I am a designer, educator, and gamer interested in the aesthetics of interactivity and the transformative potential of play.
Currently I am a Professor in the Department of Informatics at the University of California at Irvine, as well as Chief Designer and co-founder of Connected Camps, an online learning platform powered by youth Minecraft experts. I teach in both the Computer Game Science program and the Masters of Human Computer Interaction and Design, working with students to design and develop interactive experiences and technologies that are social, equitable, and connected.
I am the founding Executive Director of Institute of Play, a member of both the Connected Learning Research Network and the Connected Learning Lab. Much of my work for the past 10 years has focused on meeting kids where they are at in order to design engaging, hands-on experiences that have the potential to transform youth futures. My current work has a strong emphasis on the design of sustainable and equitable online communities, and I am on a mission to help make the internet more kid-friendly. I have been involved in the design of slow games, online games, mobile games, and big games in both the commercial and independent games sectors, and once co-designed a karaoke ice cream truck driven by a squirrel.
I have held tenured faculty positions at Parsons the New School for Design, University of Texas at Austin, and DePaul University. My writing practice includes the publication of books like Rules of Play, The Game Design Reader, Interconnections, and Quest to Learn: Growing a School for Digital Kids, all from MIT Press, as well as book chapters and articles focused on topics ranging from Pokémon Go and Minecraft, to machinima, game-based learning, and more.
I have been PI and co-PI on grants from the NSF, Gates foundation, MacArthur Foundation, the Carnegie Corporation of New York, Committee for Children, Margulf Foundation, Robert Woods Johnson Foundation, and Intel. I hold an advanced degree from The Rhode Island School of Design.