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Wednesday, August 1


Research Paper Panel: Teched Out Libraries, Digital Parenting Inequities and Learning Badges
Technology Use in Rural and Urban Public Libraries: Implications for Connected Learning in Youth Programming
Katie Davis, Mega Subramaniam, Emily L. Romeijn-Stout

Public libraries represent fertile ground for promoting connected learning. However, there is great variation in public library systems across the United States, with important implications for the way connected learning is introduced and implemented in specific libraries. This paper examines variations in the way librarians in rural and urban libraries employ technology and enact connected learning in their youth programs. We conducted interviews with 46 youth librarians working in rural (22) and urban (24) public libraries across the US. Our analysis revealed differences between rural and urban libraries in the range of their community partnerships; the roles that librarians and youth assume in designing, leading, and evaluating youth programs; and sources of external support. We discuss the implications of these findings for designing professional development initiatives that are tailored to the distinct contexts in which public youth librarians work.

Reproducing digital inequality: wealthy and poor parents’ approaches to parenting in a digital age
Sonia Livingstone

In this paper we examine how parents’ access to resources – financial but also related resources including cultural and social capital – influence how they approach digital media in their own and their children’s lives. We detail two case study families, the Apaus (a low-income Ghanaian-British family) and the Thiebaults (a high-income French family living in London). Both families have sons who are learning to code, but how they pursue this interest and how they are supported by their parents illustrate how parental access to resources influences connected learning experiences. Contra the theories of Annette Lareau, we show how both families are actively turning to digital media to ‘cultivate’ their son’s interests, at great costs relative to their very different resources, but that this cultivation may well be unequally converted into opportunities in the future.

Using Digital Badges to Promote Student Agency and Identity in Science Learning
 Katie Davis

We investigate the potential for digital badges to support youth agency and identity in an afterschool science program serving diverse high school students. We conducted contextual interviews with 36 students aged 14-19 participating in the program, inviting them to interact with a badge system prototype designed to help them track their progress through the program. Students recognized the potential for badges to provide visible learning pathways, connect learning across contexts, and establish the credibility of the skills they acquired in the program. They also raised challenges associated with sharing their badges with external audiences, such as the challenge of demonstrating the value of a badge and privacy concerns. This paper demonstrates how the design of a digital badge platform can successfully embody supports not only for student agency and identity in science learning, but also greater equity in and access to future learning and career opportunities.

avatar for Katie Davis

Katie Davis

Assistant Professor, University of Washington
Dr. Katie Davis is an Assistant Professor at The University of Washington Information School, where she studies the role of digital media technologies in adolescents’ academic, social, and moral lives. She also serves as an Advisory Board Member for MTV’s digital abuse campaign... Read More →

Sonia Livingstone

Professor, Department of Media and Communications, London School of Economics and Political
Sonia Livingstone is a full professor in the Department of Media and Communications at LSE. She is author or editor of eighteen books, including Children and the Internet: Great Expectations, Challenging Realities (Polity 2009), Harm and Offence in Media Content: A review of the empirical... Read More →

Emily Romeijn-Stout

PhD Student, University of Washington iSchool
avatar for Mega Subramaniam

Mega Subramaniam

Associate Professor, College of Information Studies, University of Maryland
Mega M Subramaniam, Ph.D., is an Associate Professor and Associate Director of Information Policy and Access Center in the College of Information Studies at the University of Maryland. Dr. Subramaniam’s innovative research focusses on the use of school and public libraries as effective... Read More →

Wednesday August 1, 2018 11:00am - 12:00pm
MIT Tang Center, E51-145 - Lecture Hall, Building E51 2 Amherst St, Cambridge, MA 02142, USA


Research Paper Panel: Web Annotation and Exemplary Connected Learning in Saudi Arabia and India
The Connected Learning Framework: Exemplified by Saudi Arabian educators via Twitter
Melissa Vervinck

The Connected Learning framework can be used to observe and analyze participant’s learning over time and in a variety of spaces. This framework has typically been applied to youth and not to adult learners, but learning does not stop at any particular age. This paper argues that Connected Learning can be repurposed so that it applies to adult learners. One group of educators who exemplify being connected learners are from Saudi Arabia. Through analysis of the technological trail of posts on Twitter this paper demonstrated how they are colleague-supported, inquiry-driven and improvement-oriented; the three spheres of learning as suggested by Eidman-Aadahl for adults. These spheres of learning are ones all educators must embody in order to prepare themselves and their students to achieve personal and career goals in the 21st century.

