Human Restoration Project


62: Creating Worlds, Game Design & Education w/ Seth Coster

Ep. 62

In this podcast, we are joined by Seth Coster, the CEO and game programmer at Butterscotch Shenanigans, who have seen incredibly success on their video and mobile games. Best known for titles Crashlands and Levelhead, Butterscotch Shenanigans was founded by three brothers with no explicit academic background in video game creation. Seth studied to become a Certified Financial Analyst, started a law graduate program, but soon realized he enjoyed the games he created in his free time much more. Brothers Sam, Seth, and Adam Coster also host their own podcast, Coffee with Butterscotch.

The reason we invited Seth was because we see an inherent connection between video game design and education, as well as his own story connecting to a lot of our work at the Human Restoration Project. (And it was awesome to have a connection through Nick, who he went to college with.) I actually introduce the concept of learning by doing by showcasing a clip from Indie Game: The Movie, where developers of Super Meat Boy explain that teaching a player to run and jump through a pop up that shows them how to do it, is not nearly as effective as just presenting a large gap and having the player keep trying until they ultimately succeed (see the show notes!)

Enjoy this array of topics from game design to grading to chaotic science experiments.


Seth Coster, the CEO and game programmer at Butterscotch Shenanigans, who have seen incredibly success on their video and mobile games Crashlands and Levelhead.

Nick Covington, Creative Director of Human Restoration Project, advocate of equitable gradeless learning and realignment of assessment.



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80: Pandemic Pods, School Choice, and Combating Inequity w/ Dr. Jon Hale

Ep. 80
Today, Chris and I (Nick) are joined by John Hale, whose biography you will hear at the beginning of the interview. John was recently the guest of a Soho Forum debate on the topic of pandemic pods, which you heard excerpts of at the beginning of this episode and confined in its entirety on YouTube.Since the Human Restoration Project has primarily been focused on pedagogy and changing the structures of school, I wanted to have John on to talk more about the history and ramifications of education policy and help us unpack what's really going on in our current conversations about pandemic pods, voucher programs and the recently announced Bezos Academy. How can we simultaneously acknowledge that schools need to change while being critical advocates for the need for public institutions and employee unions? How have market oriented takes on so-called school choice actually subverted the original intent of independent and charter schools? It's a really interesting conversation and it was great to talk to John. I'm sure we'll have him on again to talk education policy, history and organization in the future.GUESTSDr. Joe Hale, professor of educational policy, organization, and leadership at the University of Illinois, Urban-Champaign, and author of the forthcoming book, "The Choice We Face" (working title)RESOURCESJeff Bezos is opening a tuition-free preschool for underserved children (CNN)Savage Inequalities by Jonathan KozolSmall Schools and ChoiceRevisited by Deborah MeierFURTHER LISTENINGAre ‘Pandemic Pods’ a Symptom of the Public School Monopoly? A Soho Forum Debate (YouTube)