2018 Abstracts

Ahmed Hossam, Gamification Consultant, Gamfed/Gampact
Learning Experience Journey Using Gamification & Serious Games

For the past 20 years Serious Games have been one of the most successful strategies to create an impact, and since 2011 Gamification has been one of the most successful strategies to increase Learning Engagement.
In this session we will learn how to combine both strategies into 1 framework to design a complete Learning Experience Journey, that would be fun, engaging and with measurable ROI.

Alvaro Uribe Quevado, Assistant Professor, University of Ontario Institute of Technology
Custom-made User Input Devices in Serious Game Design

Interactions in games play an important role in gaming experiences. With regards to digital games, common user input devices employ keyboards, mice, gamepads, and most recently, touch screens and inertial measurement units. However, serious games can require unique forms of interaction depending on their goal towards developing cognitive and psychomotor skills, in which case, custom-made interfaces are needed. In this session, I will discuss the role of maker spaces (e.g., 3D printing, open electronics) in serious game design.

Alex Fernandez, Bak USA
& Victoria Van Voorrhis, 2nd Ave Learning
Augmented Reality: Learning Tools for K12 Created Through Collaboration

An overview of how a hardware and software company joined forces to create engaging learning resources incorporating emerging technology. We will share the collaborative development approach along with PILOT/BETA and go to market strategy. We will highlight the process, the hurdles, and the benefits of this unique approach to learning games.

Amanda Seccia, Manager, Neurocognition Science Laboratory, University at Buffalo
The Psychology Behind Serious Games

Research shows serious games positively impact children’s abilities to learn complex material. Human psychological functioning is a key to making this style of learning especially beneficial. Engagement with game play also has positive, lasting effects on psychological well-being such as promoting the ability to think critically and facilitate learning in an enjoyable manner. This presentation will explain the how learning occurs via game play and offer suggestions on how teachers and parents can capitalize on these effects to best benefit the intellectual development of children.

Amber Muenzenberger, Director of Learning, Triseum
I Can Really Get College Credit for Playing Games?

Texas A&M University has made games the center of the learning experience – the games themselves are the courses, rather than curriculum extensions. We will explore game-based courses in Art History and Calculus, how Texas A&M secured full college credit approval, how the aspects of the games transferred to the syllabi, and how students are performing. Learn why game-based courses offer alternatives to traditional classes, speeding time to graduation and reducing the cost of education.

Anastasia Goodstein, Senior VP of Digital Innovation, The Ad Council
Game On: What We Learned from Launching Our First Location-Based Game

A lively case study and conversation about the advantages and challenges of creating a geo-location based “serious game.” As a way to extend its Love Has No Labels PSA campaign, the Ad Council launched its first geo-location game at PAX West this past fall with the goal of engaging gamers around issues of unconscious bias, diversity and inclusion. Goodstein will share key learnings and insights from the experience.

Andrew Hughes, President, Designing Digitally
Serious Game Secrets – Best Practices for Company Games

Everyone is working to make the best serious game that will enhance the learning objectives and retain learning. The biggest setbacks for some of these serious games and gamified learning experiences have been little-to-no planning, tough to pinpoint metrics, little-to-no implementation strategy, and insufficient or nonexistent post-deployment support. Serious Games are living, breathing, evolving things, unlike our e-learning modules we put on the shelf. This session will talk about planning, developing, implementing, and supporting serious games for companies that have never gone down the route of serious games and gamified learning experiences.

Angela Robert, Conquor Experience
& Eric Bauman, Adtalem Global Education
& James Kiggens, Adtalem Global Education
Virtual Simulations for Nursing Training


Andy Cargile, Senior Director of User Experience, SMART Technologies
Bringing Gaming into Classrooms at Scale

This session will explore the complexity of implementing game-based learning pedagogies in classroom environments. Delivering research on current tools and techniques being used in classrooms in North America, the session will discuss the best practices to help engage students, support teachers and explore strategies with software to help with this transition.

Ann DeMarle, Associate Dean, Director of Emergent Media Center, Champlain College, VT
ALT-Classroom: Building a Dev Studio Inside Academia for Student and Partner Success

Much of education delivery is through formal coursework; pre-set learning objectives, and grading systems but what happens when that model is flipped and students possess the expertise? Recently celebrating its 10th anniversary, Champlain College’s Emergent Media Center is a fearless learning community designing dynamic processes and tools. In its interdisciplinary studio, students work alongside partners including IBM, Ford, and the United Nations developing games, apps, VR, and blended media solutions to complex issues. For the client this has meant successful, innovative approaches. For the students this has meant 95% persistence to graduation and career placement in 6 months of graduation.

Avery Rueb, Chief Operating Officer, Affordance Studio
Designing and Selling Conversation Games for the Language Learning Classroom

Multi-player games like Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes, Heads Up as well as Spaceteam motivate players to speak together to solve a common problem like deactivating a bomb or flying a spaceship! They can also help language learners overcome foreign language anxiety and develop conversation skills. In this workshop, you’ll learn about the research and practice for using conversational games in the second language classroom. You’ll also learn about the business of selling a conversation game through a case-study of a game currently in 500 schools in Quebec.

Bette Gardner, Founder, CEO, Breakthrough Learning, Makers of Friday Night at the ER
Rx for Organizational Performance: Using a Tabletop Game to Teach Cross-Function Collaboration

In the 1990s, healthcare consultant Bette Gardner became an accidental game developer when she designed a board game to help a California hospital with overcrowding in its emergency room. The game taught management that patient flow from the ER ” and the hospital’s overall performance ” would improve only if all the hospital departments were more effective at high level collaboration. Today, Friday Night at the ER is used by 1,000+ organizations in 40 countries to teach people to team, innovate and use data more effectively.

