Facing the Future and WWU Join Forces

ftf videoAlmost a year ago, when I was an intern for (prepare for long title) Western Washington University’s Office of University Communications and Marketing, I got a press release about how Facing the Future would soon join WWU. A higher-up in the department thought the press release about this acquisition should also come in video form, so I was tasked with doing just that: Turning a written press release into a video!

Oh, how I enjoyed this project!

I was aided with the actual filming and interviewing by another intern and my supervisor, but the editing (everything from trimming down the recorded material and figuring out how to arrange the shots, to adding music and credits before posting it online) was all done by me over a single weekend. Suffice to say, I’m very pleased with how the project turned out.

For reference, the full text of the press release can be found below.

Facing the Future, an award-winning developer of teacher’s guides, student textbooks and digital resources that equip and motivate K-college students to develop critical thinking skills, build global awareness, and engage in positive solutions for a sustainable world, has become an independent program of Western Washington University.

“We are thrilled to join Western Washington University and to work with such dedicated and inspirational faculty, staff and administrators. The university’s long tradition of excellence in environmental education, primary and secondary education, and business administration with ethics and justice at its core makes us so proud to become Vikings,” said Kimberly Corrigan, executive director of Facing the Future.

Facing the Future will retain its name, partners, and network and will work collaboratively with university faculty and experts on scholarship, research and outreach.

“Facing the Future is a leader that empowers teachers to ignite their students’ interest in complex environmental issues. Facing the Future will benefit from the environment, energy, and sustainability educational programs and research at Western. In turn, Western faculty, staff and students will have an outreach mechanism for sharing their educational programs and research with a worldwide audience,” said Steve Hollenhorst, dean of Western’s Huxley College of the Environment.

FTF’s staff will remain headquartered in Seattle, continuing under the direction of Executive Director Corrigan. FTF will be located in the university’s Seattle office, which also includes the WWU Foundation.

“Western Washington University has partnered with Facing the Future on a variety of projects over the last decade. We are very excited that they will now be a part of the Western family. Thousands of teachers in the U.S .and around the world use Facing the Future materials to help K-12 students at all grade levels explore a wide variety of global issues pertaining to the environment, economies and social justice. Now we look forward to working with the Facing the Future team in the months and years ahead to introduce their amazing materials to new audiences here in the U.S. and internationally,” said Victor Nolet, WWU professor of Secondary Education whose research has included sustainability in education.

FTF staff research and write global issues and sustainability curriculum materials that meet national education standards; provide professional development training to teachers on global issues, sustainability, and service learning; and help schools integrate global sustainability across their curricula.

Facing the Future curriculum is in use in all 50 states and more than 120 countries by teachers and students in grades K-college and across multiple subject areas, including science, social studies, and environmental education.

Facing the Future, founded in 1995, has received support from many prominent private foundations, government grants, individual donations and income from its various textbooks and other publications. As an independent program of Western, FTF will continue as a self-sustaining organization, reaching out to even more educators and students.

“In the years to come FTF will serve tens of thousands more educators across the nation and throughout the world, and will strategically expand the communities it serves to include higher education, business, government, and the general citizenry to more deeply understand the pressing local and global issues of our time and to work effectively to prepare young people to take leadership roles in building a just and sustainable future for all,” Corrigan said.

Facing the Future, highly regarded by educators across the nation and world, has won numerous prestigious awards, including: Distinguished Achievement Award Finalist from the Association of Educational Publishers, 2011; North American Association for Environmental Education, Outstanding Service to Environmental Education by an Organization, 2010 and 2006; International Association of Webmasters and Designers 2003-2004 Golden Web Award, and Eisenhower National Clearinghouse Digital Dozen Award, 2002.


Why We Shouldn’t Fear Amiibo in Zelda U

Unrustled amiibo 3 Nintendo will probably integrate amiibo into some part of Zelda U’s gameplay, but we shouldn’t worry. While I count myself among those opposed to amiibo integration in Zelda U, a look at Zelda‘s history has convinced me we have nothing to fear.

Amiibo support in Zelda U won’t be a microtransaction scheme straight out of the Candy Crush Saga playbook, nor will we see major features like riding Epona or accessing dungeons restricted without player purchase of specific amiibo figures. In fact, amiibo integration in Zelda U will probably be much more familiar than many of us realize.

So, let’s all remain calm and take a look at how inevitable amiibo integration in Zelda U appears to be. But, let’s also look at how extra hardware purchases have not only been a major part of the Zelda franchise for most of its history, but have rarely tarnished Zelda games.

Nintendo Loves amiibo

amiibo-iwata-mario-vs-reggie copyFirst, consider how widespread amiibo integration has been with recent first-party Nintendo titles. Mario Party 10, Splatoon, and the latest Super Smash Bros. games are just a few of the recent Nintendo titles that support amiibo integration natively, while older Nintendo titles like Mario Kart 8 have been patched to support amiibo integration.

