Professor Nancy Binowski got her first taste of teaching in Harlem, New York at the City College of New York, as part of a visiting professorship program sponsored by her employer, Bell Labs.
"Most of the students were first generation Americans or immigrants," says Binowski, now associate professor in the Department of Information Technologies at County College of Morris (CCM). "They were extremely motivated.They wanted a piece of the American Dream."
She commuted from Bridgewater into New York, and then took a taxi up to Harlem. "From that taxi, I saw a lot of poverty. The campus was like an oasis. It was enlightening to be exposed to that aspect of society. I would like to think that I made a positive impact on their lives. I hope I did."
She returned to corporate life for 17 years and also began teaching at Rutgers. Nine years ago, she joined the CCM faculty where she coordinates the Game Development program as well as teaching general programming and systems analysis.
She admits that game development is her favorite subject. "I am always astounded at the game designs that I get from my students. They are incredibly creative and I just enjoy working with them."
A decade ago, she never would have thought she would be involved in a game curriculum. "I had no idea.I had a traditional computer science degree. People used to learn game programming on their own or from a friend," she says. "As the games have become more technologically complex, it is now harder to learn those skills on your own."
Binowski envisions a future world infused with games. "Games are not just for entertainment. We have a group of individuals coming up, the game-playing generation." This generation, she says, expects to be entertained and engaged interactively because they have been playing computer games since they were 2.
"Games are already being used in education, training and medical rehabilitation. It will keep moving along in that direction with game technology being used in all aspects of our lives," says Binowski. Starting with an educational foundation from CCM, her students will help lead that charge into an interactive, new world.