As the summer winds down, so does my conference schedule. However, I had the opportunity at the end of August to attend the Serious Play Conference at the DigiPen Institute of Technology in Redmond, WA. The event was a great mix of academics and practitioners, all excited to discuss the very latest on game development and design.

I was thrilled to hear from such renowned developers like WILL Interactive who demonstrated the capabilities of video-based interactive education. The top-quality demo showed how developing content with high production value truly enhances the learning experience. Pearson and Microsoft also had strong showings at the conference. Their industry experience enhanced the discussion on promoting games and simulations as vehicles for learning.

As a speaker at the conference, I had the opportunity to lead sessions on “Rigorous Methodologies and Skill Sets for the Simulation/Game Development Process” and “MindMeld – Collaboration with SME’s and the Value of Rigorous Processes.” Both discussions gave participants the opportunity to explore how collaboration within the development process leads to a better final product.

Each year at the event, serious games are selected as medal winners at the International Serious Play Awards. The program recognizes the outstanding work of the top twenty project submissions with corporate, military, healthcare and school/at home learning titles. I am very proud that four of this year’s project winners came from Wisconsin. The Play True Challenge and Distraction Dodger projects were both submitted by Web Courseworks.

Silver: Play True Challenge, World Anti-Doping Agency (Games for Good)

Silver: Emergency Birth, Engender Games Group Lab – University of Wisconsin-Whitewater (Games for Good)

Bronze: Distraction Dodger, Web Courseworks (Education)

Bronze: Virulent, Morgridge Institute for Research (At Home Learning)

Check out the rest of the award winning projects: