2008 Speakers


Bill MacKenty, Instructional Designer, Hunter College Campus Schools
Bill is an educational technologist, teacher, blogger, podcaster, and self-proclaimed geek. He is a member of his school’s building technology task force, and surveys and analyzes the faculty’s use of technology in their classrooms, including helping with a school-wide implementation of smart boards, and assisting faculty with many things related to technology. He also creates and delivers exceptional technology professional development, and is constantly look for ways technology can be used to strengthen the instructional process.

In Bill’s own words, “I deeply believe computers and technology can strengthen, deepen, and broaden our learning. I see my students spending more time evaluating and analyzing information rather than simple memorization and categorization. I see how my students can really extend their learning with technology.”

“My interest in computer games began in the heady days of Zork and Infocom (early 1980’s), and has continued since. I still enjoy computer games, focusing on text-based multiplayer games (built on the PennMUSH server). Combining games in education has been a natural and fluid process. I am committed to “getting it right”, using games to create lasting understandings across content areas and disciplines.”

Panelists and Workshop Presenters

Brock Dubbels, Teacher and Teacher Educator, The Center for Cognitive Sciences, the University of Minnesota; and Technologist, Minneapolis Public Schools
Many attendees of the 2007 Games in Education symposium will remember Brock’s motivating presentation on Video Games as Learning Tools. Brock will offer a condensed version of his professional development course of the same name on Tuesday this year, for those that were interested in delving more into the practical applications of this approach.

Brock has been working as a teacher and teacher educator since 1999. As a researcher, Brock is affiliated with the Center for Cognitive Sciences at the University of Minnesota, and specializes in reading comprehension, engagement, and exploring new technologies for assessment, delivering content, and investigating ways people approach learning.

Brock is a former Fulbright Scholar, as well as a recipient of a National Research Service Award from the National Institutes of Health. He currently teaches engineering for the Minneapolis Public Schools and serves on the District Technology Advisory Committee. He is currently in his 4th year teaching Videogames as Learning Tools at the University of Minnesota in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction, and is expanding the curriculum to become a 20-credit certificate for teacher professional development on the integration of games and play. He is also the principal learning architect of a game designed for work force development to train nursing assistants.


Peggy Sheehy, Instructional Technology Facilitator and Media Specialist, Suffern Middle School, and Founder, MetaVersEd Consulting Ltd
Very active in her district’s teacher technology training program, Peggy is a passionate enthusiast for the meaningful infusion of technology in education. In 2006, Peggy established Ramapo Central’s educational presence in Teen Second Life: “Ramapo Islands,” and put Suffern Middle School on the map as the first middle school to use the virtual world for education. After great success with the first group of 400 8th grade students, Ramapo Islands now hosts nearly 1000 students and their teachers and supports all curriculum areas.

Peggy has presented her work with students in Teen Second Life at the Tech Expo, NYSCATE, NECC, EdNet, and the Tech Forum NY 2007. She attended the Virtual Worlds Conference in San Jose where she made a strong case for the blending of the technology industry and education. As a true pioneer in teaching in virtual worlds, she is sought out for advice, curriculum direction and professional development for those that would follow in the footsteps of Ramapo Central. Her vision encompasses a globally collaborative 3-D virtual world campus where learning is student-centered, product-based, playful, and creative.


Andrea Lauer Rice, Founder and CEO, Lauer Learning
Andrea was a 2007 Games in Education symposium participant, and will return this year to offer a hands-on session on FF56!, an educational computer game about the Hungarian Revolution of 1956. As executive producer, Andrea worked alongside a team of award winners: designer Noah Falstein, scriptwriter Brian Narrelle, and developers Red Hill Studios to produce and release FF56! in both Europe and the U.S. for the 50th anniversary of this event. FF56! is linked to a multimedia network of resources supporting this theme, including: an oral history website (www.FreedomFighter56.com), two books which contain collections of ’56-er eyewitness testimonials, films, a comic book and study guide.

Andrea is the founder and CEO of Lauer Learning, a multimedia educational company that creates innovative ways to teach children about foreign languages, history and culture. The company was launched after a family investment of 100+ hours in Final Fantasy X left her wondering, “why can’t learning be this much fun?”

Prior to launching Lauer Learning, Andrea spent five years at IBM where she evangelized the use of gaming and simulations as the future of e-learning. Following a six-year stint as an educator in Central Europe, she earned an MBA from the Goizueta Business School, Emory University. Andrea currently lives with her family in Roswell, Georgia, where they regularly host Donkey Kong tournaments.


