Edison Project students to learn how video games are invented


Video Visionaries Mel Davey and Jamie Carlson, from Sonalysts Studios, Inc., will demonstrate how video games are invented for nearly 650 high school students enrolled in the Edison Project at Fairfield University, on Wednesday, Feb. 7. Their presentation is part of a workshop from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. in the Regina A. Quick Center for the Arts, and will include game demonstrations, descriptions of sound effects, 3D models, terrain generation and simulations of water, sky and clouds.

Also presenting at the workshop will be Dr. Robert Rosenberg, director and co-editor of the Thomas Edison Papers, who will speak on the "Social Revolutions of Edison's Inventions."

The students, from 12 high schools in Connecticut, New York and New Jersey, are studying the contributions of Thomas A. Edison in shaping the evolution of industrial America all the way to today's technology. While the video games will be a leap from the Edison Phonograph and Stock Ticker they have studied so far, Edison's method of invention and his pioneering use of the industrial laboratory as a think tank for industrial research and development, continue to have valid applications today.

The young people attending the Edison Project are no older than Thomas Edison was when he entered the labor market and began a life of invention, noted Dr. Evangelos Hadjimichael, Dean of the School of Engineering. "We hope the project will inspire them and help them to realize the capacity for creativity within each one of us."

A student workbook will be developed to complement the workshop lectures as well as a Web Site with a database on Edison, geared specifically to pre-college students. In addition, a semi-permanent exhibit, tracing the evolution of Edison's technology all the way to the year 2000, will be placed in the lobby of McAuliffe Hall, home of the School of Engineering.

The projects are being supported by $50,000 in grants from the Charles Edison Fund in East Orange, N.J., and The Dibner Fund in Wilton, Conn.

The Charles Edison Fund is a private foundation that supports historic preservation, especially the homes of Thomas A. Edison, and education, medical research, hospitals and museum exhibits.

The Dibner Fund is a private foundation that supports programs in the history of technology, science education, humanitarian causes, the preservation of water resources, peaceful co-existence, and Jewish Heritage as well as selected community organizations."

Linda Malkin, senior vice president at the Discovery Museum in Bridgeport, is chairing the workshop sessions. A steering committee for the workshop series, made up of high school teachers, has worked in conjunction with the Project Director, Dr. Richard G. Weber, associate dean of the School of Engineering; along with other Engineering School faculty and Mrs. Ann Sliva of Monroe, assistant coordinator of the workshop series. Their goal is to introduce students to the labor-intensive "discovery method" of Edison and his trusted assistants, and then focus on the social and humanistic aspects of his discoveries and inventions.

For more information, please call the School of Engineering at (203) 254-4147.

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Media Contact: Nancy Habetz, (203) 254-4000, ext. 2647, nhabetz@fairfield.edu

Posted on February 15, 2001

Vol. 33, No. 132