Join Bette and co-presenter Jeff Heil for a look into the original problem Bette sought to solve, how she designed the game, and lessons they’ve learned in marketing the game to healthcare, education and corporate clients.

Bill Culbertson, Associate Professor, New England Institute of Technology & Owner of Whooplah, LLC
Cooperative Game Development Projects Between Industry and Education

Our University’s Video Game degree program often hosts individuals, companies or organizations to work with our faculty and students to help them create and develop video games or simulations. These “special projects” involve the students as the main work-horses for developing the project. Students gain valuable experience working on real-world projects for real clients. The clients hopefully get a product that will help them to reach their project goals. We will look at the what the client expectations should be, legal agreements and how they might help to optimize the experience for both the students and themselves.

Bill Kapralos, Associate Professor, University of Ontario Institute of Technology
Embracing The Future Of Serious Gaming and Immersive Technologies In Medical Education

Recent technological advances have given rise to a variety of consumer-level immersive technologies including virtual and augmented reality headsets such as the HTC VIVE that provide the opportunity to develop highly interactive and immersive serious games and virtual simulations. In this presentation a discussion of immersive technologies and their application in serious games and virtual simulations for medical education and training will be provided.

Bradley Tanner, MD, HealthImpact.studio
Engaging Tomorrows Learners with Impact Focused Virtual Reality Games

Headset based immersive virtual reality technology offers a powerful opportunity to engage and motivate adolescents and emerging adults in game experiences that impact skills and decision-making.

Brenda Sherry, Upper Grand District School Board
The Power of Play – How the Learning Sciences Support Innovation

Innovative learning environments are essential in order to serve the students of today and tomorrow and to support equity, well-being and achievement. This session will explore some of the lessons Ontario educators are learning: the fundamental role of exploration, play and inquiry in learning in face-to-face and virtual spaces, how a focus on deeper learning fosters the development of global competencies, and what we know about professional learning models that have been most effective to help educators deepen their practice.

Dr. Bron Stuckey; Global Consultant Specialist in Game Play, Game Inspired Learning, Communities of Practice and Learning Communities; Innovative Educational Ideas
Making an Impact with Gameful Practices: A Few of the Best Examples I’ve Seen

Learn how play in our classrooms motivates learners to create new visions for their role in world. Explore how Self-Determination Theory becomes a force for good in K-12 play based learning. While games will be showcased, the heroes are the teachers whose pedagogy and creativity give context, authenticity, agency and opportunity for real world impact. This about moving beyond learning about the world to learning to have impact on it and turning engagement into civic efficacy and career opportunity.

Chitra Sarmma, Organisations & Alternatives, Partner – Culture, Leadership and Organisation Development
Using Traditional Games for Organizational Culture Building

From diagnosis to sustained change, how can we adapt traditional games to make Organizational Culture Change an immersive-effective experience?
This presentation chronicles successful, real experiences of systematic application of traditional games for collaborative co-creation of change in an organization’s existing work culture; influencing key shifts towards behaviors essential to the organisation’s desired culture; enabling a whole-system transformative experience for the members.

Using insightful, practical case-examples, the session covers techniques-processes associated with leveraging traditional games to impact organisation culture.

Dan White, CEO, Filament Games
How VR Changes Learning

In this session, Filament Games CEO Dan White will discuss the potential of Virtual Reality (VR) to facilitate interactive, inquiry-based learning. Through the lens of Filament’s VR research, development, and ongoing dialogue with leading VR manufacturers like HTC, Oculus and Google, White will demonstrate how VR can engage users in authentic learning through identity, embodiment, and immersion. Audience members will learn how the technological capabilities of VR can be applied to schools’ and libraries’ educational missions, delivering transformative experiences that create lasting results.

David Deeds, DIrector of Information and Learning Technologies, Schutz American School
Don’t Tell Your Mom You’re Playing Games: Using ILEs in K-12

Pundits have been writing obituaries for Immersive Learning Environments (ILEs) for years now, but they’re still being used in education. In fact, the additional (sorry, can’t resist) dimension of Virtual Reality (VR) just might guarantee their comeback, and in ways even bigger and better than before. This session will start with some definitions and distinctions (e.g., between ILEs and VIrtual Learning Environments or VLEs), then proceed to an overview the hows, whys and whens of the ILEs that have been used most in education. There’ll be lots of boring stuff about pedagogy and stuff, of course, but the prez will conclude with some possibilities for ILE-in-education usage for the future.

Dennis Glenn, Dennis Glenn LLC
Collaborative Techniques to Design and Market 3D Virtual Healthcare Simulations

Virtual 3D simulations are difficult enough to design and create by a single vendor. The advent of virtual and augmented reality now requires the expertise of advanced skills that most institutions find expensive and extremely difficult to implement. This session will address the integration of Virtual Skills outside vendors to successfully and profitably provide the latest tools and techniques to your project.

Learning Objectives:
1. Finding project-based virtual skills partners
2. Creating a business model that compliments each partner
3. Management techniques to ensure project cohesiveness

Dina Markowitz, University of Rochester, Professor of Environmental Medicine
NIH Funding Opportunities for STEM Education: SEPA, SBIR, and STTR Grants

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) awards several types of grants for pre-kindergarten to grade 12 STEM education projects. Learn about NIH Science Education Partnership Awards (SEPA), NIH Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grants, and NIH Small Business Technology Transfer Research (STTR) grants.