Developing a blended course for in-service science teachers in India and its reception by the teachers
Prayas Sutar, Latha K

‘Interactive Science Teaching’ is a blended practice based course for in-service high school teachers offered as part of a large scale field action project called ‘Connected Learning Initiative’ (CLIx: https://clix.tiss.edu). The course is offered to science teachers from government teachers from four states: Chhattisgarh, Mizoram, Rajasthan and Telangana. A total of 712 teachers registered for the course. Here we will report the process of developing the course and its reception by the teachers. Our main observations are: teachers did not engage with the online part of the course (which was to be covered during the distance period) mainly because of lack of time and difficulty in accessing digital material. The module (blended pedagogic material) implementation part was better received. Finally, we will document some of the revisions we are planning to undertake after the experience of the first run of the course.

Open Web Annotation as Connected Conversation in CSCL
Francisco Perez, Remi Kalir

Research has yet to explore how the social and technical affordances of open web annotation (OWA) can mediate connections between educators in service of their professional learning. This study examined educator participation in the Marginal Syllabus, a computer supported collaborative learning environment that encouraged connected conversation via OWA. Multiple quantitative methods, including text sentiment and social network analyses, were used to discern key discursive characteristics among the nine conversations of the 2016-17 Marginal Syllabus (1,163 annotations authored by 67 educators). Key discursive characteristics include: (a) generally positive sentiment; (b) educators who annotated most prolifically also authored the greatest percentage of annotations with neutral sentiment; and (c) conversations of at least four annotations tended to demonstrate a greater percentage of negative sentiment. The sentiment trends and study limitations are addressed in the final discussion.


Latha K

PhD Scholar, Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai

Remi Kalir

Assistant Professor, CU Denver

francisco perez

PhD student, University of Colorado Denver


Research Associate, Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai
avatar for Melissa Vervinck

Melissa Vervinck

Doctoral Candidate, Central Michigan University
Working with international students and educators is a passion. I stay connected with people from around the globe through social media and enjoy learning how to improve what I do in the classroom while also providing support for others by sharing my own successes and failures... Read More →

Wednesday August 1, 2018 2:00pm - 3:00pm
MIT Tang Center, E51-145 - Lecture Hall, Building E51 2 Amherst St, Cambridge, MA 02142, USA


Research Paper Panel: The State of Maker Ed
Sites of Collision for Arts Education, the Maker Movement, and Neoliberal Agendas in Education
Alisa Reith

In recent years, the concept “making” has been claimed by “The Maker
Movement.” While making offers great potential (and resources) for art integration,
maker discourse is often intertwined with a neoliberal mission. For example,
movement leaders glorify Steve Jobs and hark on the myth that hobbies can be
transformed into wealth-­generating endeavors. As art-­making activities across the
U.S. intersect with the maker movement, prominent learning theories that contradict
this neoliberal philosophy may be repurposed or disremembered. This article
examines research from a multi-­year empirical study. It provides a rich example of
how discourse around making fits into learning in arts education, showcasing
instances when neoliberal ideology collides with contradictory theories regarding how
and why people learn and make.

I Had The Slime Of My Life: No I Never Felt This Way Before
Anna Jordan-Douglass, Jessie Nixon

Since its release in 2010, Ito et. al’s Hanging Out, Messing Around, and Geeking Out framework has been widely used to describe youth digital production from a variety of platforms from Facebook to YouTube. However, the recent influx of slime tutorials demands a new framework that incorporates maker practices, as through video production youth simultaneously make and document making. Our paper lays the groundwork towards a framework which accurately reflects the practices youth engage in while creating and producing slime videos; examines slime creators as a community of practice; and provides insight into the intersection between media production and maker practices.

Is Making all about Tinkering? A Case Study of High School Students’ Activities in Biomaker Workshops
Emma Anderson, Yasmin Kafai

Most research on making has focused on tinkering with tangible and digital materials and processes in STEM disciplines like computing and engineering. Few studies have explored making with living organisms. In biomaking, students design new materials and artifacts by genetically manipulating microorganisms such as yeast and bacteria that require particular conditions for growth and survival. In this study, we examined 34 high school students’ experiences and reflections on making biologos by growing color pigments and making biosensors by creating fluorescent reactions. Through observations of workshop interactions and interviews with focus groups, we found that biomaking primarily engages students with assembly, or step-by-step, processes rather than tinkering with materials. In the discussion we address the potential of assembly practices to promote rich learning experiences not just in biomaking, but also in other maker activities.


