smaller steps instead of reaching for long goals...chunking. Great course!