Frontiers in Playful Learning 2022

Wilbur Cross Building

1-3 June 2022

Games scholars at the University of Connecticut are pleased to announce the inaugural Frontiers in Playful Learning Conference to be held at the UConn Storrs campus from Wednesday, 1 June 2022 through Friday, 3 June 2022.




Register Here

General Registration: $150

Student Registration: $0 (for volunteers with applicable code)

Registration includes:

  • Entry into ALL Frontiers in Playful Learning events
    • Panels
    • Presentations
    • Unconference Sessions
    • Community Arcade
  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, Snacks (Days 1 & 2)
  • Breakfast, Lunch, Snacks (Day 3)
  • TWO (2) Free Drinks (per evening, Days 1 & 2)
  • Parking in UConn South Parking Garage (for commuters)
  • Parking at The Graduate Hotel (for overnight guests, 1-3 June 2022)
  • Block room rate at The Graduate Hotel ($159 per night, plus 15% state occupancy tax)

Keynote Speaker

Caro Murphy

Caroline Murphy—Caro (CARE-oh) for short—is a professional game and interactive experience designer. Beyond their primary work at Disney Live Entertainment as an Immersive Experience Director for the Star Wars Galactic Starcruiser, they serve as co-Executive Director of the Playable Theatre Company, a nonprofit that supports interdisciplinary creators engaged in designing, producing, and disseminating interactive live performative works.

Caro has taught undergraduate- and graduate-level game design and business of games coursework at Northeastern University, and they have previously led game design courses at MIT and Harvard. They are a co-founder of BostonFIG, a non-profit organization dedicated to cultivating the next generation of game creators, and they have created a number of independent playable works in their role as Chief Creative Officer of Incantrix Productions, an interactive theatre company. Apart from these endeavors, Caro partners with a variety of writers and designers from across the U.S. and around the globe to develop independent interactive games, media, and other projects.

Embodied Play as Learning

Wednesday, 1 June 2022 | 9:10a - 10:00a

Turning thought into action helps students actualize concepts, experience empathy, and discover new frontiers. For this keynote, Caro will discuss several case studies in which embodied practices are used in order to teach everything from statistics and history to social-emotional skills. Audience participation will be heavily encouraged as we put play into practice... together!

Over the last few years, a number of games, play, and learning scholars have expressed a shared desire for some sort of community-centered event that 1) puts specific focus on the academic side of games/play and 2) brings together experts engaged in contemporary learning science, educational technology, and game-based learning methods, analyses, and implementation (migrating away from a general 'games are potentially useful for education' discussion to something more about the position in which we [researchers, graduate students, academic communities] find ourselves after 10+ years exploring the field and, crucially, where we can and should go from here).

After much collaboration, feedback, and planning, Frontiers in Playful Learning has been organized for precisely this purpose. Together, we plan to:

  • Energize scholarly discourse about game- and play-based teaching and learning research goals, methodologies, and findings;
  • Connect members of the game- and play-based academic community who are using tabletop and digital games for instruction and/or designing tabletop and digital games to deliver intellectual, educational, and creative content; and
  • Provide an open-ended, playful context for discussion about current scholarly work in game- and play-based teaching and learning (e.g., Virtual Reality, Alternate Reality, Table-top RPGs, Living Card Games, Massively Multiplayer Online gaming, narrative game design, instructional games, esports, etc.)
IMPORTANTLY, this first iteration of Frontiers in Playful Learning is meant as a space for play- and game-based educators and scholars to decide how our shared community of practice should continue to evolve over the coming years, including: interdisciplinary research opportunities, 'big questions' about playful learning, best practices for instructional game design, and whether/how to host similar events in the future.

Although all are welcome, we especially encourage the participation of scholars with multiple years' experience in the realm of play-based teaching and research.

UConn ITE Building


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For general questions about Frontiers in Playful Learning, please contact:

Dr. Stephen T. Slota
Asst. Coordinator, Educational Technology
Assistant Professor-in-Residence of Educational Technology / Digital Media & Design
(860) 486-8926

Kenneth Thompson
Coordinator, Game Design
Assistant Professor-in-Residence of Digital Game Design

Dr. Michael F. Young
Coordinator, Educational Technology
Associate Professor of Educational Psychology
(860) 486-0182