View the conference program online or download a PDF version.

Download the GLS conference poster (color 8"x11" pdf file).

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 world views 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 School of Education 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 hands-on sessions designed specifically by and for practicing teachers (continuing education units may be available--see the registration page for more information); and an outdoor dinner party at historic Quivey’s Grove.

We are accepting submissions for inclusion in Educational Technology Magazine and Tech Trends Magazine, both of which have generously offered to publish special issues based on the Games, Learning, and Society Conference. If interested in publication in either journal based on your submission to the program, please contact Kurt Squire, Special Editor, by email.

Session Formats:

Interactive Workshop: Interactive workshops are 45- or 90-minute sessions during which presenters engage the audience in collaboratively working out a problem (most commonly, a design or instructional challenge, or the analysis of data). They are highly participatory and include discussion and/or a debriefing following the activity. Although the structure of each workshop is up to the discretion of the presenters, we encourage hands-on, interactive sessions that focus on the use and/or implications of games in everyday classrooms, informal learning environments, and beyond.

Interactive Exhibit: The Exhibit Hall is one of our highlighted features of the conference, providing game researchers, designers, and players a means for displaying their latest work with games. Exhibits include a poster presentation briefly explaining the content and context of the research, implementation, and/or design work being presented and/or an interactive demo of the game project itself. These exhibits are available throughout both days of the conference, with special focus given during afternoon lunches and the evening happy hour on Thursday, June 23rd. Authors will be present during these times (and on and off throughout both days) to discuss their work in-depth with attendees.

Symposium: Symposium sessions are groups of two 30-minute presentations or three 20-minute presentations that are thematically related. Each symposium concludes with a (30-minute) period of Q&A; from the audience, but we especially welcome presentations that maintain a high level of engagement and interaction among participants throughout. Symposia focus on selected topics considered important to the understanding of games, learning, and society. Presenters within symposia are encouraged to discuss their presentations among the symposium group beforehand in order to build on common themes. If you are involved in a symposium but have not yet discussed the session with your fellow presenters, please contact us so we can assist you in beginning that dialogue.

Individual Presentation: Like symposium sessions, individual presentation sessions include either two 30-minute presentations or three 20-minute presentations. Unlike symposia, however, each individual presentation session is also assigned a Respondent whose job it is to comment on the presentations and brainstorm issues they collectively raise. Again, we especially welcome presentations that maintain a high level of engagement and interaction among participants; however, it is especially up to the Respondent to promote interaction among the authors and audience by guiding the 30-minute follow-up discussion.

Conversation: A session format allowing informal discussion among smaller groups. An individual at each table functions as discussion facilitator on a proposed topic (please specify) on which they have some form of expertise. Conference attendees will circulate freely among tables during the 90 minute session.