Technology Empowering U.S. Diplomacy and Development

Games for Learning - Panelist Bios

Much has been said about the value of making learning fun and how that can engage students who are failing under more traditional learning methods. With more technology in the classroom, introducing learning games is an easy task. What games are best and how should they be employed? Are there specific types of games that have proven to be most effective? What is the best way to use games in the classroom? What are the disadvantages?

Daniel Laughlin (Moderator) - NASA

Dr. Daniel Laughlin received his Ph.D. in Education from American University in 2001. His area of focus was information technology in education and he did research in cognitive science experimenting with methods to explicitly teach critical and scientific thinking skills. He began working with GESTAR/Morgan State University in 2011, after nine years with GEST/UMBC. Prior to his work with GEST, Dr. Laughlin taught for 14 years at a number of institutions including American, Loyola and Villanova Universities. From 1997 to 2002, he taught pre-service and in-service teachers to use computers and the Internet in their own classroom. Dr. Laughlin is currently the NASA Learning Technologies Project Manager at Goddard Space Flight Center. NLT supports the research and development of cutting-edge educational tools that combine NASA mission content with innovative technology and best teaching practices. The office has sponsored the development of tools that have been featured on the covers of science and technology magazines and receive international recognition for their contributions to learning. NLT is primarily focused on the research and development of educational immersive synthetic environments and leads the games research effort for NASA's Education Office. Dr. Laughlin's research interests include information technology management, cognitive science, educational technologies and the use of computer and video games as educational tools. He is co-author of the NASA eEducation Roadmap: Research Challenges in the Design of Persistent Immersive Synthetic Environments for Education & Training (2007)

Eric Gordon - Engagement Game Lab

Eric Gordon studies civic media, specifically through the lens of games and playful systems. He is an associate professor in the department of Visual and Media Arts at Emerson College where he is the founding director of the Engagement Game Lab. And he is a research fellow at the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University. In addition to numerous articles and chapters, he is the author of two books: Net Locality: Why Location Matters in a Networked World (2011, with Adriana de Souza e Silva) and The Urban Spectator: American Concept Cities From Kodak to Google (2010). He received his Ph.D. in 2003 from the School of Cinematic Arts at the University of Southern California.

Matthew Kam - American Institutes for Research

Dr. Matthew Kam is a senior researcher at the American Institutes for Research (AIR) responsible for leading and growing its new practice area on Information and Communication Technologies for International Development (ICT4D). He has published on a range of topics that include affordable technologies in lower-income countries, participatory design, cross-cultural design, technology for empowering women in the developing world, computer-supported collaborative learning, educational videogames, mobile learning, Open Educational Resources (OERs), language and literacy education, and speech recognition in education. Kam is best known as a pioneer in designing, piloting and evaluating mobile software applications on low-end mobile phones that have shown measurable outcomes in improving literacy among rural and urban slums communities.

Kam has published approximately 30 peer-reviewed articles in leading conferences, journals and handbooks, including some of the seminal academic publications on ICT4D. His research and community service has helped to found ICT4D as an area of academic research and professional practice. Among his contributions to ICT4D practitioners, Kam was invited by UNESCO to author a case study on mobile phones for women and girls literacy. He was also an external reviewer on two USAID landscape reviews, namely, on mobile technologies for workforce development and mobile technologies for early-grade reading. His leadership roles in the ICT4D academic community include being a regular reviewer for Information Technology and International Development, the premier journal for ICT4D research; serving on the Program Committee of the International Conference for ICT and Development, the premier ICT4D academic conference jointly organized by the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) and Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE); and founding chair of the Special Interest Group for ICT4D in the ACM’s Human-Computer Interaction community, which promotes user-centered design and design thinking in ICT4D.

Before AIR, Kam was an Assistant Professor of Human-Computer Interaction at Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) with its “science of learning” faculty. While at CMU, Kam started and managed a human-centered design and research lab that was featured at the Clinton Global Initiative, International Literacy Day and World Economic Forum. He has taught user experience design, usability testing, the psychology of learning, mobile learning and educational games in CMU’s industry-oriented Master’s in Human-Computer Interaction program. Kam was named a 2012 Computerworld Honors Program Laureate “whose visionary applications of information technology promote positive social, economic and educational change.” Kam’s work draws on his diverse formal training, which spans computer science (PhD and BS degrees), education (PhD minor) and economics (BA degree), from the University of California, Berkeley.

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