Emma Anderson

Scheller Teacher Ed Program
avatar for Anna Jordan-Douglass

Anna Jordan-Douglass

Chief Creative Officer, Makefully
avatar for Yasmin Kafai

Yasmin Kafai

Chair, Teaching Learning & Leadership Division, University of Pennsylvania
Yasmin Kafai is Professor of Learning Sciences at the University of Pennsylvania. She is a researcher, designer, and developer of online communities and tools (ecrafting.org, stitchtfest.org, and scratch.mit.edu) to promote computational participation, crafting, and creativity across K-16. Book publications include Connected Code, Connected Play, The Computer Clubhouse, Textile Messages, and Beyond Barbie and Mortal Kombat. Kafai earned a doctorate from Harvard University while working wit... Read More →
avatar for Jessie Nixon

Jessie Nixon

UW Madison

Wednesday August 1, 2018 3:15pm - 4:15pm
MIT Tang Center, E51-145 - Lecture Hall, Building E51 2 Amherst St, Cambridge, MA 02142, USA


Research Paper Panel: Virtual Learning Design and How Games Portray Empathy and Mental Illness
Learning and Identity in Virtual Learning Environments: Iterative Design and Implementation of Philadelphia Land Science
Mamta Shah, Aroutis Foster, Amanda Barany, Jessica Cellitti, Migela Duka, Zachari Swiecki, Amanda Siebert-Evenstone, Hannah Kinley, Peter Quigley, David Williamson Shaffer

In this study, we developed, implemented, and refined Philadelphia Land Science (PLS), a virtual learning environment (VLE) intended to support high school students' exploration of career roles in environmental science and urban planning as a future possible self. PLS was developed using Projective Reflection which frames learning as identity exploration over time to inform the design of games and game-based learning curricula to facilitate intentional change in learners' knowledge, interest and valuing, self-organization and self-control, and self-perceptions and self-definitions in academic domains/careers. PLS was built by modifying the Epistemic game Land Science. This paper explicates design iterations of PLS that were implemented in a science museum in Philadelphia. This work contributes to the burgeoning area of education research that seeks to unleash the potentials of VLEs to promote learning as an on-going process of identity exploration and change.

Open Questions for Empathy and Games
Karen Schrier, Matthew Farber

This paper provides a systematic overview of research related to empathy and games, including investigations on game elements that have been connected to empathy, such as communication, perspective-taking, and relationship-building. We identify initial questions and current gaps in the research related to using games for empathy, and make recommendations on next steps for this burgeoning field.

Representation of Mental Illness in Video Games
Kelli Dunlap

Portrayals of mental illness appear frequently in video games and have the potential to shape cultural attitudes towards psychopathology for better or for worse. Yet research on such portrayals is practically non-existent. The limited available research focuses almost exclusively on how specific characters fit into film and television mental illness tropes. Representations of mental illness in games are broader than this; for instance, they may include settings (e.g., insane asylums) and specific terminology (e.g., clinical diagnoses). Until now, there has been no framework to help identify and categorize the many game-based representations of psychopathology. This paper puts forth a new framework that does just that in an attempt to address the limitations of previous research and to offer guidance for future game researchers and developers on how to think critically about the representation of mental illness in games.

avatar for Matthew Farber

Matthew Farber

Assistant Professor, University of Northern Colorado
Matthew Farber, Ed.D. is an assistant professor of Technology, Innovation, and Pedagogy at the University of Northern Colorado. He has been invited to the White House, to keynote for UNESCO, and he has been interviewed about games and learning by NPR, Fox News Radio, USA Today, and... Read More →
avatar for Karen Schrier

Karen Schrier

Associate Professor/Director of Games, Marist College
#ethicsgames #gameswithapurpose #gamesforchange #empathyandcompassion #gamedesign #userexperience #playerexperience #edgames #historygames #teachingwithgames #learninggames#knowledgegames https://www.amazon.com/Knowledge-Games-Problems-Education-Technology/dp/1421419203/
avatar for Mamta  Shah

Mamta Shah

Postdoctoral Scholar, Drexel University
Mamta Shah is a postdoctoral scholar of Learning Technologies in the School of Education at Drexel University in Philadelphia, PA. She teaches and conducts research on the theoretical and practical applications of teaching, learning, and assessing with digital environments such as... Read More →

Wednesday August 1, 2018 3:15pm - 4:15pm
Media Lab - Lecture Hall, 6th Floor, Building E14 75 Amherst St, Cambridge, MA 02142, USA
Thursday, August 2


Research Paper Panel: Student Voice, Student Networks and Mentoring Diversity
Reviews Matter: How Distributed Mentoring Predicts Lexical Diversity on Fanfiction.net
John Frens, Ruby Davis, Cecilia Aragon

