2012 Schedule

The Symposium features speakers that are leaders nationwide in the area of using video games to enhance educational goals. They represent experience with award winning games that are household names, as well as real experience in application to the classroom.


Listed below are confirmed sessions for this year’s symposium, time slots for each session will be updated as we near the symposium.




Performance: Niobe

Eddie Kim, Theater, Pierrepont School, Westport, CT.

A re-telling of the story of Niobe from Ted Hughes’ Tales from Ovid in which the deaths of Niobe’s fourteen children and her husband will be staged in real-time in front of the audience using Halo3 and several, system-linked Xbox 360 consoles.



Surrounding Commercial Games with Academic Learning — the numbers don’t lie. Evidence for game-based learning for standardized testing.

Brock Dubbels PhD, Software Engineering McMaster University, G-ScalE Intiative

Can the way we think about education be re-invented?  What would school look like if it “played” like a video game? Beyond Gamification, the presentation discusses the practical and complete approach to throwing out the grade book, dropping due dates, developing individual learning paths for every student, and connecting to standards and expectations in ways we never thought possible.  Chris Haskell and his colleague Dr. Lisa Dawley at Boise State have created a system built on experiences points, badges, achievements, leveling, and student choice.  The presentation will demonstrate the tool, pedagogy, and share the results of a yearlong Design-Based Research project.



Art, Technology & Special Education: It’s More Than a Game

Michael Gerrish, Artist and Educator, Rensselaer Educational Center, QuestarIII B.O.C.E.S. Career Tech high school, Troy, NY
Additional Contributor: Danielle Jiguere

For most of us, Technology is a tool we use daily (hopefully with effectiveness and efficiency) to amplify and clarify our physical, verbal, and written expressions in an interactive game we call Communicating. However, if individuals enter the communication game with impaired skills impacted by special needs or attention issues, can they still play well enough to find purpose and success? Join Michael Gerrish and Danielle Jiguere in a conversation about how Art, Technology, and Mentoring relationships can help close the gap between individuals who communicate and socialize with ease, and others who struggle to participate and connect.
Mr. Gerrish will share examples of past art projects designed to promote social as well as scholastic learning; Ms Jiguere will speak about her experience as a Special Education teacher who is also the parent of a special needs child who uses common technology in an adaptive manner. Both will encourage participants to review their own skill sets to see how to better engage and develop the learners they meet every day.


Michael Gerrish and Danielle Jiguere are colleagues at the Rensselaer Educational Center, a QuestarIII B.O.C.E.S. Career Tech high school in Troy, NY. Mr. Gerrish is a visual artist who has taught Art and Technology courses in a variety of private and public school settings in NJ and NY. He has presented workshops at the P. Buckley Moss Foundation, SWIDA, the TRLD Conference, Constructivist Conference at St. Lawrence University, and others. More information is available at his website:


The Game Plan: Why Education Needs to Pay Attention to Video Games!

Peggy Sheehy, Instructional Technology, Ramapo Central School District

In the last few years, education has finally noticed gaming and virtual worlds, but this gaming attention has been characterized by two very different perspectives. Some see engagement, concentration and collaboration, while others see isolation, social dysfunction and addiction. Often, educators have difficulty seeing the relevance of a particular game to some portion of their curriculum. This presentation will dispel the myths surrounding gaming, draw clear connections between games and learning and give attendees practical examples and resources to begin using these powerful learning platforms.


SAGA (Story and Games Academy): Exploring the Storytelling in Video Games

Lucas Gillispie, Instructional Technology Coordinator

Video games are emerging as a incredible interactive medium for storytelling. As in literature, all of the key components of a good story are present, however, unlike other media, video games invite the player to actively participate in the story world. In this session, Lucas will share his latest game-based project that encourages middle school students to explore the rich storytelling in video games on a variety of platforms including the XBox, PlayStation3, PC, iPad, and even handheld gaming systems. See how students are not only exploring these games, but analyzing their story elements, writing online reviews, and telling their own stories!


3D Models: “The Cloud”, Constellations & The Solar System

Mark Eisenhardt, Director of Technology, The Albany Academies

Mark will demonstrate how his students use Google Docs-most notably Spreadsheets, web applications, charts and Google SketchUp to create 3D models. Using the data they collect, students create 3D models of a selected Constellation (usually their birth sign) as well as a 3D model of the Solar System as it was at the moment of their birth. All software used is free and works equally well on Macs and PCs.


HOW and, more importantly, WHY we use MMOGs & virtual worlds at my school.

Marianne Malmstorm, Instructor, Elisabeth Morrow School


Panel: Lessons Learned in the Game-based Classroom

Chris Haskell, Department of Educational TechnologyBoise State University



Joel Levin, The Minecraft Teacher


See It In Action – How Are Teachers Using Video Games In Their Classrooms

Allisyn Levy, BrainPOP


Using Board Games in your classroom to teach the Common Core

Patrick Connor, Technology Teacher, Pine Valley CSD




Quest Atlantis/Minecraft

Bron Stuckey



Joel Levin



Lisa Castaneda, Evergreen Schools



How To Make Your Own Video Games With No Experience
Jay Shaffstall, Assistant Professor of Computer Science, Muskingum University


Have a great idea for an educational video game for your class, but there’s not anything available that fits your needs? You can write the game yourself! This workshop will take you through creating a complete simple game, and will give you ideas for future work. We’ll use a freely available programming environment called Game Maker that truly does allow anyone with no experience to create a video game.

SMART board games in classroom

Beth Bonner, Teq


PBS Games for Early Learners

Barbara Lukas, WMHT


and more to come!