Alex Games, Senior Doctoral Student, Department of Curriculum & Instruction, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Alex is currently working in partnership with the Games and Professional Practice Simulations (GAPPS) group at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and New York City’s Gamelab on the development of the MacArthur funded “GameStar Mechanic,” an online game designed to teach middle school children language and literacy skills as they learn key principles of good game design.


Beth King, Senior Doctoral Student, Educational Communications and Technology, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Beth has spent nearly two years working on the Tech Savvy Girls project, which examines how middle school girls develop IT fluency while playing computer games, and has recently been promoted to Lead Project Assist in Constance Steinkuehler’s MMO Lab, a program that helps boys develop traditional and non-traditional literacies around World of Warcraft. Beth has nearly twenty years of experience in adult and youth education, centering on entrepreneurship and innovation.


Dennis Charsky, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Department of Strategic Communication, Ithaca College
Dennis is an assistant professor in the Department of Strategic Communication at Ithaca College. His research interests include the effective integration of technology, instructional strategies for online learning, and designing engaging games for instruction. Dennis has worked as a high school teacher and a professional development specialist focusing on integrating various technologies into instructional environments ranging K12 to organizational settings. Dennis teaches course at the undergraduate and graduate level on: Instructional Design, Visual Design and Production, Interactive Multimedia, e-Learning, Serious Games and Educational Technology for K12 Educators.


Henry A. Kaplan, Chairman/CEO, Mentor InterActive, Inc.
Henry has over 25 years of experience as an executive and entrepreneur in the children’s interactive entertainment industry. He was co-founder and CEO of two New York City based children’s interactive entertainment companies, HiTech Expressions and NewKidCo, that developed and marketed children’s “edutainment” computer/ video games on a global basis. He was responsible for general management with emphasis on relationships with major entertainment licensors including Disney, Sesame Street, Nickelodeon, Sony Computer Entertainment and Microsoft. He has also maintained close relationships with key retailers and distributors on a global basis. Additionally, he has worked in a large corporate environment as President of Philips Media Inc, a division of Philips Electronics, and he has served in a variety of capacities at CBS including Executive Vice President of CBS Software and Vice President for Corporate Planning. Henry has a BA from Hunter College and an MBA from the University of Chicago.


Jeffrey Howard, Lecturer, University of Texas, Austin
Jeff Howard received his BA from the University of Tulsa (2000) and his MA (2002) and PhD (2007) from the University of Texas at Austin, all in English. His first book, Quests: Design, Theory, and History in Games and Narratives was published in February 2008 by A.K. Peters. He is currently a lecturer at the University of Texas, Austin. He studies literature and New Media and is working on creative and scholarly projects related to multiverses.


Shawna Rosenzweig, Online Leadership Program Associate/ Online Educator, Global Kids Inc.
At Global Kids, Shawna’s work includes designing and implementing curriculum to be used in Second Life, on global issues related to international justice/human rights and conservation/sustainable development. Additionally, she is a coordinator for Youth Media Exchange, a social network promoting international collaboration through digital media.

Shawna holds a BA in Sociology and a minor in Education and Applied Psychology from University of California Santa Barbara (UCSB). Additionally, she spent a semester in Washington DC interning and researching the effects of education policy on student health and achievement. Prior to joining Global Kids, she worked in elementary school settings and for various organizations conducting conflict resolution work in the Middle East. Shawna has spent her summers working for Seeds of Peace in Maine, where she was able to work with teenagers living in conflict regions around the world.


Ciara Belle, Recent Graduate, McKinley Technology High School, Washington DC
Ciara Belle graduated from McKinley Technology High School in Washington, DC in June, where she studied 3-D modeling, animation, game development, and graphic design. Over the past three years, she has participated in many conferences and events including the Serious Games Summit, where she and selected classmates represented McKinley and the District of Columbia while promoting technology in education.

In addition to being valedictorian of her class, Ms. Belle was also named a Gates Millennium Scholar, and will receive full funding for her postsecondary education. She is currently leading more than twenty students in learning more about cancer in an effort to raise funds for cancer research using Relay for Life in the Second Life online community. Starting in August, she will be attending the Art Institute of Pittsburgh and will major in media arts and animation. Ms. Belle hopes to become an advocate for African American women in technology one day.


Rick Kelsey, IT Director, McKinley Technology High School, Washington DC