Online fanfiction repositories attract millions of writers and readers worldwide. The largest repository, Fanfiction.net, accumulated a rich corpus of about 61.5 billion words of fiction over sixteen years, rivaling the Google Books fiction corpus. An important informal learning environment for young writers, the site affords networked giving and receiving of feedback, termed distributed mentoring. To quantify the effect of distributed mentoring on writing, we longitudinally tracked lexical diversity among authors’ fanfiction texts. The Measure of Textual Lexical Diversity (MTLD) captures the author's range of vocabulary usage; previous research has shown MTLD correlates with language ability, writing ability, and human judgments of textual quality. We examined MTLD changes among texts by 1.5 million amateur writers, finding increased scores as they accumulated reviews, even when controlling for fandom and maturation. Our results support the theory of distributed mentoring and legit.

Writing Game Journalism in School: Student Voices on Games and Game Culture
Thorkild Hanghøj, Jonas Nørgaard

In this paper, we explore how students engage in journalistic writing activities relating to video games and game culture. The paper is based on a pilot study with student texts and interviews relating to the development of the online learning resource spiljournalist.dk, which allow Danish secondary students to publish journalistic articles through game reviews, columns and feature stories. The analytical findings indicate that students position themselves as writers through three different voices. The “gamer” students primarily based their articles on their own knowledge and experience as gamers. By contrast, the non-gamer students tended to write more critically about games and game culture from an outsider’s perspective. Finally, a third group of students primarily positioned themselves as journalists.

Networked Inquiry and Performative Knowledge
Magdalena Day

The purpose of this paper is to offer a framework for the analysis of knowledge production in networks of students. The theoretical approach includes sociological developments related to networks (Castells, 2005), combined with philosophy with children and youth's pedagogy (López, 2009); which we apply to educational research. To begin with, we consider inquiry as the starting point of the learning process. This process occurs in a context denominated the “community of inquiry” (Lipman, 2009), that implies technology-enabled relations through connectedness. Therefore, this community is viewed as a network. In this regard, the question is not how a certain device, platform, software or app could change the interaction between students and already defined educational materials, but rather, how students can find problems to be answered creating a different type of knowledge.


Cecilia Aragon

University of Washington
University of Washington - Human Centered Design & Engineering
avatar for Magdalena Day

Magdalena Day

National University of Cuyo

John Frens

Teaching Assistant, University of Washington

Thorkild Hanghøj

Associate Professor, Aalborg University

Thursday August 2, 2018 11:00am - 12:00pm
MIT Tang Center, E51-145 - Lecture Hall, Building E51 2 Amherst St, Cambridge, MA 02142, USA


Research Paper Panel: Coding for Humanistic Studies and Causes
Connected Learning: Exploratory Programming in the Classroom
Angela Chang

Exploratory programming is an open-ended approach to learning how to program. The goal of this approach is to use coding as a tool for humanistic studies. Sixty-six students at a liberal arts college used this approach in a class titled Code, Culture, and Practice, to learn creative coding within a cultural context. In one semester, students learned enough basic programming skills to allow them to independently extend their knowledge. They took advantage of freely available, open-source code and online learning resources to quickly create, modify, and refine surprisingly complex experiences.

Innovations that Help People: A Secondary School Computer Science Curriculu
Florence Sullivan, Ricardo Poza, Carol Cohen, Ali Soken

In this paper, we report preliminary results of our case study analysis of a new computer science (CS) curriculum we have developed. Our curriculum seeks to foster girl’s interest in computer science by appealing to what Diekman et al., (2010) describe as communal goals. In our “Innovations that Help People” curriculum we present real-life problems that require CS (and STEM) skills in order to be solved. Using a problem based learning (PBL) framework, students are presented with practical problems and situations and then are guided through a process of discovery and identification of possible solutions, until a workable solution is achieved. Our curriculum features an ethical component (consequences and benefits of innovation) for students to consider and discuss as part of the “helping” focus. Our research is currently taking place at a small high school in New England, during a science class with 7 student participants. Preliminary results are reported.

avatar for Angela Chang

Angela Chang

Independent researcher, Affiliated with Emerson College, MIT
computational creativity, digital poetry, electronic textiles, rapid prototyping, teachable moments, small group communication

Carol Cohen

Assistant Principal, Walker Beacon School
I'm interested in project based learning in high schools. My research is about making CS accessible for all students, especially girls.
avatar for Ricardo Poza

Ricardo Poza

PhD Student, UMass - Amherst

Ali Soken

UMass Amherst

Florence Sullivan

Associate Professor, UMass, Amherst
Dr. Florence Sullivan is an Associate Professor in the UMass School of Education and her research interests include: cognition and learning with technology and media; design literacy; online communication; and development of digital learning environments.