Dmitriy Babichenko, Prof, Univ of Pittsburgh
& Lorin Grieve, PharmD, Instructor, School of Pharmacy, Univ of Pittsburgh
& Ravi Patel, PharmD, Lead Innovation Advisor, Univ of Pittsburgh
Alchemy Knights: Mapping Game Design to Transformational Outcomes

AlchemyKnights is a transformational game designed to teach adolescents and teens about the dangers of over-the-counter medication misuse. In this session we will discuss design strategies for transformational games, mapping design features to transformational outcomes, and using an iterative develop-playtest-fix approach to evaluate and measure the transformational effect.

Douglas Whatley, CEO, BreakAway, Ltd.
What is a Game Designer (And Why Do You Need One)?

What does a game designer really do. And, more importantly, how do they make the products better. How does a designer contribute and what how do you work with them to solve your problem.

Douglas Whatley, CEO, BreakAway, Ltd.
Creating Games for Corporate Training

Games and game-based simulations have been used in corporate training for many years. More recently, the corporate world has been turning to games to meet their skills assessment, continuing competency, and professional credentialing needs. This presentation will discuss the design and use of several game-based applications targeting onboarding, marketing, sales and other corporate training needs.

Dov Jacobson, CEO, Games that Work
Learning with Boeing: A 100-year-old Corporation Makes its First Game

When a powerful manufacturer works with a nimble game studio, they each can learn a lot. Hopefully, they learn how to work together.

What might that look like for the game maker?

First, you listen:
– What are they asking for?
– What do they really want?

Then you pitch. If you pitch a game, you must communicate its value –

What makes a game different from other kinds of learning?
What’s the difference between a game and a gamification?
The game costs a whole lot more! …Is it worth it?
Once you sign an agreement, you must maintain agreement.

How do you ideate together? How do you decide?
How do you support the training professionals, not threaten them?
How do you test your game on their users?
The hardest part comes at the end:

How can you facilitate deployment?
When are you done?

Eduard Babulak, Professor Panelist Expert in Computer Science and Cyber Security, National Science Foundation
Role of Computer Emergency Response Teams (CERTs) in the Future Cyberspace and Cyber Security

The subject of Cyber Security and CERTs is directly related to field of Computer Engineering and Science, as well as, Information Technology and Business. The research proposal will promote foundation for the new curriculum in the subject of Cyber Security and Informatics, as wells as, promote close research collaborative links with the universities overseas.

Ellis Bartholomeus, Game alchemist, Ellis in wonderland
Would You Wish to Become Old and Happy?

From 2005 to 2010 we developped a puzzle platform for elderly to bridge the technologgy gap plus cope with loneliness, with these and other learnings i have also introduced games as tools in elderly homes, to create bonding and togetherness, for the care people plus families. How play can make a patient feel more autonomous where the feeling of being helpless is experienced mainly, how play can empower and connect. Plus lastly my personal experience with my own mother, before she was diagnosed with Alzheimers and how we maintain a playful lifestyle together with this always new obstacles providing disease. The learnings: how we can create adaptive play and the important role of user testings in development…

Eric Bauman, Assistant Dean, Adtalem Global Education
& Lisa Buckley, Simulation Manager, Ross University School of Medicine
& Dan White, CEO, Filament Games

Embedded Subject Matter Expertise in Game Development Processes in Healthcare

This session will discuss best practices in game-design for clinical education in the health sciences. The session will be facilitated by award winning educators and games designers and will walk session participants’ through best practices in pedagogical and design processes for game development that supports healthcare education. This session will frame content via a case study related to a recent game-development process for CPR education and will encourage active participation discussion.

Gabrielle Trépanier-Jobin, UQAM (Université du Québec à Montréal)
Using Serious Games and Gamification Techniques In Higher Education

This talk will provide an overview of the challenges faced when using serious games and gamification techniques in a university classroom. Drawing on the successes and failures of a four-year trial and error period, this talk will argue in favor of affordable paper games, cooperative multiplayer online games and applications for smartphones that can be used for educational purpose. It will also make a case for open-source game templates that university professors can fill with their own curricular content.

Hanadi Chehabeddine, Public Speaker, Hanadi sbc
Muslim Kids Representation in the Classroom

Named “World-Class Peacekeeper” by the Star Tribune, Hanadi is a public speaker and media professional. She is a Human Rights Award recipient from the city of Eden Prairie city for her efforts in dismantling misconceptions about Islam and building bridges of unity.
She has been featured in the Star Tribune for her community building projects and had been published The Washington Times, the Huffington Post, The Star Tribune, MinnPost, The Guthrie Theater, the Minneapolis Institute of Art and recently Cosmopolitan magazine and Pantsuit Nation book. Hanadi is also a U.S. State Department international speaker and a TEDx speaker.

Hanadi is currently pursuing a Master’s degree in International Leadership at St Thomas University while changing perceptions in the corporate world as a keynote speaker and diversity trainer on inclusion. Her recent session at the National SHRM Diversity and Inclusion Conference and Exposition on demystifying Islam and Muslims attests to her caliber and outspokenness.

Jaehee Cho, Creative Director, Stitchbridge
Examining the Holocaust through Interactive Storytelling and Virtual Reality

How do you teach using interactive storytelling? How can the classroom use virtual reality effectively? How do you make these experiences and where do you start? These are some questions that Prof. Ralph Vituccio and Jaehee Cho will cover as they talk about their experience creating a multimedia room for Carnegie Mellon University, and developing the content within it, starting with its inaugural experience about the Holocaust.

