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Session Information

TitleStructured Signifiers and Infinite Games: Serious Play for Lifelong Learning

Donald BrinkmanDonald 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. You can find out more about Donald at Next@Microsoft.

TimeThursday, October 18, 9:30a-10:30a
DescriptionWhat is a badge? Is it a certification? Is it a mile marker? Is it some form of currency? Perhaps it is just a badge? Badges are all of these things and none of them. They are structured signifiers that have the potential to transform the way we learn skills and record experiences. The 'badge-o-sphere' is currently a chaotic and disconnected space but it is rapidly beginning to congeal into a unified repository for actionable analytics. We will discuss how badges are evolving and how Microsoft is exploring their potential. This is not the first time that Microsoft has gotten involved in serious games. We will review the history of serious games at Microsoft and share some non-intuitive conclusions that we have arrived at via our ongoing research collaborations with the Games for Learning Institute and other organizations. Finally we will explore the potential for a unified game layer for lifelong learning and its potential to weave our disparate work processes into a single, infinite game.

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