Thursday August 2, 2018 2:00pm - 3:00pm
MIT Tang Center, E51-372 - Classroom, Building E51 2 Amherst St, Cambridge, MA 02142, USA


Research Paper Panel: Math and Climate Games and Game Intervention
Game-Based Learning with Direct Representation of Mathematics
Sara Atienza, Bryan Matlen, Keith Devlin, Randy Weiner

Symbolic representations in mathematics (e.g., equations) are powerful and essential for more advanced mathematical thinking, but cause major problems for K-8 learners. To engage mathematical reasoning without symbolic representations, BrainQuake has created diagrammatic mathematics puzzle games that provide an alternative, more learner-friendly interface to mathematical thinking and multi-step problem solving. In this working paper, we first outline the design underlying BrainQuake’s puzzle games, and provide preliminary evidence that they can be used effectively in classroom settings. The latter portion of this paper outlines a randomized control study – currently in progress -- examining how BrainQuake’s suite of puzzle games impact students’ mathematics achievement and attitudes. The results of the randomized trial will be presented at the conference.

Exploring how student designers model climate system complexity in computer games
Gillian Puttick, Giovanni Troiano, Eli Tucker-Raymond

We present results from a design-based research project in which 8th grade teachers and students explored climate change by designing computer games using Scratch. We analyzed 174 games based on 1) Systems Complexity and 2) Triadic Game Design (TGD). The analysis of system complexity shows that two-thirds of the students designed systems using one-directional linear connections, while one-third designed complex systems based on multiple connections, feedbacks, or loops. TGD analysis shows that the most frequent topics were CO2 emissions and global warming, with most games being based on quiz, shooter, pong or action gameplay. Furthermore, designers tried to drive meaning to the player either by raising awareness of climate change directly or indirectly, or by having players make responsible choices in-game (e.g., walking not driving). Meaning and Play were important design considerations for students; this result has implications for how a game design task might be framed in future.

Same game, different impact: Comparing the success of a game-based learning intervention across four schools
Thorkild Hanghøj, Andreas Lieberoth

A game based learning approach may work wonderfully in one school, and then very differently in another, shortly after. This paper reports how one intervention lead to different outcomes depending on school setting. We combine statistical and qualitative lenses to analyze differential impact based on the social and cultural characteristics of four schools.

The intervention for 3-5th graders included a mix of commercial-off-the-shelf gameplay, classroom exercises based on the game, and gamification aimed at classroom conduct. General effects were observed for intrinsic and external motivation using the Children’s Locus of Causality scales (c-PLOC), plus teacher-assessed learning and wellbeing. Yet very different practical outcomes were observed in the four different schools taking part in the project.

We use an explanatory mixed methods analysis to move beyond average effects, and identify the qualitative characteristics of one classroom where the intervention took a definite hold.

avatar for Sara Atienza

Sara Atienza

Research Associate, WestEd

Thorkild Hanghøj

Associate Professor, Aalborg University
avatar for Gillian  Puttick

Gillian Puttick

Senior Scientist, TERC
Research on youth-created games to learn science, curriculum design about climate change for middle and/or high school; high school students using Smart Cities data to learn about their communities

Eli Tucker-Raymond

Educationist, TERC

Thursday August 2, 2018 2:00pm - 3:00pm
Media Lab - Lecture Hall, 6th Floor, Building E14 75 Amherst St, Cambridge, MA 02142, USA


Research Paper Panel: Star Wars, New Media Ecology and Peer Culture
The Force Will Be With You…Always: Studying the Star Wars Transmedia Storyworld
Trent Hergenrader

Since Disney’s 2012 purchase of Lucasfilm, connected stories set in the Star Wars galaxy have exploded across media including feature films, fiction, comic books, television, and games. This paper discusses the development of a college course taught in 2017 that leveraged existing student interest in the Star Wars franchise to teach a broad range of media literacies including the critical analysis of films, TV, comics, print fiction, and games. The course focused on analyzing different aspects of “transmedia storyworlds,” or narratives that span multiple media and target different generations of audiences. The paper also discusses a second course to be taught in spring 2018 that uses the Star Wars galaxy as the setting for role-playing and fiction writing. Far from pandering to students with pop culture, these courses position them become critical consumers and active producers of media content in the 21st century.