James Kiggens, Director, Engaged Learning Technology, Adtalem Global Education
Leveraging the Uplift in VR to Enhance Game-based Learning

The session will examine the research results showing how immersion in VR creates an ‘engagement uplift’ that can significantly improve flow and foster empathy, and how that can be leveraged to enhance game-based learning. Commercially available VR titles for Oculus Touch and GearVR will be used to demonstrate work being done by researchers, developers, and practitioners that attendees can investigate first-hand.

Jane Ji, President, Springbay Studio Ltd.
Games That Can Have Social Impact

Passion should be what drives the creativity behind our games. When you deal with subject matter that rarely would become a theme for a game expected to be a commercial success, you need passion and perseverance to make games that have social impact.

Our genuine concern about biodiversity and ecosystems inspired us to create innovative game mechanisms that fit well with the nature of the content we would need to create iBiome, a game series that teaches kids about environmental science.

Worried about the future of our children, two concerned moms decided to fight back with educational games that they believe will engage kids in environmental stewardship. With none partnership and less than $2000 of marketing budget to start with, we went through a path that has led us to where we are today: awards, iTunes store features and two games in the series. Find out how far we are from success after four abandoned prototypes, countless failure to sell to k-12 schools and struggle to raise funds.

Jeff Meador, COO, Portico
XR Training Best Practices

This talk serves as a getting started guide for organizations looking to implement XR training in the workplace. We’ll cover a series of best practices and how you can make informed decisions about these new methods for training and skills development. Topics include finding the right use case, defining appropriate metrics and goals, understanding the various technologies available to use in XR training, and how to structure training content for better learning in XR.

Jennifer McNamara, Vice President of Serious Games, BreakAway Games
Client-Centered Serious Game Design

Serious game developers must consider client needs and constraints. To most, it is obvious that the end users’ desired training, behavior change, assessment, or experience outcomes shape the focus of the game. But the client organization’s funding, IT infrastructure, data needs, and personnel impact design as much, if not more, than end users’ needs. This session will share experiences where these factors significantly impacted game design and make recommendations for identifying and addressing these needs early in the design process.

Jesse Hartloff, Computer Science and Engineering, SUNY – University at Buffalo
Using Game Elements to Teach Computer Science


Jesse Jacobson, CEO, Games That Work
Learning with Boeing: A 100-year-old Corporation makes its First Game

When a powerful manufacturer works with a nimble game studio, they each can learn a lot. Hopefully, they learn how to work together.

What might that look like for the game maker?
First, you listen – What are they asking for? What do they really want?

Then you pitch. If you pitch a game, you must communicate its value –
What makes a game different from other kinds of learning?
What’s the difference between a game and a gamification?
The game costs a whole lot more! …Is it worth it?

Once you sign an agreement, you must maintain agreement.
How do you ideate together? How do you decide?
How do you support the training professionals, not threaten them?
How do you test your game on their users?

The hardest part comes at the end:
How can you facilitate deployment?
When are you done?

John Fallon, English Teacher, Fairfield Country Day School
Learning Lies: Using Her Story to Develop Skeptical Students

Fiction lies to tell the truth, and unreliable narrators may be the best epistemological tool of all. But, Sam Barlow’s 2015 game “Her Story” allows students to directly duel with one. A fragmented narrative is challenge enough, but the game’s multimedia delivery adds an essential visual analytical challenge that the Youtube generation needs in an era of “fake news”. This session’s project that has been taught by an experienced GBL teacher and will guide attendees from inception to reflection.

John Futscher, CCO Virtuosity, Buffalo Game Space
Game Design as a Tool for Teen & Adult Education


John Kolm, CEO, Team Results USA
Serious Gaming is Not Just About Computers and Screens

The ideas of serious gaming and computer science have become conflated. The core concepts have become confused with the delivery platform. Serious Gaming is a bigger and more powerful subject than just computers, covering everything from the training of surgeons to CEOs to special forces. John Kolm is a former NSA mathematician and a gaming specialist. You will emerge from this session with a much broader grasp of the possibilities for Serious Gaming as a tool in industry and government.

Jonathan Estes, CEO, Smart Game Systems, Inc.
Building Game Culture for Behavior Change and Innovation

Traditional training approaches to behavior change and innovation are proving inadequate given the scale and speed technology and risks are increasing. New thinking and tools are needed to increase resiliency, adaptability, and continuity of the learning. The solution: building a game culture. A game culture has the potential to shift thinking at a deeper level about how choices and behaviors impact the organization as a whole: improve performance outcomes, facilitate innovations, and better decision-making in the short- and long-term.

Joshua Jordan, Teacher, North Forney High School
Evaluating Games and Applications for English Language Learners

I will describe the practical classroom limitations and benefits of the various video games, board games, and software applications I have used in my high school English language learning classroom over the past three to four years, from Duolingo to Rosetta Stone to Scattergories and beyond. I will summarize the features that increased student engagement the most, and I will briefly highlight a few key elements that game developers should include in order to help teachers use games in the English language learning classroom.

Julio Álvarez Guzman, eHealth Business Development Manager, Virtualware
How Virtual Reality Improves Disease Treatment and Management

Virtual rehabilitation is a concept according to which a rehabilitation therapy is based entirely on simulation exercises through virtual reality technology or it is complemented with them.

The term Virtual Rehabilitation was coined in 2002 by Professor Daniel Thalmann of EPFL (Switzerland) and Professor Grigore Burdea of Rutgers University (USA). In the opinion of these experts, the term applies to both physical therapy and cognitive interventions. Since 2008, the “community” of virtual rehabilitation has been supported by the International Society of Virtual Rehabilitation.

