Speaker session

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Detailed Information

Below are synopsis for each of the speaking sessions and  short presenter biographies.

Presentation: 8 ways virtual reality simulation is changing the health care industry

Think virtual reality simulation is just for playing games with your buddies on pizza night? Discover trends in the health care industry with innovative rehabilitation services and interactive skills training. An HTC Vive will provide hands-on opportunities to experience the mind of a child with autism, brain surgery, and more. Prepare for growing opportunities as this cutting-edge technology is integrated into an ever-changing, fast-growing industry that impacts numerous professions.

Speaker : Cassandra Barrow

Cassandra Barrow is a dynamic and energetic nursing instructor at Oxley College of Health Sciences. Her primary nursing interests are fundamentals, pediatrics, women's health, and oncology. She received her master's degree in nursing education at Indiana Wesleyan University and is currently working toward her PhD in nursing education and research at Oklahoma City University.


Presentation: HGE Coaches Guide : Getting Started with Game Design

Are you a CS or STEM Teacher or even an enthusiastic parent or mentor that would like to start a coding program where your students could compete in the Heartland Gaming Expo (HGE) competition? 
This presentation provides HGE coaches a list of resources and guidelines to help provide you with a starting point to get students ready and prepared to compete in HGE 2019. 

Speaker : Akram Taghavi-Burris

Akram Taghavi-Burris is an award winning designer, writer, and educator with over 15 years of experience in graphic arts and web design. Akram has a M.Ed. with an emphasis on Design Education and has been awarded several prestigious awards for her work such as the American Advertising Federation (AAF) Award and, the Davinci Fellows Award for innovation in teaching.

Currently Akram holds the position of instructor in Computer Simulation and Gaming at the University of Tulsa and is the  lead coordinator for the Heartland Gaming Expo. 


Presentation: I can Vulkan and so can you! An introduction to Vulkan and low level graphics Api's

Take a deep dive into the world of low level graphics APIs through the lens of Vulkan, a next generation cross platform graphics API. In this talk we will cover a brief history of Vulkan as it went from an initiative of Khronos to being used in triple-A studios, a comparison of design philosophy with the older OpenGL graphics APIs, and then a crash course on the Vulkan API, including a general overview of major components as well as information on resources to learn more. There will also be  discussion on the three new topics that Vulkan introduces: Pipelines, memory management, and synchronization.

Speaker : Charles Giessen

Charles is a current University of Tulsa student majoring in Computer Science and Computer Simulation and Gaming with a passion for slick graphics, next generation tech, and generally cool stuff.


Presentation: Sandboxed-In: Designing the Virtual Anthropocene

The Anthropocene is the name given to the current geological epoch, a time marked by humanity’s effect on the environment. This presentation will highlight early and contemporary games that explore the state of play during the Anthropocene. From the environmental message at the heart of Chrono Trigger (1995) to the neo-stone age tech of Horizon Zero Dawn (2017), games have encouraged players to explore virtual sandboxes built from the anxieties of the Anthropocene. Unrelenting forces threaten these games’ respective worlds with extinction at the hands of some sin sprung from humankind, and each game offers the player the opportunity to (virtually) correct these mistakes. As games continue to build larger worlds, concerns about the Anthropocene loom larger and become more explicit, now key plot points and design philosophies rather than simple thematic set-dressing. This talk will place this shift in game design thinking in its historical and cultural contexts in hopes of answering the question, “Why does sandbox play matter in the Anthropocene?”

Speaker : David Chandler 

David Chandler received his PhD in English Literature from the University of Tulsa in 2015. He has written and published several articles in academic and digital journals about literature, new media, digital games and the cultural avenues that connect them.