Wick Editor joins a suite of free educational tools for students and teachers
As a student at Carnegie Mellon University, Zach Rispoli wanted to teach his younger sister how to design video games. A class project he and Luca Damasco developed did just that.
“Our prototype was very basic, but we realized there was an incredible opportunity to create an effective learning tool that could grow with its users,” said Damasco, who earned a bachelor’s degree from the computer science program and of Arts in 2017 and a Masters in Human-Computer Interaction in 2018. Rispoli graduated from CMU with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in 2018.
With support from CMU’s Frank-Ratchye STUDIO for Creative Inquiry, the Frank Ratchye Fund for Art at the Frontier, and the Mozilla Open Source Support Fund, Rispoli and Damasco led a team that released Wick Editor under an open source license.
Kate Chaudoin, a 2019 CMU graduate with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Electronic and Time-Based Media, used Wick Editor to tell a short egg story.
Wick Editor is a web-based animation and game creation software developed with the needs of beginners in mind. Its low skill floor, high skill cap, and streamlined UI make it the perfect class tool.
As of 2021, the Wick Editor website has been visited over 5 million times by 1.4 million visitors and is used worldwide by creators of all ages. In a nod to their tartan roots, the duo donated Wick Editor to CMU’s Entertainment Technology Center, where it will join a suite of beginner-friendly learning tools for use in K-12 education. and more.
“We realize that to give Wick Editor an opportunity to really flourish and support as many learners as possible, ETC’s institutional support will really move the tool forward,” Damasco said. “There is a wonderful opportunity to merge the arts into various aspects of traditional classrooms, and having animations and games to submit in place of a traditional assignment would be a real treat!”
“Wick Editor is a natural companion to ETC’s outreach and engagement efforts,” said John Balash, director of educational engagement for ETC. “Like ETC’s groundbreaking Alice software, Wick Editor empowers creatives to tell the stories they want to tell and build the worlds they imagine.”
In an effort to learn more about what Wick users want, the ETC Outreach and Engagement team connected with forum moderator and content creator Jovanny Rodriguez.
Rodriguez, a software engineer, volunteers to help improve the user experience of Wick Editor. In addition to moderating the platform’s forum, Rodriguez creates YouTube tutorials, including those requested by Wick Editor forum users.
“For me, it’s a passion,” Rodriguez said. “I see Wick Editor for what it is, a blank canvas where I can create anything. I was so welcomed by the community when I started using Wick Editor, than when I became a master , I knew I wanted to give back.”
In keeping with the spirit of collaboration encouraged on Wick Editor, Balash said the ETC aims to collaborate with power users to make improvements to both the functionality of the software and the overall user experience in the coming months. .