Constance Steinkuehler


Constance Steinkuehler is an Assistant Professor in the Educational Communication & Technology program in the Curriculum & Instruction department at the University of Wisconsin—Madison. After researching and developing online environments designed specifically for learning for five years, she shifted her focus toward the documentation and analysis of more naturally occurring online learning environments, specifically those designed for play (MMOGs). Her dissertation in the Literacy Studies program was a two-year online cognitive ethnography of the game Lineage (1 & 2), focusing specifically on the forms of cognition, learning, and literacy recruited from those who game. She earned her Ph.D. in Curriculum & Instruction at the University of Wisconsin—Madison in 2005, her M.S. degree in Educational Psychology at University of Wisconsin in 2000, and before that, three simultaneous B.A.s in 1993 at the University of Missouri—Columbia in Mathematics, English, and Religious Studies. She teaches Research in Online Virtual Worlds; Games, Learning, & Society; and Critical Instructional Practices on the Internet and runs the annual GLS Conference. She was an associate lecturer in Educational Psychology, a Spencer fellow, and writes online for and Terra Nova.

Current interests include the ways in which online play spaces align (or fail to align) with practices valued outside the game — specifically, informal scientific reasoning, collaborative problem-solving, and media literacy defined not just as critical media consumption but also and equally as media production (and therefore an understanding of design). She has been a siege princess, a mon calamari dancer, a human priest herbal/alchemist with a penchant for flowers in dangerous places, Wu the Lotus Blossom with a best friend named Dawn Star, a pudgy spaceman who orders around many small vegetable-ish creatures, a pink Master Chief, the misunderstood hero of the story, the last chance at world salvation destined to save the world (and the princess), god, and the master of a very big, big ball.


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