Virtual rehabilitation offers a series of advantages compared to conventional therapeutic methods:

• It is entertaining, which motivates the patient.
• Provides data that objectify the effectiveness of the therapy (limb speed, range of motion, error rates, game scores, etc.);
• Can be performed in the patient’s home and controlled remotely (becoming telerehabilitation)
• The user feels more actively involved

The session includes success cases of medical applications based on virtual reality technology for mental and neurological disorders treatment and management such as Hemianopsia, Psychosis or Multiple Sclerosis.

Jurriaan van Rijswijk, MSc, Founder & Chairman, Games for Health Europe Foundation
It’s Happiness Stupid! – How Games Contribute to the Healthcare Value-Chain

The need for transformation is a global call. We are shifting towards a purpose economy. Ever thought of putting happiness before health profit? The central theme for healthcare will be about the impact it has on peoples’ happiness instead of how many patients are successfully cured. A mayor component of healthcare is about lifestyle interventions. And what better instrument for behaviour change we can use than a game? Yes of course two games 😊. How games can be part of the existing healthcare value and distribution chain will be the topic of this presentation.

Karen Schrier Shaenfield, Asst Professor of Media Arts, Marist College
Digital Games as Empathy Machines


Kevin Hulme, Senior Research Associate, University at Buffalo
Game-based Experiential Learning for Road Vehicle Dynamics Education

The project’s theoretical underpinnings are based on situated learning where new educational material is presented in an authentic context, and social interaction and group collaboration are required for learning to occur. Through a learner-centered approach, students use a physics-based simulation and large-scale visualization presented in a gaming-inspired format to discover the impact that design decisions have on a dynamic system.

Leon Young, Founder/CEO, Cogniss
The Rise of No-Code Platforms and the Democratization of Serious Games

No-code platforms are disrupting how we use game technology to solve pressing challenges.

This session tracks the rise of platforms that combine simple visual app building interfaces with powerful gamification, AR, and VR capabilities, allowing anyone without coding knowledge to become a serious games creator. This democratization not only amplifies the generation of user data, but when paired with deep learning technology, turns these platforms into intelligent, predictive systems with the potential to diagnose learning or health issues.

Lisa Stephens, UB School of Engineering and Applied Sciences
& Timothy Leyh, Executive Director, TCIE, University at Buffalo Center for Industrial Effectiveness
& Armin St. George, Senior Vice President, Crosswater Media
& Miguel Amigot, CEO, lbl Education
Integrating VR into Open edX (MOOC delivery) for Instruction

The University at Buffalo, in partnership with Crosswater Digital Media and IBL Education is piloting MOOC delivery of Virtual Reality through Open edX.  This ground-breaking pilot will test human interaction with content focused on a collaborative robot (cobot) to support advanced manufacturing skill-based education.  Once in production, learners will attend to 2-D content as part of a regular lesson, then interact with a cobot in virtual reality.  A variety of VR headsets are being tested.  In addition to learner competency development, data analytics will be harvested from the VR engine to understand where the learner’s attention is directed, and whether the interaction aligned with the intended course design.

Marc Ruppel, National Endowment for the Humanities
Playing the Past, Seeing the Future: Game Design in the Humanities

This session will explore the role of the humanities– history, literature, philosophy, civics, jurisprudence– in the practice of designing serious games. While serious games have long and storied history (no pun intended) with engaging the humanities, recent humanities-based games such as Assassin’s Creed Origins, 1979 Revolution, Walden, a game, and others have opened up new possibilities for not only reasserting game-based learning in humanities contexts, but also re-evaluating the design paradigms through which these games are made. This session will explore the process of designing games in the humanities, the challenges and affordances of doing so, and the possibilities for developing and producing humanities games through grant funding, including the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Melissa Murfin, Chair and Program Director, Elon University
Wins and Fails in Designing Educational Games for the Classroom

Playing educational games in class is a great option for helping students wrangle the dense material in medical education. The variety of game formats available lends itself well to engaging with the information and improving retrieval practice. Evidence regarding student acceptance of the use of engaged learning techniques based on popular television and board games such as Catch Phrase and Clue will be presented along with the huge successes and epic fails encountered in implementing games in class.

Michael DiPonio, Senior Instructional Technologist – Serious Games Development, Quicken Loans
Serious Games in the Enterprise Learning Ecosystem

At Quicken Loans, we consider games as a major part of our learning process, and we use them in many facets of the company. One of Training’s goals for 2018 is a complete redevelopment of what we refer to as the learning ecosystem, of which serious games is a major pillar. This session will cover the lessons learned as we developed our gamification hub, and cover specifics that range from badges and experience systems to LMS and LRS integration.

Micheal Peters, Director of Interactive Experiences, Crosswater Digital Media
Overcoming the Obstacle Course of Virtual Reality (VR) Content Development

In this session, we will present some of the barriers to the development of high-quality VR content. Specifically, we will discuss how to make the educational or training content you have been thinking about come to virtual life. We will address aspects of the information, skills, and knowledge needed for a high-quality virtual reality production. The discussion will include building an understanding of commonly used terms in the production process; what “it will be easy” really means, and how to meet your expectations instead of running into limitations.

Michelle Goodridge, Liaison Librarian, Game Design and Development, Wilfrid Laurier University
Conversational Gamers: Developing Language Skills and Connections Through Board Games

As the number of international students entering North American universities grows there is an increasing need to develop programs that help with their transition to a new community. International students are not only making the leap from secondary to post-secondary education, they are also entering a new country and culture and may struggle making connections with their domestic peers. This session plans to summarize the research surrounding relationships between international and domestic students and using games for language learning. It will also present a case study on the implementation of a conversation partners program that paired domestic and international students together with board games to not only improve language skills, but to bridge the gap between these two student groups. Research shows that learning through play, including multiple examples of language learners learning through gaming, is a highly successful endeavor. The literature largely focuses on using digital games in the classroom with limited research on using board games or role-play games for a similar purpose. This program was created as a partnership between the Wilfrid Laurier University Library, Laurier International and the Laurier English and Academic Foundation (LEAF) program.

