Featured Think Tank Speakers

Joanna A. Christodoulou, MGH Institute of Health Professions

Joanna Christodoulou, EdD, is an Assistant Professor at the MGH Institute of Health Professions and is affiliated with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the Harvard Graduate School of Education. She studies the brain-behavior relationship underlying typical and atypical reading development and their implications for education and clinical practice.

Allison Druin, University of Maryland, College Park

Allison Druin is Chief Futurist for the University of Maryland’s Division of Research and is a Professor in the iSchool and a researcher in the Human-Computer Interaction Lab. As the University’s first Chief Futurist, she works with faculty throughout campus on research strategic planning and partnership development. In her own research, for over 17 years, she has led design teams of children, computer scientists, educators and more to develop new educational technologies for children with co-design methods. Her work has included developing new mobile technologies for storytelling, new digital libraries for cultural tolerance, and new robotic toys for active learning. Her co-design team has partnered with numerous organizations over the years which have included, the U.S. National Park Service, UNICEF, National Geographic, and Nickelodeon (where they won an Emmy for their shared design, ‘the do not touch’ button).

Henry Jenkins, University of Southern California

Henry Jenkins is the Provost’s Professor of Communication Journalism and Cinematic Arts at USC’s Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism. Henry Jenkins joined USC from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he was Peter de Florez Professor in the Humanities. He directed MIT’s Comparative Media Studies graduate degree program from 1993–2009, setting an innovative research agenda during a time of fundamental change in communication, journalism and entertainment. As one of the first media scholars to chart the changing role of the audience in an environment of increasingly pervasive digital content, Jenkins has been at the forefront of understanding the effects of participatory media on society, politics and culture. His research gives key insights to the success of social-networking web sites, networked computer games, online fan communities and other advocacy organizations, and emerging news media outlets. Jenkins has also played a central role in demonstrating the importance of new media technologies in educational settings. He has worked closely with the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation to shape a media literacy program designed to explore the effects of participatory media on young people, and reveal potential new pathways for education through emerging digital media. He is Principal Investigator on the Media Activism Participatory Politics project. His most recent books include Reading in a Participatory Culture: Remixing Moby-Dick in the Literature Classroom (with Wyn Kelley, Katie Clinton, Jenna McWilliams, Ricardo Pitts-Wiley, and Erin Reilly) and Spreadable Media: Creating Meaning and Value in a Networked Society (with Sam Ford and Joshua Green).

Kurt Squire, Games + Learning + Society team, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Kurt Squire is a professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in the Educational Communications and Technology division of Curriculum and Instruction and a research scientist at the Academic Advanced Distributed Learning Co-Lab. Squire is also a co-founder and current director of the Games, Learning, & Society Initiative, a group of over 50 faculty and students investigating game-based learning. Squire’s research investigates the potential of video game-based technologies for systemic change in education. Squire’s work integrates research and theory on digital media (particularly games) with theories of situated cognition in order to understand how to design educational environments in a digital age. Squire earned his doctorate in Instructional Systems Technology from Indiana University and is a former Montessori and primary school teacher. Before coming to Wisconsin, Squire was the Research Manager of the Games-to-Teach Project at MIT, the Co-Director of the Education Arcade, a columnist for Computer Games magazine, and a co-founder of Joystick101.org. In addition to writing over 50 scholarly articles and book chapters, he has given dozens invited addresses in North America, Europe, and Asia.

Rane Johnson-Stempson, Principal Research Director, Microsoft Research Outreach

Rane Johnson-Stempson is a Principal Research Director at Microsoft Research Outreach, where she engages with academics worldwide and identifies high-impact areas for research investigations. She is currently working on projects that use technology to transform how we learn, how we teach middle school girls programming, and how we eradicate human trafficking. Rane is also the lead for growing, attracting, and retaining women in research, science, and engineering. Rane is very passionate about education and technology with eighteen years of experience. She has served as the Executive Director of California Skills USA-VICA, IT Project Manager for Guidant Corporation, Middle School Math and Science Teacher and IT Director for the San Francisco Unified School District. She has sat on the boards of top education non-profits, on legislative committees and task forces. Rane spends a lot of her free time and energy focused on working with young women and students of color to help them reach their full potential in careers in STEM fields. She also volunteers to help the entrepreneurship community in Bend, Oregon. Her research interests lie in technology implications in reaching education for all, technology and the interplay of public-private partnerships in solving our greatest social problems, and technology innovations required to engage student learning.

S. Craig Watkins, University of Texas at Austin

S. Craig Watkins is a Professor in the Moody College of Communication and the College of Liberal Arts at the University of Texas at Austin. He is the author of three books including, The Young and the Digital: What the Migration to Social Network Sites, Games, and Anytime, Anywhere Media Means for Our Future (Beacon, 2009), which explores young people’s dynamic engagement with social media, games, and mobile platforms. His forthcoming book is based on an ethnographic inquiry into the evolving worlds of digital media, education, and social inequality in the U.S. The book takes on some of the established ideas and notions related to the rise of STEM learning and the complex role of technology in our schools, and the media practices of black and Latino youth. Craig is a recent recipient of an innovation award from the IC² Institute, an Austin technology incubator that supports innovation and economic development and is a member of the MacArthur Foundation’s Connected Learning Research Network. Currently he is working on two fronts. First, he is collaborating with a team of graduate student researchers and creatives to explore how young people are leveraging digital media, local assets, and social networks to build dynamic innovation ecologies that are remaking how we think about learning, work, social mobility, and the future of opportunity. His second initiative is aligning with several partners including The Moody College of Communication, the Chief Information Officer from the City of Austin, and designers to create a social studio that connects young people’s engagement with technology to design challenges that encourage real world problem-solving.