Jan L. Plass is the inaugural holder of the Paulette Goddard chair in Digital Media and Learning Sciences in the Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development at New York University, where he directs the programs in Educational Communication and Technology. He also co-directs the Games for Learning Institute and is the founding director of the CREATE Consortium for Research and Evaluation of Advanced Technology in Education. His research is at the intersection of learning science, cognitive sciences, and design, and seeks to enhance the design and effectiveness of visual environments. His current focus is on cognitive and emotional aspects of information design and interaction design of simulations and educational games for science education and second language acquisition.
Melissa Biles is a doctoral student in the Educational Communication and Technology Program at NYU. She has also been involved in research projects examining usability and learning outcomes for the Ready-to-Learn Partnership, Disney, United Laboratories, and the Music Together program. Her research interests include learning mechanics, game theory, executive function, decision-making, and the use of educational data mining and psychophysiological measures (e.g. eyetracking, EEG, fMRI) in games research. At CREATE, she is involved in ongoing research on game design with projects such as Noobs vs Leets, a geometry puzzle/strategy game for middle schoolers, and the analysis of large data sets from AppInventor.
Ralph Vacca has been collaboratively designing and researching transformative learning experiences for the past decade. He believes technology is a tool that can be a source of empowerment for populations that too often are left out of conversations for positive social change. He has extensive experience designing and facilitating the design of digital learning experiences, including working with NYC public school teachers, teaching game design in afterschool programs, designing games for social change, and co-founding a digital simulation design company. His research focuses on reflection and video games to promote self and relational awareness for social change.