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Anna Arici, Senior Research Scientist

Dr. Anna Arici is Research Faculty in the School for the Future of Innovation in Society and Senior Research Scientist at the Center for Games and Impact, where her work involves the design, curriculum, and research of game-infused learning environments for societal challenges, change and impact. She is currently leading an NSF funded program called ‘STEM Mio,’ creating college and career pathways for Latino youth in the STEM areas. In collaboration with HACU (Hispanic Assoc of Colleges & Universities) and VME (Spanish Public Television, creating an affiliated TV series), the STEM Mio team is designing, optimizing, and researching a series of game-infused project-based Quests and Missions that support middle-school students in a long-term process; from exploring STEM through games and maker spaces, matching personal interests to aligned careers, gaining real world STEM experience, and attending campus tours, to applying to colleges. STEM Mio is designed to be engaged by students with their families, to help scaffold the STEM and college experience for the larger community.

Dr. Arici also led the development of Quest2Teach, a series of game-infused curricula and social- professional network designed specifically for teacher education. These 3D immersive curricula are now incorporated into the MLFTC’s teacher preparation program to help bridge between student’s educational theory and its application into the field. In these game environments, teachers play out different scenarios with virtual students, see the consequences of their choices via game trajectories, and share experiences with a network of colleagues. Dr. Arici is also collaborating with Intel to create game-infused learning platforms and interactive experiences for professional development within their Intel Educate programs, which reach 10 million educators worldwide. Central to her work has been the understanding of the value in transformational play. Students who play in this manner become agents of change who use real-world knowledge, skills and concepts to make sense of a situation and then make choices that actually transform their play space and themselves. Dr. Arici’s research demonstrates the value of game platforms for both learning and motivation, while illuminating the importance of interaction, context, and agency in the process.