IT faculty and students win Best App award at New Media Film Festival

IT faculty and students win Best App award at New Media Film Festival

Vincennes University Logo

August 27, 2020

August 27, 2020

VINCENNES, Ind. - The flagship mobile game created by Creative Wisdom Games, LLC - cofounded by Vincennes University professors Jaci Lederman and Newton Lee - won the Best App award at the 11th New Media Film Festival on Aug. 15.

“Pearls of Wisdom: Chloe’s Adventure” took the top prize during an award show broadcast live on YouTube from Los Angeles. New Media Film Festival, an innovative and award-winning festival created in 2009, celebrates stories, technology, and platforms.

“Pearls of Wisdom: Chloe’s Adventure” is geared toward children ages 2-10 and is available for free on major app stores. The game follows the journey of Chloe the Clam as she visits places around the world to learn where pearls come from and collects pearls of wisdom, wise quotes reflecting on life, kindness, and other subjects that impart wisdom.

Creative Wisdom Games, LLC provides real-world hands-on experience for students to prepare for future jobs and entrepreneurship under the instruction of Lee, a former Disney game engineer and producer, and Lederman, Information Technology department chair. Both are VU alumni.

Newton Lee, IT Professor

“We offer real-world experiences and award-winning opportunities for students to showcase their talents and to prepare for a professional career in the gaming industry which is a $200 billion behemoth pushing the boundaries of technology and entertainment,” Lee said.

Prize-winning “Pearls of Wisdom: Chloe’s Adventure” showcases the talent of VU students Christian Swinford, Kyle Lutz, and Jaden Pfoff. VU students also collaborated with team members across the nation and globally, including Alan Lim from the University of California in San Diego and Anna Pogrebniak from King’s College London in the United Kingdom.

Christian Swinford, VU alumnus (wearing red)

“Pearls of Wisdom is a great game for children,” Swinford said. “It teaches about various cultures while having fun mini-games to keep them engaged. Creating the game from start to finish was a learning experience in and of itself, and I look forward to the next iterations of Pearls of Wisdom in hopes that we take Chloe even further around the world and we get to show children all sorts of customs and cultures.

“I'm glad Pearls of Wisdom was able to win the award, and I hope that it helps propel Chloe into the lives of many more children as they learn that we are all different, but being different is a good thing.”

"If you build it, they will come" is a well-known spin-off quote based on the movie, “Field of Dreams”. Lederman evaluated VU’s Information Technology-Programming and Game Development Degree in 2018 and this quote came to mind. The only expectation was that the gaming students were already there in the degree program. In Lederman's assessment, she identified that a missing piece was their field of dreams, or in this case a gaming arcade. 

After writing and receiving grant funding, Lederman was able to obtain funding and create the field of dreams, now known as the Holodome. Gaming students now have a place to develop and showcase their game creations. 

With the Holodome in place, the next enhancement needed for the gaming degree was a well-established connection to the gaming industry. With a significant task in front of her, Lederman reached out to Lee, to ask for his expertise in the gaming industry. It was decided that all the components to launch a successful gaming company were right in Vincennes.

Creative Wisdom Games, LLC was born in 2019. The company is on a mission to engage, educate, entertain, and empower people through video games. The cofounders use reciprocal inspiration in their unique approach to game design and development. Encouraging others to find themselves, the founding educators are at times the students in the process. The team finds inspiration by engaging with the world around them. Every game is developed with the goal of empowering those who play it with newfound knowledge.

Jaci Lederman, IT Department Chair

“A commonality across all of our IT Programs is that we engage our students in creativity,” Lederman said. “I believe this is a mindset that becomes a skill. Creativity is ranked No. 1 on the LinkedIn report, “The Soft Skills Companies Need Most in 2020”, and was also ranked No. 1 in 2019.

“Developing this app with students is evidence of how we learn and create in our information technology programs. Winning an award for our app provides insight into why employers desire creativity as a skill set, and why we don’t just teach it, we live it.”

VU is a brilliant place to launch your gaming career. Explore: Information Technology-Programming and Game Development