Conference Overview and Mission Statement

Recent research has begun to elucidate the key principles of learning that well-designed games can and do embody. At the same time, the broader social significance of gaming culture has become a topic for scholarship across a diversity of fields. Games and simulations do not only reveal new worlds in the virtual realm, they also inspire new worldviews in the physical one. A vast range of videogames and game-related literature has found its way into curriculum, business, entertainment, and government across the country. Millions of people play, both for work and for recreation - and they participate in ongoing economic and social change as a result. As interest in videogames intensifies and the number of events dedicated to their discussion increases, it is crucial that issues of learning and the social role of games do not get lost in the equally worthy cause of industry building.

The Games, Learning & Society Conference to be held June 23-24, 2005 in Madison, Wisconsin will explore such issues. Sponsored by the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the Academic ADL Co-Lab, the GLS Conference will foster substantive discussion and collaboration among academics, designers, and educators interested in how videogames - commercial games and others - can enhance learning, culture, and education. Speakers, discussion groups, interactive workshops, and exhibits will focus on game design, game culture, and games’ potential for learning and society more broadly.

This two-day conference will be held at Frank Lloyd Wright’s Monona Terrace overlooking downtown Madison’s beautiful Lake Monona. Conference highlights include a two-day exhibit hall featuring poster presentations and interactive demos of games; a special track of selected, hands-on sessions designed specifically by and for practicing teachers (continuing education credit may be available); and an outdoor dinner party at historic Quivey’s Grove. Participants currently include John Seely Brown, Edward Castronova, Doug Church, James Paul Gee, Henry Jenkins, Jesper Juul, Jay Lemke, and Kurt Squire.