Monica Cornetti, Sententia Games
Preparing your Training Leads to Run Gamification Programs

There’s a lot of buzz around gamification, and plenty of confusion about what it really means to gamify a corporate training or eLearning program. One thing is clear: It’s much more than just adding badges to your training. It’s about finding the right motivators for your audience and promoting the desired actions or skill sets without getting bogged down in meaningless measurements and mechanics.

Real-life programs from organizations such as Brown University, Amazon.com, Wyndham Properties and more, will reveal how and why Gamification works, in what context it is most effective, and what the limits are to this approach of employee engagement in corporate training and talent development.

Use gamification mechanics and motivators to generate needed change and enable your organizations to meet your business objectives. Through hands-on application combined with anecdotal and empirical data, you will experience the good, the bad, and the ugly of gamification strategy design so that you can prepare your training leads to run their own gamification programs.

Morten Jaeger, Workz
Getting Serious Games to Tell the Story You Want

Monopoly is a game about real estate. Yet it doesn’t teach you about real estate. But how do we make a link between game narrative and real-world learning?

When designing serious games, we aim to create an experience in which players spend the most time thinking about the central purpose of the session, and less time getting distracted from it. Choosing game mechanics and narrative is crucial. This session is about making the right choices.

Nancy Fernandez, Director of VR for Education, Crosswater Digital Media
Practical Pedagogy: A Realistic Take on Maximizing VR in the Classroom

This session will take an honest approach to planning, implementing and assessing the use of emerging technology in multiple classroom environments. This interactive session is for those who are curious as to: how VR can be directly linked to academic standards, how VR can be used as a bridge across curriculum silos, how VR can be used for enrichment in after school settings and how VR can be used to build empathy and engagement.

Nate Stone, Third Grade Homeroom Teacher and Founder of Ottercation, LLC, Ottercation
Equity Games: Establishing a Love of Learning in Today’s Students

There will be three facets to this presentation that will all go hand in hand. First, Nate will share the research that promotes the regular use of games in the classroom. Second, Nate will share the practical, step-by-step approach toward running a successful game. Concepts like the pre-talk, bow tie, and clock theory will be covered in a manner that is clear for both educators and those not currently the classroom. Finally, Nate will engage the audience by modeling some of his most popular games, like Trashketball and Dynamite.

Pascal Nataf (CEO) and Kim Berthiaume (Creative Director), Affordance Studio
An Alternative Reality Game to Learn to Use the Tools in Microsoft Office 365

Wouldn’t it be fun to play a game to learn the different Microsoft Office 365 tools? It’s possible! Ants is an alternate reality puzzle game blurring the boundaries between fiction and the real world. Employees have to save their Anthill from catastrophe by solving puzzles as a team using Word documents, encrypted files, Sharepoint sites, Delve profiles, and more. All of the Office 365 tools are in the game! Ants has been developed with National Bank of Canada to support organizational change and encourage cloud-collaboration at a pan-Canadian level. Every week, players develop their Office 365 skills and learn best practices for remote collaboration.

Paul Darvasi, Educator & Game Designer, Royal St. George’s College, York University, Toronto
The Scott Pilgrimage Project: Glocal Culture, Psychogeography, and Gaming the City

The advent and convergence of smart cities, self-driving cars, augmented reality, and the internet of things will soon invite people to have more meaningful interactions with their urban contexts. Games like Pokémon Goand Ingresshave paved the way for a vision of how technology and play can completely transform our civic interactions and take learning outside the classroom.

The Scott Pilgrimageis a bellwether location-based game and city tour designed by Toronto high school students, inspired by the Scott Pilgrim film and graphic novel series. The session will look at the successes and challenges of creating a locative game with high school students, while exploring the theoretical underpinnings of the project and its implications for the future of education, tourism, civics, urban design, and how we engage with our cities.

Paul Darvasi and James Donnelly
Everything is Negotiable: A Corporate Training Game’s Journey to a High School Classroom

Who wouldn’t benefit from becoming a better negotiator? This session will provide a compelling look at how Merchants, a sophisticated corporate training negotiation game, made its way into a high school Business Leadership class. Two high school teachers discovered Merchants by accident and embarked on their own elaborate negotiations to bring down the cost to license the game for classroom use. The story brings together a Canadian school, a Spanish company, an Irish salesman, and Italian Renaissance merchants in a fascinating case study that points to the mutually beneficial possibilities of joining corporate interests with K12 objectives. Participants will experience the game, learn some basic negotiation skills, explore the exciting possibilities for expanding the corporate training market, and you’ll get some great classroom assessment takeaways thrown into the bargain!

Wouldn’t it be fun to play a game to learn the different Microsoft Office 365 tools? It’s possible! Ants is an alternate reality puzzle game blurring the boundaries between fiction and the real world. Employees have to save their Anthill from catastrophe by solving puzzles as a team using Word documents, encrypted files, Sharepoint sites, Delve profiles, and more. All of the Office 365 tools are in the game! Ants has been developed with National Bank of Canada to support organizational change and encourage cloud-collaboration at a pan-Canadian level. Every week, players develop their Office 365 skills and learn best practices for remote collaboration.

