You need an inventive mind to make geometry fun for children.
And game designer Johanna Janiszewski has proved a little imagination and playfulness goes a long way, especially in education.
As the CEO and founder of Berlin-based game company Tiny Crocodile Studios, Johanna won the Deutscher Computerspielpreis for Best Kids’ Game with her first project, Monkey Swag.
“Creating games for kids is especially challenging. You have to make sure that they understand what they are doing, which is harder than for adults. Getting kids to play the game and use things is the most challenging topic.”
Johanna invented her first games in kindergarten in 1990, long before she even knew about digital games. She made her debut in the field of digital games in 2008 with Simon the Sorcerer 5 for Silver Style Entertainment.
She brought her mentoring and creative skills to 2018’s Codemotion Berlin conference through her fun and informative presentation, Monkey Swag: how I sneaked geometry into a fun game. It was a great opportunity to discuss how intrinsic motivation and fun game environments can be utilised to make unpopular learning topics interesting.
Johanna has been recently involved in the development of Treasure Monkeys, a geometry treasure hunt game, which is designed not only for children. She also teaches children and teenagers the fundamentals of game development, mostly through the visual scripting tool Scratch. Since 2012, she has been working as an honorary reading mentor for children. She gives game development workshops in schools, libraries, youth centers and places like the HABA Digitalwerkstatt in Berlin. She also offers workshops for Pocket Code, App Inventor and mBlock.