Graduate School of Education
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Director, Learning Design Challenge, GSE Dean's Office
BioFor 20+ years, I have worked in the fields of international relief, development, and conflict resolution, building capacity in Eastern Europe, the Balkans, South Africa, Rwanda, Sudan, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan, as well as educating students in the U.S., Europe, and other countries who aspire to work in these fields.
Academics & Film
I've worked as an academic and filmmaker, creating educational documentaries on liberation movements around the world, which I've then used with university students in my classrooms. I've had several programs distributed by the Discovery Channel, which has been rewarding, but what has been especially remarkable to me is the response of my students. I've come to appreciate the power of narrative and immediacy of film to transform students' perceptions of the world and their place in it.
Along with an emphasis on narrative and immediacy, I've built interactive programs that draw students into learning through exploration and discovery - with a dynamically shifting experience based on student choice and response. I've also developed learning programs featuring advanced multiplayer simulations with both live and online interaction.
I've taken this work to scale. In my work for the U.S. Government and international humanitarian organizations, I've created courses that have been completed by tens of thousands of students and practitioners, not only at the State Department, USAID, relief agencies, and universities in the U.S., but also at comparable institutions in other countries, and even in internet cafes and refugee camps around the world. I've earned about a dozen awards for these various efforts.
Virtual Exchange & "Wicked" Global Problems
I am continuing this work here at Stanford. My focus now is on using new media and technology to bring university students in the U.S. and other high-income countries into extended contact with counterpart students in fragile states and zones of conflict to address complex problems that no single country can solve on its own. As students work collaboratively to address these "wicked" problems, we measure advances in learning and shifts in attitude through qualitative and quantitative methods.
This is an extraordinary time for those who use media and technology in teaching and learning. Blended in smart combinations, especially with traditional in-person learning, the new tools we have are powerful:
- Visual narrative, through its expression in digital cinema
- Expanding and interconnecting networks of lifelong learners
- Complex human interaction, including multiplayer games and simulations
- Complex machine interaction, including generative AI, dynamically responsive to learner needs
- Statistical data analysis, upon which to base informed, iterative human-centered design
- Worldwide electronic distribution, especially to inexpensive mobile devices
If we do this right, the world will be much better for it.