Peggy Sheehy, Chief Learning Instigator, EPIC Learners
EXCALIBUR Story and Gaming Academy: The Best Laid Plans…”Gang aft agley”

This session will be a hindsight account of the maiden voyage of the 8th-Grade course, EXCALIBUR (Explore, Create, Analyze, Learn, Iterate, Break, Understand, Redo.) The course was initially designed to address STEAM but also honor real world expectations by including aspects of business acumen, brainstorming, team structure and agile development. Peggy will outline her initial plans and what exactly worked, what didn’t, and what contingencies she neglected to consider. She will conclude with the latest evolution of the Excalibur curriculum, written by her students.

Peter Guenther, Bootcamp Instructor, Torrance Learning
Tracking Player Progress in Serious Games with xAPI

xAPI (The Experience API, also known as TinCan) is picking up momentum in the industry for tracking progress and completion. The xAPI standard has a flexible vocabulary for describing learning events, including specific elements for Serious Games and related (Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality) experiences. In this session, we’ll look at the structure of xAPI statements and delve into the vocabulary, focusing on how it can best be used within Serious Games, and we’ll take a brief look at specific implementation within Unity3D projects through open-source code created by the speaker.

Peter Shea, Director, Office of Professional Development, Middlesex Community College
& Dan Siegel, Full Sail
& Paul Martin, Arizona State
& Bill Kapralos, Assoc Prof, Univ. of Ontario
& Ann DeMarle, Assoc Prof, Champlain College
Serious Games in Higher Education: A View from the Trenches

In this panel discussion, attendees will hear about the current state of immersive learning innovation in higher education from the view of several higher education professionals involved in promoting this work.

Quiana Bradshaw, Course Lead/Adjunct Faculty, Kaplan University
Learning Game Design Characteristics through the study of flow and the Elemental Tetrad in the World of Warcraft & Minecraft

My research focuses on the “Learning Game Design Characteristics through the Study of Flow and the Elemental Tetrad in the World of Warcraft & Minecraft.” This research studies popular commercial game in the context of the Flow model and the Elemental Tetrad Game Design model to identify the characteristics that is important to learning game design. The purpose of my research is to identify the characteristics that are relevant to learning game design from commercial multiuser games that support educational use.

Two models: Elemental Tetrad Model (Schell, 2008) and the Flow Model (Csikszentmihalyi, 2008)

Rajesh Mehta, SBIR/STTR Program, National Science Foundation
Informational Session on NSF Grants


Rajiv Vaid Basaiawmoit, Head of Sci-Tech Innovation and Entrepreneurship, Aarhus University
Teaching for “Disruption Resilience” in a digital age – Can Game-based learning and entrepreneurial principles help?

Can we, and should we, prepare our students to be Disruption-Resilient? i.e. to empower them with enough competency to be unfazed by any “Disruptive Innovation” present or future but to employ entrepreneurial principles of uncertainty navigation and face the future much more positively. To this end can we use knowledge from game based learning and entrepreneurial principles to increase the impact of experiential learning – a learning intervention that is now slowly establishing itself as a norm under pressure from students and policy makers?

Rich Marmura, Senior Gamification Consultant & Caitlin Robie, Senior Solutions Change Management Consultant, TiER1 Performance Solutions
5 Game Design Principles to Ensure Organizational Readiness Through Engagement

We believe that game design techniques increase initial user engagement and sustain long-term motivation. While simulations provide the opportunity to practice skills, gamified experiences encourage people to choose to participate. When rapid change is the norm, engagement ensures people actively learn new skills and behaviors while also maintaining readiness. We’ve distilled five game design principles that increase the engagement of your workforce with your gamified performance solutions to ensure readiness.

Richard Lamb, Associate Professor, University at Buffalo
& Elisabeth Etopio, Assistant Dean for Teacher Education, University at Buffalo

Virtual Environments for Teacher Training and Student Engagement

Richard Lamb will discuss the use of Functional Near Infrared Spectroscopy and Electroencephalography as a means to examine learning in multimedia and virtual reality environments. He will discuss the mechanisms underlying the interplay of perceptual, attentional, and cognitive factors that influence learning using multimedia and virtual reality by diverse populations in formal and informal learning environments. He will discuss his research on the design of next-generation adaptive multimedia and virtual reality-based learning environments and its implications for student learning and teacher training.

Sam Mazzaro, Chief Innovation Officer, Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus (BNMC)
Opportunities and Help for Start-ups


Sandra Urdaneta-Hartmann, Asst. Professor & Director, Center for Business & Program Development
& Mary Ann Comunale (MS, EdD), Drexel University College of Medicine
Mobile Game Design, Development, and Assessment on a “Bootstrap” Budget

Developing digital games is expensive, and usually cost-prohibitive for academic institutions and non-profits.  Our small, interdisciplinary team designed, develop and publish CD4 Hunter™, the first of a series of serious mobile mini-games based on topics commonly taught in microbiology, infectious disease and related disciplines; all on a “bootstrap” budget. This session focuses on how we achieved this, how we are evaluating the game as a learning tool in higher education, and our plans advance our game-based learning initiative.

Scott Price, Director of Product, BrainPOP
& Michael Gi (MKG), Game Designer & Project Mngr, BrainPOP

Lessons from Digitally Scaling a Good Learning Game

BrainPOP and the Institute of Play collaborated on a game-for-learning development process that was near-ideal: teachers worked alongside designers and developers and tested constantly, followed by broad distribution by a respected brand. We’ll share lessons from this case study in collaborative development involving the classroom, including: going from paper to tablets, in-person to multiplayer online; embracing the differences between intended and actual implementation in the classroom; and from a handful of classrooms to millions of users.

