Conference: Keynote speakers for Meaningful Play 2012

The first three keynote speakers for Meaningful Play 2012 (, taking place October 18-20, 2012 in East Lansing, MI, have been announced. Details below.

Serious games, including games for learning, are among the core strands of Meaningful Play 2012, a conference about theory, research, and game design innovations, principles and practices. Meaningful Play brings scholars and industry professionals together to understand and improve upon games to entertain, inform, educate, and persuade in meaningful ways.

The conference will include thought-provoking keynotes from leaders in academia and industry, peer-reviewed paper presentations, panel sessions (including academic and industry panels), innovative workshops, roundtable discussions, and exhibitions of games and prototypes.

Presentation AND game submissions are due July 16, 2012. Complete details on the conference are available at:

Keynote Speakers:

—>Phaedra Boinodiris, Serious Games Program Manager, IBM

As producer of IBM’s award-winning INNOV8 series of serious games, Phaedra Boinodiris is responsible for IBM’s broader serious games strategy, leading their global effort of leveraging serious games to provide greater agility for businesses and organizations in an increasingly complex environment. Boinodiris’ INNOV8 games are being used in over 1000 schools worldwide to teach students the fundamentals of business optimization and her first Smarter Planet game, CityOne, is the #1 web-based lead generating asset for IBM’s largest brand. Boinodiris was honored by Women in Games International as one of the top 100 women in the games industry. Prior to working at IBM, she co-founded WomenGamers.Com, a popular women’s gaming portal where she subsequently started the first scholarship for women to pursue degrees in game design and development in the US.

—>Donald Brinkman, Manager of Digital Humanities, Digital Heritage, and Games for Learning Microsoft Research

Donald Brinkman manages external programs in digital humanities, digital heritage and games for learning at Microsoft Research. Donald supports the Games for Learning Institute, a consortium of 8 universities, 14 principal investigators, and a small army of graduate students whose mission is to explore what makes games fun, what makes them educational, and how to best blend the two goals. He is the Microsoft champion for the Just Press Play project, an experiment to transform the undergraduate education of 750 students at Rochester Institute of Technology into a gameful narrative. Other projects include Project Garibaldi and Game Show NYC.

Before joining MSR, Donald served for two years as a technical program manager for the Microsoft education group. In that role he was responsible for defining vision of innovative business intelligence and analytics for education as well as driving a variety of enterprise-scale server capabilities. Prior to joining Microsoft he spent eight years in developmental and technical roles acquiring and executing government research contracts in areas such as quantum computation; signals intelligence; electromagnetic and kinetic simulations; behavioral economics; game theory; and cross-cultural communications. Donald is a writer, painter, game designer, and a passionate advocate of the benefits of building bridges between technical and humanist disciplines. He is particularly interested in disruptive technologies that leverage crowdsourcing, social computing, culture jamming, transmedia, and other non-traditional approaches.

—>Kurt Squire, Associate Professor, University of Wisconsin–Madison

Kurt Squire is an associate professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in the Educational Communications and Technology division of Curriculum and Instruction and Associate Director for Educational Research and Development at the Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery. Squire’s research investigates the design of game-based learning environments from a socio-cultural perspective, and he’s the author of over 75 scholarly works. Recently Squire received an NSF CAREER grant to study scientific citizenship through playing Citizen Science, a role playing game for scientific citizenship. With support from the MacArthur Foundation, Squire also produced ARIS, a mobile learning platform that is currently available on iTunes. Squire is a former Montessori and primary school teacher and was co-director of the Education Arcade. Squire is the vice president and a founding member of the Learning Games Network.

Squire earned his doctorate in Instructional Systems Technology from Indiana University; his dissertation research examined students’ learning through a game-based learning program he designed around Civilization III. Squire co-founded with Jon Goodwin and wrote a monthly column with Henry Jenkins for Computer Games Magazine. In addition to writing over 75 scholarly articles and book chapters, he has given dozens of talks and invited addresses in North America, Europe, and Asia. Squire’s current research interests center on the impact of contemporary gaming practices on learning, schooling and society.

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