George Kalmpourtzis
Principal Designer

George is a games designer, learning specialist, UX architect, book author and educator. He is also the founder of two indie studios: Playcompass Entertainment and Infinitivity Design Labs. George holds two BScs (one in education and one in computer engineering), a MSc in Advanced Information Systems and a PhD in Design Pedagogy and HCI. Coming from a diverse background, including both arts, education and engineering, George has been interested in creating intrinsically motivating experiences that have impact on their users. He has worked as game designer, UX designer, producer and studio manager in various indie European studios and has worked with ivy league institutions and international corporations for the design of native apps, games and learning platforms. George focuses on teaching experience design to teachers and students and the cognitive development benefits that arise from this process. Through an experimental procedure, he has formed several multi-disciplinary teams that are currently working on designing games that have an impact to local societies.

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Creativity

The power of creativity in the structuring of a better school

By on November 22, 2015

Today, I participated in the 9th IMCL conference, dedicated to the design and creation of mobile learning platforms. Listening to the presentation of Petros Lameras, discussing about the power of Creativity in Entrepreneurship Education, I couldn’t help but remember once again that creativity can be developed, like a muscle. Even if national curricula stress the importance of developing creativity in the educational process (both for teachers and learners), we can’t help but notice that even if creativity is evident in the early childhood years, it does not develop after kids enter school.

This question kept spinning in my mind for hours. What if we could actually help learners retrain the muscle of creativity? What if we could help teachers create new, innovative and rich learning content and deliver it in a way that both them and learners would enjoy? Of course, these questions are not new. They are as old as some creative minds understood that pedagogy is a living and actively growing science, affected by the development of the human nature. And it comes without further thinking to my mind that humanity has been affected by the constant advances in technology.

However, technology by itself cannot help make a difference in our lives. It needs a purpose and a direction. As Huizinga explains, play is nature’s way to pass knowledge and information between animals or humans. Play is a spontaneous, voluntary, structured or unstructured process where people express their creative needs. In this perspective, game design presents an interesting opportunity for the development of creativity. Their multidisciplinary nature, including mathematics, physics, arts, innovation, expression of ideas etc is a starting point for a variety of activities and exercises that could support and foster new creative minds.

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Game design for the development of creativity

Recently I was performing a game design workshop in a local kindergarten. The game of the day, was the design of dominoes. Game design for the kindergarten is a challenging task, requiring the use and combination of various skills and a detailed and continuous monitoring of individual and team work. At one point, as designers were changing the game mechanics and structure of the game, a girl suggested the creation of 3 squared domino tiles, which would be combined in a particular way. It was an exciting moment to see how the team reacted and worked on the development of the new game.

At the end, the classroom ended up creating a totally new game. During this process, the team had been involved in mathematical activities without realizing it, since they needed to work on counting, shapes, symmetries and various other topics.

I consider that game design and games in the educational process is an indispensable part for the development of creative minds that will change our world!

 

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