Portrait Photograph of David J. Gagnon

David J. Gagnon

Director, Field Day Lab

Wisconsin Center for Education Research

David is a researcher at WCER. He’s also a programmer, game designer, and passionate advocate for using games to understand and transform how kids learn. David is the co-founder of the PLAY MAKE LEARN conference and the Games and Learning Summit. He serves as a PI on several research projects that explore the following topics in video games: educational data mining, co-design, mixed reality (VR, AR), and location-based games.
David created ARIS, an open-source game design platform that has supported the development of thousands of location-based AR projects and hundreds of educational papers. David’s work supports other research, from the Open Game Data project, which shares our game data with educational researchers, to Field Day’s teacher fellowship program, which serves as a site to study teachers’ professional growth.
David has been the producer or lead designer for over a dozen award-winning games in topics ranging from engineering, science, and mathematics to history and music. He has been an invited guest or keynote speaker for the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, the MacArthur Foundation, the Pearson Foundation, Serious Play, and several smaller workshops and conferences.
David casts a vision that gets other people excited about joining in the work. He understands the realities of how educational issues affect kids, which allows him to stick unwaveringly to his values. David brings energy and enthusiasm to every project, from research to game design.


Video games for High Quality and Equitable Learning

Our lab has developed games that are used my millions of learners every year. Why do we do it? In this talk we will discuss the power and promise of games as an optimal learning environment as well as explore some of the most inspiring projects we’ve produced over the last few years, from Journalism to Shipwrecks.

Open (Learning) Science with Open Game Data

Open Science attempts to expose the various stages of discovery to improve the overall velocity and quality of the enterprise. In this talk we will explore Open Game Data, a collaborative project to accelerate learning science and learning engineering using the rich data created by educational games.

10 years and 20,000 Augmented Reality Learning Games Later, stories from the field

From 2010 to 2020 I supported a community of worldwide augmented reality learning designers through a technology called ARIS. By the end of the project, over 20,000 location-based augmented reality learning games were made to teach history, science, civics and just about anything you can imagine. In this talk I will synthesize all this experimentation and pull out some of the most inspiring uses of Augmented Reality for teaching and learning.


Additional Resources: