Lead News Writer
As an adjunct faculty member within the department of communications media, Ahmed Yousof (graduate, communications media and instructional technology), a doctoral candidate from Egypt, teaches 3D- and 2D-game design and development, animation, multimedia and communications media research.
As a graduate student, he is doing research related to video games and intercultural communication.
However, he has done a lot more since coming to IUP, including winning first place in the New Media and Mobile Learning category at the 2013 Education without Borders (EWB) conference and being selected by Microsoft to alpha test their Hololens.
The EWB conference was held in Dubai, and it focused on education technology.
The conference’s goal was to help college students advance their ideas and research relating to educational efforts in places around the world that have limited access to resources.
Yousof presented a video game concept about intercultural communication titled HERO 1.
It was one of 32 papers selected for presentations at the 2013 conference out of more than 3,600 submissions from all over the world.
HERO 1 is an educational game that teaches players the English language and American culture.
The game is designed for Arab students and its main character is an Arab teenager in the United States named Malik.
For his success at EWB, Yousof also won a scholarship in 2014 for outstanding performance from the College of Education and Educational Technologies.
Out of thousands of game developers and designers, Yousof is also one of a select few who was chosen by Microsoft to provide feedback on their Hololens before it is launched to customers.
In order to be chosen by Microsoft, Yousof had to submit a proposal about why he should be part of the “insider program” to receive the Hololens.
Yousof was selected to be part of the second group of developers to test the product.
Yousof explained why he is interested in video games and education as well as intercultural communication.
“Despite the differences among nations and people, there is one fact: that we all share the same planet,” Yousof said.
“Most of the conflict and tensions that happen between people may stem from a lack of intercultural competency on the part of the listener or the receiver.
“Video games [are] the best tool that can be used in the digital age to make the new generations able to develop their intercultural competency. I am a fan of video games – I am a terrible gamer though – and the power of computer-mediated communication, in my opinion, positively and profoundly affects the intercultural skills of people.”
Yousof also said that he has personally experienced conflict and tensions due to intercultural understandings while working as a senior coordinator for eight years with an intercultural organization based in the United States and 13 other countries in the Middle East.
His job with the organization was to help bridge the cultural gap between the two regions.
He said his personal experiences such as that job have taught him the importance of intercultural communication.
Additionally, Yousof was born in Belgium, lived in the Middle East, and studies in the U.S.
After he finishes his doctoral degree, Yousof said he wants to continue teaching at the university level with a focus on game studies and the development of interactive games for educational and training purposes.
“I can confidently advise students that they have to link their classes…to real life,” Yousof said.
“Their role during any course is to find this sort of connection – otherwise the course is useless.
“Also, they need to develop their own professional code of ethics and be an advocate to those codes in order to survive the challenges they will face after graduation; especially in the field of communications and media.”