Transmedia Literacy in the New Media Ecology. An international map of teens’ transmedia skills
Carlos Scolari

The emergence of new media, devices, narratives and practices has compelled media literacy scholars and professionals to review their theoretical frameworks and methodological approaches. Based on a new conception – ‘transmedia literacy’ – that moves from traditional media literacy (teaching critical media skills at school) to informal learning and practices of participatory cultures, the research behind the present paper aims to understand how new generations are doing things with media outside schools and how they learn to do the things they do. After a short description of the objectives and the methodology, the paper focuses on one of the outputs of this international research (2015-18) that has involved eight countries: a map of teens’ transmedia skills developed in the context of informal learning environments collaborative cultures.

Learning Projects in Glocal Networks: The Emergence of a Formal and Informal Peer Culture
Saara Nissinen, Henriikka Vartiainen, Petteri Vanninen

The digital age has provided new possibilities for the creation of glocal peer cultures that stretch beyond the boundaries of the immediate community. To better understand these opportunities in the school context, we aim to examine the co-creation of an international learning ecosystem of two classes sharing an object of inquiry. The participants were a Finnish 6th-grade class (N=17) and a American 7–8th-grade class (N=16) who communicated through blogs and Skype. Using deductive content analysis on their transcribed Skype meetings, students’ digital artifacts, and a questionnaire, we aim to describe the learning ecosystem that emerged. The preliminary results of the study indicated that during the academic learning process, an informal peer culture started to emerge through students’ mobile devices and applications such as FaceTime, and Snapchat. Conclusions are drawn about the hybrid ecosystem that connected friendship-driven, interest-driven, and expertise-oriented participation.

avatar for Trent Hergenrader

Trent Hergenrader

Assistant Professor, Rochester Institute of Technology
My primary area of research is using games and gaming in English courses, and more specifically using role-playing games to teach fiction writing. I am an Assistant Professor at the Rochester Institute of Technology.

Saara Nissinen

Junior Researcher, University of Eastern Finland

Henriikka Vartiainen

Senior lecturer, University of Eastern Finland

Thursday August 2, 2018 2:00pm - 3:00pm
Sloan/Morris and Sophie Chang Building, E52-164 Classroom, Building E52 50 Memorial Dr, Cambridge, MA 02142


Research Paper Panel: Social Network Analysis and Solutions
Using Social Network Analysis to Examine Player Interactions in EvE Online
Stefan Slater, Manuel González Canché

Network analysis is an increasingly popular tool for the analysis of rich telemetry data from digital game environments. In this paper we apply social network analysis techniques to the massively multiplayer online game EvE Online in order to examine patterns of player interactions in the game. Data were collected from a one-month period of player versus player interactions in a specific region of the game. In our analyses we conduct analyses of key actors relying on different centrality measures to identify patterns of play in the region. We examine the features and implications of being a ‘key actor’ across these centrality measures in this context, as well as explore applications of this methodology towards game design and research.

Social Talk and Constructing Solutions: Comparing a Teen and Proxy Player in an Educational Alternate Reality Game
Anthony Pellicone

An affordance of Alternate Reality Games (ARGs) is that players play as-if they were in the game-world themselves. Human game-runners (proxy players) interact with participants as characters within the game’s fiction, guiding and modeling game-play. In this paper we employ a method of analyzing gameplay called Epistemic Network Analysis (ENA), which creates relational network graphs between actions within a game-space. We found that key players exhibited behavior like proxy players, but also diverged from them in meaningful ways. We present case studies of one active player and one proxy player that demonstrate the power of ENA to model ARG play. We describe ways in which ENA reinforced the design insights that guided our original creation of proxy players while also allowing us to analyze the implications of those design choices in practice. We conclude by enumerating some research and design benefits of employing ENA in other learning contexts.


Manuel S. González Canché

Associate Professor, University of Pennsylvania
avatar for Anthony J. Pellicone

Anthony J. Pellicone

Post-Doctoral Researcher, University of Maryland - College Park

Stefan Slater

Doctoral Student, University of Pennsylvania
Stefan Slater is an associate research specialist and outreach coordinator at the Games and Learning Society. He graduated with a B.S. in Psychology in 2012 and now studies how students learn from games and how games are used for education.

