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Sasha Barab, Director & Professor

Sasha Barab is executive Director of the Center, and a Professor in the School for the Future of Innovation in Society and the Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College at Arizona State University. He is a founding senior scientist and scholar of the Learning Sciences Institute and Director of the Center for Games & Impact. His research has resulted in numerous grants, dozens of articles and multiple chapters in published books, which investigate knowing and learning in its material, social and cultural context. He develops sustainable interventions and theoretical ideas to support a more knowledgeable, compassionate and committed citizenship.

Professor Barab designs and researches learning environments to assist children in developing their sense of purpose as individuals, as members of their communities and as knowledgeable citizens of the world. Central to this 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, creating a place in which what you know is directly related to what you are able to do and, ultimately, who you become.

Across his various work has been a commitment to understanding designing, scaling, and optimizing innovations for impact. Professor Barab’s design work has included everything from bounded games used in K-12 classrooms to multiuser virtual worlds with thousands of connected participants to game-enabled services designed to support users in achieving real-world goals. Across these innovations is a sensitivity to factors such as ecosystem integration, stakeholder alignment, storied truths, enacted agency, ongoing optimization, and sustainable and scalable outcomes.