Guest Lecture on Playful Learning to Playful Making by Alex Games

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Playful Learning to Playful Making: How Digital Play Technologies Will Transform Learning and Society

Alex Games, Design Director for Education, Microsoft StudiosSpeaker: Alex Games, Design Director for Education, Microsoft Studios

9:30 AM, Friday, February 8, 2013
Electrical Engineering Building (EEB), Room 403
University of Washington, Seattle campus


Since the beginning of the 21st century, advances in digital technologies have set the stage for a fundamental transformation of the way we do work, play, and learning. In a world where billions of mobile devices readily give learners the computing power previously only to supercomputers, one of the core changes comes in the form of their ability to move us from passive receptors of information, to active participants and makers of the knowledge and world around us. In this talk I discuss the research and development efforts I have conducted in both academia and industry around the role that play enhanced by digital technologies that bring together gaming, social media, television, performance, and creation can have in shaping the way we learn to incorporate more situated, embodied, and critical ways of thinking. I discuss how the studies I have conducted with these technologies shed light on the psychological, motivational, and sociological implications of digital playful learning for people of all ages, and their successful engagement with challenging subject areas such as literacy, science, technology, engineering and math.

About the Speaker

Dr. Alex Games is Design Director for Education at Microsoft Studios. In this role, over the last two years he has led the Playful Learning initiative, a cutting edge program of research and development focused on creating innovative learning experiences blending play and educational content for Xbox 360, Kinect, and Windows 8. He is credited in critically acclaimed titles such as Kinect Sesame Street TV, Kinect National Geographic TV, Double Fine Happy Action Theater, and Kodu Gamelab Mars Edition. Previous to that he was faculty at the Michigan State University, studying the intersection between the epistemic frame of game designers and youth's STEM learning using Gamestar Mechanic, a game about making games developed for the Macarthur Foundation. His research has been featured in journals such as ACM Computers in Entertainment, Learning, Media and Technology, E-Learning, and Games and Culture Journal.