Thursday August 2, 2018 3:15pm - 4:15pm
Media Lab - Lecture Hall, 6th Floor, Building E14 75 Amherst St, Cambridge, MA 02142, USA
Friday, August 3


Research Paper Panel: Online, Video and Mobile Learning Challenges
Upload in Your Own words: Using Smartphones to Realize a Critical Approach to EFL Pedagogy
J.D. Swerzenski

Currently, 1 in 2 people around the world has internet access, most of them via smartphone. 1 in 3 are learning English, with over 80% of these students coming from Asia and the global south. Despite the incredible growth in these two trends, few steps have been taken to adapt EFL education methods around access to these devices. This article tests the efficacy of one such approach, working with university students in Bogotá, Colombia to create videos aimed at developing language proficiency and challenging cultural representations. Via a critical discourse analysis of their responses, the study hopes to highlight potential benefits and downsides offered by smartphones and other devices in developing language and critical expression skills.

A Video is Worth a Gagillion Words: Enhancing Student Skills and Self-Efficacy through a Video-Based Peer Review Assignment
Rabindra Ratan, Taj Makki, Stuart Braiman

In order to elucidate how to improve active learning and collaborative engagement in large and online course contexts, the present exploratory research employed a mixed-method study examining a video-based peer review assignment designed to help students advance their own video-creation skills and self-efficacy. Student participants (N = 255) responded positively to the platform and feedback process, but were critical of classmates’ engagement and own video skills. Video production competence beliefs increased from pre- to post-survey, especially for individuals with less previous video production experience. Further, students’ intent to use video persuasively increased from pre- to post-survey for those with less previous video-sharing experience. Overall, results suggest that education technology developers and practitioners could utilize similar approaches to facilitate active learning, but researchers should continue exploring the implications of such video-based assignments.

Identifying Shifting Roles, Expectations, and Practices in the Early Adoption of Challenge-Based Learning for Online Courses
Catherine Dornfeld Tissenbaum, Kemi Jona

Challenge-based learning situates learning in authentic contexts, with opportunities to meaningfully apply new knowledge and skills. However, the shift from traditional modes of instruction to challenge-based learning (CBL) introduces new roles, expectations, and practices for both instructors and students. In this design-based research study, we used an ethnographic lens to investigate feedback from instructors and students about their first semester with CBL. We identified common difficulties, strategies, and suggestions to incorporate into future design iterations of CBL courses, along with opportunities for deeper investigation into students' learning processes and development of agency within CBL courses.


Stuart Braiman

Innovation Strategist, TechSmith

Kemi Jona

Associate Dean, Northeastern Uuniversity

Rabindra Ratan

Assistant Professor, Michigan State University
avatar for Catherine Dornfeld Tissenbaum

Catherine Dornfeld Tissenbaum

Northeastern University

Friday August 3, 2018 11:00am - 12:00pm
MIT Tang Center, E51-145 - Lecture Hall, Building E51 2 Amherst St, Cambridge, MA 02142, USA


Research Paper Panel: Play and Connected Learning for Teachers and Kindergartners
Exploring Authenticity and Playfulness in Teacher Practice Spaces
Justin Reich, YJ Kim, Dan Roy, Meredith Thompson

Teacher practice spaces are learning experiences, inspired by games and simulations, that allow novice teachers to rehearse for and reflect on important decisions in teaching. Practice-based teacher educators use various approaches to simulation in methods courses, and these simulations often attempt to holistically replicate the complexity of teaching conditions. In this research, we present a range of practice spaces that don’t attempt to replicate teaching, but explore design spaces with varying levels of authenticity. We define four dimensions of authenticity in teaching simulations:authenticity of complexity, of situation, of role, and of task. We discuss how these different dimensions of authenticity intersect with playfulness in the examination of five case studies of teacher practice spaces. We hypothesize that authenticity of task is essential to most teacher practice spaces, but interesting new design spaces can be found by moving away from other dimensions of authenticity.

Connected Learning in Kindergarten
Saara Nissinen, Henriikka Vartiainen, Petteri Vanninen

The aim of this socioculturally informed study is to explore teachers’ insights into connected learning projects in kindergarten. The focus was on the ways in which early childhood teachers and educators (N = 27) supported children in connecting their interest-driven and inquiry-oriented learning to their local surroundings, family, and community. The data consisted of teachers’, educators’, and researchers’ collaborative conversations, supplemented by project portfolios. The preliminary content analysis of the two representative projects shows how the children's own discoveries of nature were connected to an extended network of peers, family, and external experts though the use of a trail camera. Conclusions are drawn about activities that afforded the co-creation of a participatory network of people, tools, and resources organized around a shared object of inquiry.

avatar for Yoon Jeon "YJ" Kim

Yoon Jeon "YJ" Kim

Executive Director, Playful Journey Lab
Dr. YJ Kim is the executive director of the MIT Playful Journey Lab (playful.mit.edu). Her work has centered on the topic of innovative assessment and how technological advancement influences what we are measuring about student learning and how we are measuring it. For more than ten... Read More →

Saara Nissinen

Junior Researcher, University of Eastern Finland
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Justin Reich

Asst. Professor, MIT
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Dan Roy

Research Scientist, MIT
Dan Roy is a research scientist at the Education Arcade and the Playful Journey Lab. He is the lead game designer on the CLEVR project, inviting high school biology students to explore a cell in VR and collaboratively diagnose and treat a genetic disorder. Dan is also the founder... Read More →
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Meredith Thompson

Research Scientist and Lecturer, MIT

Henriikka Vartiainen

Senior lecturer, University of Eastern Finland

Friday August 3, 2018 11:00am - 12:00pm
MIT Tang Center, E51-149 - Classroom, Building E51 2 Amherst Street, Cambridge, MA 02142


Research Paper Panel: Creative Technology Applications for Neurodiverse Learners
A Participatory Evaluation of an Innovative Technology-Based Program for Adolescents with Autism
Ariana Riccio, Maruf Hossain, Beth Rosenberg, Kristen Gillespie-Lynch

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is defined by socio-communicative difficulties and restricted, repetitive behaviors and/or focused interests. Focused interests can motivate people with autism to obtain expertise in their interest areas which are often expressed through a systematic approach to learning and an affinity for computers, mathematics and science. Created with the goal of bolstering STEM skills among teens with ASD, this informal education program provides previously unavailable opportunities for youth with ASD to develop authorial computing skills. The current study presents an evaluation of TKU’s summer curriculum for adolescents with autism and discusses current program design, students’ own goals for the future, and successful instructional techniques to facilitate learning. A participatory curriculum adaptation is presented based on evaluation results.

Learning Despite Resistance: Engaging Resistant Learners through Creative Learning
Ulf Berthelsen

Through a comparative analysis of two Scratch projects made by two different groups of 6th grade students, this study shows how working with the visual programming language Scratch (www.scratch.mit-edu) provides resistant students with unexpected learning opportunities. The study compares the student projects with respect to level of code complexity and level of subject matter integration, and it is argued that the creative learning opportunities provided by the Scratch programming language encourage the resistant students to engage in meaningful learning activities despite their resistance.

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Ulf Berthelsen

Assistant Professor, Aarhus University
My main research interests are digital literacy and integration of digital technologies in K-12 learning environments. I'm is currently conducting a study on integration computer programming across subjects.
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Ariana Riccio

Doctoral Student, The Graduate Center, City University of NY

Friday August 3, 2018 1:30pm - 2:30pm
MIT Tang Center, E51-149 - Classroom, Building E51 2 Amherst Street, Cambridge, MA 02142


Research Paper Panel: Reading in the Digital Age
From Connected Learning to Connected Reading: Understanding What, Where, and How Teens Read
Kristen Turner

In a digital age texts are available in multiple formats and across various technologies. Readers must make choices about what, where, and how to read. Teens, in particular, have embraced digital tools, yet we do not know much about their reading practices. This study explored the reading lives of adolescents through a survey of 804 students and 23 in-depth interviews. Results indicated that teens are Connected Readers - using the practices of encountering, engaging, and evaluating the texts they read - yet they varied in their application of critical reading strategies. This study presents a theory of Connected Reading that draws upon Connected Learning principles to understand the practices of adolescent readers.

Digital Tools for Peer-Based Reading Recommendations: A Case Study of Bookopolis
Cindy Lam, Brigid Barron

Learning to read is a fundamental academic skill that begins developing in early childhood. While there is extensive research on reading development as an individual skill, there is less research on how to nurture motivation and engagement to sustain reading development. In this mixed methods study, I address this gap in the research by investigating two cases studies of classrooms that use an online literacy tool, Bookopolis, to foster enthusiasm for reading in third graders. I investigate questions of 1) what pedagogical choices teachers make to support the uptake of Bookopolis in their classrooms, 2) what Bookopolis features teachers found most useful, 3) how Bookopolis impacted students’ early literacy engagement from the perspective of the teacher, and 4) what are the patterns of peer-to-peer engagement in the classroom. The findings suggest that teacher pedagogy and peer support are central to how Bookopolis is used in the classroom to foster engagement in reading.


Brigid Barron

Professor of Education, Stanford
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Cindy Kim-Ngan Lam

PhD Candidate, Stanford University
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Kristen Turner

Professor and Director of Teacher Education, Drew University

Friday August 3, 2018 1:30pm - 2:30pm
MIT Tang Center, E51-145 - Lecture Hall, Building E51 2 Amherst St, Cambridge, MA 02142, USA