I've been helping people play and learn online and offline for 20 years. After teaching for several years, I entered the game industry with Scholastic and then joined the pioneering studio Gamelab. I moved 'back' into education with Gamestar Mechanic, the groundbreaking game about game design and brought it to market with E-Line Media, before leading three games and general product development at BrainPOP. I've led projects for the Institute of Play, the Quest to Learn School, and Sony Playstation Home. I've worked in QA, IT, creative, Project and Product Management roles, have taught a course at NYU, and have spoken on production, game design, and education at over a dozen conferences and events.
I think that play is one of the deep processes by which humans learn and develop agency in the world. I am passionate about bringing play into education, and getting the most growth out of all the places that there's already play in our lives. I'm now writing and consulting in game design and development while looking for the next game-changing project.
In 2001, I got certified to teach high school English. I liked teaching, but didn't want to go into the classroom. I worked for the Math Forum making geometry manipulatives for the web. In 2002, I became the IT Coordinator and a Dean for Exploration Summer Programs' year-round and summer offices, taking care of their registration databases and administrative tech tools as well as doing curriculum development.
In 2005, I entered the game industry as a QA Tester for Scholastic working on the I Spy games. I then led QA at Gamelab for Miss Management, Out of Your Mind, Arcadia Remix, and Downbeat. I project managed two successful downloadable PC games and two online multiplayer projects: Top Chef, Las Cruces, a Prototype for Unreleased Online Multiplayer Game, and Gamestar Mechanic.
After Gamelab closed, I spent a year keeping Gamestar's beta community running, managed game production for the Institute of Play as they opened the Quest to Learn school, and prototyped virtual worlds for Sony Playstation Home.
In 2009, E-Line Media picked up Gamestar Mechanic, and I helped redesign and bring it to market as an innovative game that welcomed learners to game design and ushered them into communities of practice in design and development.
In 2013, I joined BrainPOP to develop the company's software production processes and to make gameful experiences. We made three games–Sortify, Time Zone X, and The Meaning of Beep–and I helped manage the GameUp site, working with non-profits, researchers, and commercial game companies to offer free, high-quality, no-barrier-to-entry games ready for use in the classroom. As Director of Product, I built the project and product management teams and coordinated product management until 2020.
Now, I'm writing about the interplay between games, learning, and social systems and advising on new projects supporting game-based learning.