My career development has come in the areas of development and the ethical use of advanced technologies such as games, transmedia, and focusing on instructional design and more recently, systemic change. The latter has come from the study of educational systems and the design, development, and creation of The Koan School as a place to test theory, work with students to study and produce interdisciplinary games, and develop a model of education that addresses many of the current challenges faced by educators in today’s schools. As researcher and designer, my research has incorporated a variety of methods ranging from statistical analysis to my own film-based Critical CinéEthnography and computer mediated discourse analysis.
These tools have been used to study the impact of technology on power relationships within classrooms and the complex systems that both positively and negatively affect both teaching and learning, I have completed several design and research developments tied to my larger research agenda including the creation of the Anytown learning game world as well as The Door, Broken Window, The 2015 Project, and Old Alton learning games. This research agenda has been focused on complementary areas such as emerging technologies and instruction in K-20 classrooms, improvement of multidisciplinary student literacy as supported communal structures, and digital games.
Design I have designed, developed, and initiated multiple experimental course design that leverage immersive online tools and narratives. With the help of several doctoral students, I first conducted a pilot study on this course game, The Door. This was an alternate reality course game in which students worked for fictional and real-world clients to solve ill-structured problems using newly developed computer literacy skills. Students engaged in working in small groups to solve ill-structured, problem-based learning tasks wrapped within a two-tiered game and curricular narrative. Students received feedback from virtual clients for which they constructed solutions using Microsoft Office applications, web tools, and free social networking tools like Twitter and Facebook. I have since constructed and studied other games designed for and/or with students of varying ages. I am currently completing a book on The Art and Science of Designing Games for Learning, which captures the work I have done to date and can act as a guide for fledgling educational game designers in the future.
Research My learning games have included both quantitative data in the form of student exams, satisfaction scores, qualitative data in the form of student reflections and interviews. Past data has shown higher satisfaction with the course in the revised versions and higher examination scores. Beyond my own work, student dissertation studies have studied the impacts of these designs on self-regulated learning and instilled epistemologies of entering undergraduates to help contextualize student experiences in new experimental versions of the course, such as Broken Window and The 2015 Project. Each design included a transmedia experience, which is a distributed narrative practice made using existing Internet resources. Over the years, I have also worked to submit grant proposals totaling over $30 million dollars including proposals to build digital games and simulations and national educational centers.
Scholarship Each article I have published directly ties to my research agenda focusing on the use of games, simulations, or transmedia spaces to support learning. Topics have ranged from aspects of usability, play testing, ethical concerns, and student perceptions of the use of digital tools and spaces for learning. I have produced more than fifty publications and 70 presentations and developed a theory called Learning and Teaching as Communicative Actions based on Habermas’ as a different means of understanding learning. Substantial research has been completed and published in support of Learning and Teaching as Communicative Actions theory. This theory also functions to guide my Koan School development and that project allows for longitudinal data to study impact over time. In addition, I am an active reviewer for several journals including Computers in Education and Educational Technology Research and Development.
Summary To conclude, I believe that my work indicates high levels of in the areas of research, design, scholarship, service, and seeking grant funding during my time at the university. Further, I believe that this work has shown growth and increased quality as well as improvements in quantity over the last several years. I feel that my work in all of these areas shows a balance among engaging in expert research and scholarship, supporting students through teaching and service, while engaging in strong efforts to seek funding for my research agenda which will continue.