Meet A #sydswedu 2014 Mentor – Dr. Bron Stuckey


Last time we spoke to Peter Argent from Coder Factory. Today we introduce you to Dr. Bron Stuckey (@bronst) who will be a mentor for Sydney Startup Weekend EDU 2014

Here’s our conversation with Bron about learning communities and gamification in education. Read on…

Bron7Bron, please introduce yourself to our audience?

I am a consultant specialist in game play, gamification, communities of practice and learning communities. I have been engaged in educational community and games in learning development for the past 15 years. And am now a post doctoral research fellow of the Arizona State University Center for Games & Impact and director of my own educational consultancy. 

I have worked to explore virtual worlds, games in learning and how we can cultivate identity, agency, citizenship, leadership, and community for students and teachers. My role in the global communities of PLANE, Massively Minecraft and Quest Atlantis has lead to some breakthrough understandings about how gaming and digital citizenship need to be treated as a lived curriculum.

I  have been invited to speak internationally on issues of games in learning and gamification and will be presenting in early 2014 at the Gamification Summit in San Francisco and the Serious Play Summit in July, speaking on gamification for community cultivation.

What is your area of expertise?

My areas of expertise are several:

  • games in learning
  • educational communities
  • networking and communities of practice
  • gamification
  • professional learning
  • social learning contexts.

What motivated you to go into the above areas?

I was motivated by a realization that games and virtual world offered students access to rich often highly authentic or creative learning experiences. These experiences are as individuals or as part of diverse communities formed around MMO game environments. I work to encourage teachers to also learn in these environments and have trained teachers around the globe to use virtual worlds and games in their teaching.

Most recently gamification has been an interesting coming together of my passions; community, games and learning. I have researched, designed and evaluation games and game inspired programs for professional learning and curriculum programs in schools. As I encounter them I am blogging about these cases on my Community Capers blog http://communitycapers.wordpress.com/  

What are your expectations from the SWEDU event?

I think SWEDU is a unique opportunity for educators and developers to learn each others language and inspire each other to develop products that are both relevant to curriculum and inspiring in their designs. These kinds of partnerships need to happen early in any educational product’s design to ensure they meet market needs and actually get implemented in the contexts they are designed for. That being said developers really need to scaffold educators in the possibilities for innovative methods of learner engagement. I imagine each of us will be leading and learning over the course of designing together and have much to offer each other. Whether we come away from SWEDU with an ongoing relationship or a product to develop, the cause of educational technology will be advanced by us having shared and collaborated.

What do you think schools/colleges would look like in 5 years?

Schools and colleges in coming years will all have to offer more personalized and blended learning contexts if they are to survive. And I would have to say that any teacher who could be replaced by a tool or an app should be. Teachers AND technology will be an important part of the future but both are going to have to lift their game. Tools, software and apps cannot be dumbed down to kids, they are far too media savvy for that today. I think much of the educational technology in 5 years will need to be highly mobile to allow for students working across various physical contexts. It needs to be social in order to connect learners to a world beyond their classrooms and the practices of their fields of study. There may be many more adults involved in learning activities than there are now as mentors, thought leaders, partners, clients and counselors and technology has to be developed to effectively accommodate this.

What are the trends/challenges that you see for education in the future?

Trends and challenges will have to include global social learning and that will definitely include games and game-inspired contexts. Most educational games to date suck! They hit learners over the head with the message of the game right from the opening screens and appear not to heed any of the lessons learned by commercial game designs. Some teachers are doing better bringing off the shelf games into the classroom and building the educational bridge into them. There is a void here that designers are not serving well and that’s often because they have not engaged educators and learners as true partners in the design process. We do need educational games but we need them to be a match to next practice pedagogies and inspire learners. I’m not excited by better gradebooks, LMSs or management tools. We need tools to inspire us to think of learning in many diverse and connected ways and that’s a big challenge to break free of what we already know and take the risk to develop something people may not yet know they need.

What are some ways to keep updated about Edtech news/events in Sydney?

To keep up with EdTech I am part of a number of online groups. But I found I needed to balance that with the option for face-to-face exchange of knowledge and I jumped at the chance to join the Sydney Edutech group. I have attended a number of sessions and I find the mix of educators, designers, programmers and enterprise engagement makes for a very fertile dialog. While being engaged online can be effective you just can’t beat the personalization and serendipity of meeting and exchanging ideas face-to-face.

About #sydswedu 2014

When: 27th June 2014 – 29th June 2014
Where: Muru-D Campus, 363 Oxford St., Paddington, NSW Australia.
Event Website: http://sydneyedu.startupweekend.org/
Tickets: Please purchase your tickets at the Eventbrite page


About Atul Pandey

Atul has always been passionate about Edutech and founded the Sydney Educational Technology community in Feb 2012 while looking for like minded people interested in EduTech. Atul is the founder of www.wisekangaroo.com, a provider of digital English language learning products, that empowers non-native English speakers around the world on their customized path to English fluency as per their specific learning needs.