Furthermore, the recently released New Nintendo 3DS brought native NFC support to Nintendo’s mobile platform. Now, amiibo integration is as accessible for players on the go as it is for Wii U owners. In fact, native amiibo support is now a standard feature across all of Nintendo’s gaming platforms.

My interpretation of these facts is that Nintendo isn’t just flirting with the toys-to-life market. Nintendo has gotten down on one knee and tied the knot with this incredibly prosperous new segment of the gaming industry. Nintendo wants a slice of the toys-to-life pie, and it wants to give consumers as many reasons as possible to pick up these collectable figures.

Nintendo has made amiibo attractive and accessible for consumers with a wide variety of figures to choose from and an increasing library of games that support them. While the idea of purchasing extra hardware like amiibo for added functionality in games may sound sketchy to some gamers, it’s a natural fit for the Zelda franchise, which has frequently suggested or required the purchase of extra hardware for the last 16 years.

Zelda’s History with Extra Hardware

Zelda Hardware5 Ocarina of Time and Majora’s Mask suggested a Rumble Pak; Majora’s Mask required the Expansion Pak; a Game Boy link cable was suggested for Oracle of Ages and Oracle of Seasons; The Wind Waker suggested a cable to connect and a Game Boy Advance to the GameCube; Twilight Princess was a GameCube game that had its release date pushed back by a month to suggest players buy the Wii port and a new Wii; and Skyward Sword required a Wii Motion Plus attachment.

That’s seven of the past 11 traditional Zelda games that have suggested or required extra hardware for a more fulfilling gameplay experience. And let’s not completely forget about how heavily Nintendo marketed the New Nintendo 3DS alongside promotions for Majora’s Mask 3D, or disregard spinoff Zelda titles such as Four Swords Adventures, Link’s Crossbow Training and Hyrule Warriors. In fact, Hyrule Warriors was sold with native support for amiibo.

Even though Link’s Crossbow Training was bundled with a Wii Zapper and the DLC in Hyrule Warriors was software instead of hardware, these games still support the trend of Nintendo using the Zelda franchise to sell consumers extra products besides the base game. And this has especially been the case for Zelda games released on home consoles.

So, seven of the last 11 traditional Zelda releases have either suggested or required players to purchase extra hardware. And home console releases make up the majority of those seven traditional Zelda games.

Remain Skeptical. Remain Optimistic. Remain Unrustled.

Don't be upset2Does any of this guarantee that the Wii U-bound Zelda U will block some features to players without an amiibo? No.

Nobody but Nintendo knows the extent of Zelda U’s amiibo integration, if it has any at all. But if amiibo support is announced for Zelda U, don’t let it rustle your jimmies; it won’t be as unusual and frightening as you may fear.

This entry was originally posted on Zelda Informer, and you can find it here. It was also featured in an article on Design & Trend.

Hey, Look, Listen: Reanalyzing Handholding in Skyward Sword


If you ever wanted to know exactly how much The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword holds your hand, you’ve come to the right place. You will find no exaggerated opinions based on hazy recollections here. This is an objective analysis of handholding in Skyward Sword, and I now have full faith in the data collected from this game after auditing the game once more with a second playthrough.

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UPDATE Hey, Look, Listen: Analyzing Handholding in Skyward Sword

Updated 2UPDATE: The data gathered and analyzed for my playthrough of Skyward Sword will not be included in my final evaluation of Handholding in 3D Zelda Games on Home Consoles because it was not held to the same standard as my audits of Twilight Princess, Ocarina of Time, and The Wind Waker. As a result, my verdict in the Hey, Look, Listen series has been delayed and a new article that reanalyzes handholding in Skyward Sword will be released once I can complete another playthrough of the game and write an analysis.

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Hey, Look, Listen: Analyzing Handholding in The Wind Waker

Meh Link for WWThe Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker is a magnificent adventure that actively encourages player-driven exploration and discovery unlike any other Zelda game I’ve played for this Hey, Look, Listen series. By the end of my 30 hours and 37 minutes with this gem from the GameCube era, all I could think about was my desire to run back into the embrace of its tremendous open world.

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Hey, Look, Listen: Analyzing Handholding in Ocarina of Time

Adult Link copy3Ocarina of Time holds a unique place in the world of video games. Aside from being honored as one of the greatest video games ever made, its sidekick character Navi is often regarded around the Internet as among the most annoying characters in gaming. Quantifying how annoying Navi can be or how often she held the player’s hand throughout an average playthrough of Ocarina of Time was always one of my main reasons for conducting this audit of Zelda games, and I hope readers will be as satisfied with the results as I am.

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