Sean Kearney, VP, Human Performance Innovation, TechWise
Getting Serious Games Seriously Funded (or How to Talk to “The Money People”)

Have you ever seen a “breakthrough idea” die on the vine?

Was it one of yours? I’ve been there. More than once. And it sucks!

Every great solution starts with an idea. But even breakthrough ideas never become real solutions that succeed long-term without investments of time and money.

And that means for your idea to become a real solution, you’re going to have to get really good at talking to and influencing “The Money People.”

Sonja Schmer-Galunder, Senior Research Scientist, Smart Information Flow Technologies
Psychology & Storytelling: How Games Can Be Used to Motivate Behavioral Change.

In this session we want to show how games can be used to reach segments of society that engage in unhealthy behaviors, but have no intention to change these behaviors, despite of long-term health consequences. With the integration of a psychological model into game storytelling, we show how game play can be tailored to personal needs, and how understanding individual levels of motivation can improve behavioral change outcomes through game play.

Stephen Baer, Managing Partner and Head of Creative Strategy, The Game Agency
Train Your Brain with Games How Big Pharma is Using Games to Train Employees

Between pharmaceutical sales reps, physicians and patients, big Pharma is proving that they’ve got game. Games inspire, activate and promote training and education, and as a result, they are gaining momentum and are serving as a powerful too for improving the healthcare industry. This session will showcase how today’s biggest pharmaceutical companies (Amgen, Bayer, Lundbeck, Novo Nordisk, Pfizer, Purdue, Merck, etc) are using e-learning and instructor led training games for employee on-boarding, sales training, compliance training, and communication skills. It will also present examples of web and mobile games being used to educate Heathcare professionals and patients.

Stephen Baer is Head of Creative Strategy and Innovation at The Game Agency, a game development studio that has been creating award winning games for the healthcare industry for over 10+ years. Stephen is also the author of a monthly Forbes.com column focused on game-based training solutions.

Stephen Yang, Assistant Professor, SUNY Oswego
Getting Serious(ly) Fit Playing With Apps & ExerGames

With more than 100k health apps and mobile games like Pokemon Go, getting fitter are can be playful and engaging and at the same time increase physical activity. There are numerous fitness gadgets such as FitBit, Nike+ FuelBand, and smartwatches that are extremely popular tools aiming to keep us healthy. With seven in ten people tracking a health indicator for themselves, there is a need to have effective fitness apps and games that can contribute to behavior change.

Tammie Schrader, Northeast Washington Education Service District 101, State of Washington
Gamifying a Middle School

This presentation will be discussing how we wrote a three year grant proposal and were funded to implement game based learning and gamification in an entire middle school. We will be discussing the steps and implementation of the project including how we got buy in from teachers and administration as well as data gathering. Finally, we will be discussing scaling the project to our region.

Terrence Gargiulo, MAKINGSTORIES.net
The Importance of Story in Games

Stories are fundamental to how we communicate, learn and think. How do we go beyond the practice of using hero journeys and stories with clean beginning, middles and ends to access another whole dimension of storytelling. Bring your voice to this interactive conversation on how to tap into the natural power of stories in some counter intuitive ways to design, build and facilitate serious games with stories.

Thomas Talbot, USC Institute for Creative Technologies
State of the Living – Medical Games & Lifelike Patients

This seminar discussed tricks of the trade and methods that make patient characters that appear to be living. We will cover methods to achieve biological fidelity, interactivity, graphics and flow with the goal to introduce participants to techniques that deliver the appearance of active biology, a sense of urgency and responsiveness to game choices.

Dr. Tim Dasey, Informatics and Decision Support Group, MIT Lincoln Laboratory
Games for Analysis of Technologies in Human-Intensive Systems

Recognizing what technologies will be useful prior to prototyping is error prone, with resulting higher-than-acceptable developmental rejection rates. MIT Lincoln Laboratory (MIT LL) has been using serious games to aid in technology assessment programs. This approach combines economic game theory with rapid-play, rapidly-developed digital simulations to collect quantitative data, improve qualitative feedback, and crowdsource the ingenuity of human experts.

Tim Laning, CEO, Grendel Games
Designing entertaining and effective education with commercial viability

Challenges in the serious game industry range from developing the right product for a client to a successful implementation & commercialization. Surgical simulators are often found abandoned in skills centres because of lack of challenge and appeal. How can we achieve better results with residents by learning from the entertainment game industry, and create appealing services with a return on investment for both the client and the developer? Tim shares the results of 10 years of work in this field.

Tobi Saulnier, 1st Playable
Cognitive Bias and Game Design

Distrust your intuition! The principles popularized by Kahneman’s “Thinking, Fast and Slow” apply to game designers as much as anyone. What to look out for and how to mitigate the effect of these pervasive biases.

Victoria Van Voorhis, Chief Executive Officer, Second Avenue Learning
Ms. Pacman and Lara Croft: Getting Beyond #GamerGate and #Metoo

Serious games frequently draw on the lessons learned in the entertainment game space; we look at game mechanics, motivational schema and aesthetics. Is it now time for the entertainment game industry to take a page out of the serious game book? Serious game companies focus on creating content and technology that supports users of diverse backgrounds and needs. However, designing inclusive games is not a focus for the entertainment industry. This presentation will explore what lessons serious game creators have to share with the entertainment games sector. We will explore what questions to ask during the design phases to include without alienating or patronizing. We will also discuss the characteristics of the workforce required to build games which are inclusive, as games often reflect the teams that build them.