The Best of Commercial Game Development & Learning Sciences

CGI Brown Bag Speaker Series with Dan White, CEO, and Dan Norton, Lead Game Designer, of Filament Games, October 15, 2013.

About Filament Games

Filament Games is a game production studio that exclusively creates learning games. Our core competency is producing games that combine best practices in commercial game development with key concepts from the learning sciences. Accordingly, our senior staff is comprised of individuals who are equal parts game and instructional designers; a “dual literacy” that allows us to engineer authentic gameplay mechanics (rules and interactions that directly correlate with specific learning objectives). The titles in our portfolio – including 3D games, web games, and mobile games – cover a diversity of topics, ranging from the sciences to the humanities. Every game we make is subject to an extremely high standard of quality, extending to often neglected areas like accessibility, usability, efficacy, and visual/auditory fidelity.

Filament Games was founded in 2005 by game designer Dan Norton, education technology expert Dan White, and software engineer Alex Stone. In the time since, Filament has developed over 50 educational games for clients ranging from National Geographic’s JASON Science to Justice Sandra Day O’Connor’s iCivics Inc. We have also developed a proprietary isometric game engine called Flare that allows us to develop high quality Flash games efficiently and effectively.

World of Newscraft with Dan Gillmor

World of Newscraft with Dan Gillmor, September 25, 2013.

Gaming Education Reform

CGI Brown Bag with Michael Levine, March 20, 2013 in the Ira D. Payne Education Hall West.


Michael H. Levine is the founding executive director of the Joan Ganz Cooney Center at Sesame Workshop, an action research and innovation hub devoted to harnessing the potential of digital media to advance young children’s learning and development. Levine also serves in a senior executive position on Sesame Workshop’s leadership team, concentrating on policy and educational impact for the global media non-profit.

The Cooney Center conducts research, develops breakthrough prototypes and design challenges, informs practice, and convenes leaders to promote investments in high quality media experiences for vulnerable youth. Prior to joining the Center, Dr. Levine served as Vice President of New Media and Executive Director of Education for Asia Society, managing the global nonprofit’s interactive media and educational initiatives to promote understanding of Asia and other world regions, languages and cultures. Previously, Dr. Levine oversaw Carnegie Corporation of New York’s groundbreaking work in early childhood development, educational media and primary grades reform, and was a senior advisor to the New York City Schools Chancellor, where he directed dropout prevention, afterschool, and early childhood initiatives. Dr. Levine has served as an adviser to several government agencies including the White House, the U.S. Department of Education, PBS and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, and writes frequently for policy-oriented and media industry audiences including the Huffington Post, Democracy Journal and Education Week. He serves on numerous nonprofit boards and advisory councils, including the Forum for Youth Investment, Teach for America, We Are Family Foundation, Sirius Thinking Foundation, and the Leman School.

Learning for Social Impact Initiative

CGI Brown Bag with Laura Callanan, February 27, 2013 in the ASU Memorial Union. Co-sponsored by ASU Global Institute of Sustainability.

Laura CallananLaura Callanan is an independent consultant, author and teacher in the field of social innovation and social impact assessment. Currently, Laura is Scholar in Residence with the Center for Nonprofit and Public Leadership at UC-Berkeley’s Haas School of Business.

From 2008-2013, Laura was a consultant with McKinsey & Company’s Social Sector Office where she led work on foundation strategy and social innovation. As part of this work, she developed the Learning for Social Impact initiative. Her presentation will focus on best practices for social impact assessment, drawing on ideas contained in the white paper(see Learning for Social Impact: What Foundations Can Do), and McKinsey’s 3-step model for Learning Driven Assessment, and her wealth of experience on what works.

Laura was the lead author of From Potential to Action: Bringing Social Impact Bonds to the US, the most comprehensive report on this new public-private approach to scaling social services. She also was the primary investigator on a study Supporting Leaders Who Scale What Works, which looked at the capabilities and opportunities social sector leaders need to succeed.

Prior to joining McKinsey, she served as Senior Adviser at the United Nations Development Programme in the Bureau for Crisis Prevention and Recovery. In her capacity as Executive Director of The Prospect Hill Foundation, Laura had led all aspects of the Foundation’s strategy development and grant making in the areas of environmental conservation, reproductive health and rights, and nuclear non-proliferation. She also served as Associate Director at The Rockefeller Foundation, where she had general management responsibility for all activities related to the $3 billion endowment, and investment responsibility for the Foundation’s venture capital and private equity portfolio.

Laura was a member of the Foundation’s Program Venture Experiment (ProVenEx) commitment committee and oversaw investment decisions for program-related investments and similar public-private activities. Laura’s undergraduate degree is from Barnard College of Columbia University and she holds an Master’s in Public Administration from the School of International and Public Administration of Columbia University. Laura is a frequent speaker at leading social sector conferences including the Skoll World Forum, SoCap, the annual Independent Sector Conference, and the Social Impact Exchange. She is an adjunct professor at New York University’s Stern School of Business where she teaches on the nonprofit capital marketplace.

Read more about Laura and the work discussed in the McKinsey and Company white paper, Learning for Social Impact.

This is Not a Game: Using Embodied Interaction to Teach Reading Comprehension

CGI Brown Bag with Dr. Art Glenberg, January 30, 2013 in the ASU Memorial Union.

Dr. Arthur Glenberg is a Professor at the Department of Psychology. How do words, objects, and events become meaningful to us? Dr. Glenberg and his students are attacking these problems by developing an embodied theory of cognition. For their research, meaning consists of the set of actions one can take in particular situations, and those actions are a function of the physical situation, how one’s body works, and one’s experiences. Dr. Glenberg’s recent work has demonstrated a) how actions in a situation are an essential prerequisite for new learning; b) how language comprehension takes advantage of one’s knowledge of how actions can be combined; and c) how linguistic structures coordinate with action-based knowledge to result in language comprehension. He has also begun to investigate application embodiment theories to enhance children’s reading comprehension and mathematical problem solving.

Read more about his work in embodied reading comprehension: Glenberg, A. M. (2011). How reading comprehension is embodied and why that matters. International Electronic Journal of Elementary Education, 4, 5-18.