Video Archive


Playing with Perspectives Symposium (2022) – [Keynote] Play Nice: Empathy at the Heart of Design

On Friday, 2 December 2022 at 3:00p CST, University of Connecticut professor Dr. Stephen Slota gave a keynote address at the Playing with Perspectives Symposium hosted by Texas Christian University. The presentation, titled ‘Play Nice: Empathy at the Heart of Design,’ described subjectivity and identity; individuals’ positioning within and between complex systems; the relationship between empathy and perspective-taking; authorial intent; three levels of narrative; storytelling in contemporary transmedia properties; collaborative worldbuilding; and best practices for high-quality storytelling in education, training, and game design.

UConn iPad Conference (2022) – EOS-503: A Game for Teaching Visionary Leadership & Problem Solving

On Wednesday, 11 May 2022 at 9:30a EDT, University of Connecticut educational technology expert Dr. Stephen Slota shared a presentation about a soon-to-be-published game for teacher education and assessment, EOS-503, at the UConn Conference on Teaching and Learning with iPads, Chromebooks, and Cloud-Based Computing (2022). Among topics discussed:

  • UConn research centered on game-, play-, and story-based education;
  • Overarching instructional game design principles and processes;
  • The form and function of a free, publicly available, browser-based game for teaching visionary leadership and problem solving (EOS-503);
  • Relationships between ISTE Standards, best practices for technology integration, learning theory, and philosophies of education;
  • How EOS-503 players enact thought and action in line with in-service technology coaches/administrators;
  • The gameplay loop embedded throughout EOS-503;
  • How EOS-503 can be used to assess learning over time and support teacher professional development;
  • 1:1 alignment of learning and game/play objectives as grounded in a situated understanding of thinking and learning;
  • Affordances of EOS-503 for practicing rhetoric, persuasion, and mediation skills; and
  • Visionary leadership as taught through a simulated practicum experience.

To play EOS-503, visit:

Board Game Design Conference (2021) – A Degree in Game Design

On Friday, 21 May 2021 at 6:00p EDT, University of Connecticut Digital Media & Design faculty Dr. Stephen Slota, Kenneth Thompson, and Dr. James Coltrain led a presentation and Q&A session to answer “all the questions you’ve had about game design but were afraid to ask!” The trio described their respective backgrounds as game designers, educators, and researchers, then explored considerations for whether and how to pursue a degree in game design; the psychological, technical, and historical principles underlying game functionality and engagement; strategies for indie development; and exemplar projects from past and present University of Connecticut game design students (Digital Media & Design | Educational Technology).

Eastern Forum for Esports Coaching & Teaching – Virtual Panel (2021)

On Friday, 21 May 2021 at 8:00p EDT, the University of Connecticut and its partners hosted a virtual Eastern Forum for Esports Coaching & Teaching (EFFECT) panel for trainers, coaches, teachers, parents, players, and others interested in the intersection of esports and education. EFFECT connects individuals involved in the growing community of online gaming to discuss, organize, and implement meaningful esports team development, management, teaching, and outreach strategies.

Guest panelists included: Electronic Gaming Federation’s CEO Tyler Schrodt, Esports Manager for Connected Camps Bethany Pyles, and Esports Researcher/Learning Scientist Andrew Cochran.

Emergent vs Fixed Narrative [Something Witty About Stories]

On Friday, 23 April 2021, the University of Connecticut Game Development Club hosted a synchronous online conversation with Dr. Stephen Slota (Assistant Professor-in-Residence of Educational Technology, co-administrator of the UConn Educational Technology Program, and co-administrator within the UConn Digital Media & Design Game Design Program).

Among topics discussed:

  • Definitions of ‘game,’ ‘narrative,’ and ‘instructional game design’;
  • Authorial Intent vs. Death of the Author;
  • The ‘Three Levels of Narrative’ (i.e., Narrative-as-Designed, Narrative-as-Perceived, Narrative-as-Social Organizer);
  • Situated cognition, ecological psychology, life-worlds, and applications of learning science to game and narrative design;
  • ‘The Intentional Spring’ and its relevance in education, game design, and storytelling;
  • Definitions for ‘fixed’ vs. ’emergent’ narrative (including various examples);
  • Practical applications of the ADDIE instructional design model to narrative and game design;
  • 1:1 alignment of learning and game/play objectives as grounded in a situated understanding of thinking and learning;
  • Strategies to apply ‘fixed’ vs. ’emergent’ narrative in an instructional (game or otherwise) context (e.g., objective crosswalks, Courtroom 600, EOS-503); and
  • Communities of Practice and their emergence/evolution through spacetime.

The Gay Agenda: The Power of History as Storytelling – A Conversation with Nuri Sherif

On Thursday, 22 April 2021, the University of Connecticut’s Digital Media & Design DMD3522: Interactive Storytelling and EPSY5266: Instructional Media & Game Design courses (led by Dr. Stephen Slota, UConn Assistant Professor-in-Residence of Educational Technology) hosted a synchronous online conversation with public historian Nuri Sherif (they/them).

Through a brief examination of queer history and its use on the contemporary sociopolitical stage, this discussion explored: 1) how historians and others who engage in the production of history (including teachers and designers) construct the stories they tell; and 2) how we can (and should) ethically tell historical stories – understanding history as both ‘what happened’ as well as the narrative of what happened. Participants were encouraged to identify and weave together key elements of ethical storytelling to better appreciate the power of the past and its potential to shape the future.

Collaborative Worldbuilding – A Conversation with Dr. Trent Hergenrader

On 25 March 2021, the University of Connecticut’s Digital Media & Design DMD3522: Interactive Storytelling and EPSY5266: Instructional Media & Game Design courses (led by Dr. Stephen Slota, UConn Assistant Professor-in Residence of Educational Technology) hosted a synchronous online conversation with Rochester Institute of Technology’s Dr. Trent Hergenrader, professor of creative writing and author of the (2018) text Collaborative Worldbuilding for Writers and Gamers. Among topics discussed:

  • Story breadth, scope, structure, and perspective;
  • Pedagogical affordances of collaborative worldbuilding and roleplaying for K-12 and higher education classrooms;
  • Use of collaborative worldbuilding as a lens for understanding history, policy, culture, and personal identity; and
  • Comparisons of scripted vs. emergent narrative and affordances of both for teaching/learning and game design.

Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity – Instructional Game Design with Dr. Stephen Slota

Dr. Stephen T. Slota, Assistant Professor-in-Residence of Educational Technology and Digital Media & Design at the University of Connecticut, explores ways in which learning theory is embedded throughout the Nintendo Switch game Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity. This includes deconstruction of the game’s behavioral reinforcement techniques as well as reflection on how Age of Calamity and The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild are useful metaphors for theories of thinking and learning like information processing/schema theory and situated cognition.

Serious Games – Social Implications of Design

On 23 September 2020, the University of Connecticut’s Digital Media & Design DMD3998/5998: Serious Games course (led by Dr. Stephen Slota, UConn Assistant Professor-in-Residence of Educational Technology) engaged in a synchronous online discussion about Social Implications of Design; including:

  1. violence, gender/sexism, racism, ableism, and other challenges in digital environments (e.g., online games, movies, television, writing), and
  2. how we can build prosocial, collaborative communities of practice that lead to positive and just social outcomes.

The conversation featured two special guests – Drew John Ladd (Connecticut civil rights activist, author, public speaker, UConn alumnus, and unabashed gamer) and Andrea Kelley (UConn alumnus and current Univ. of Michigan-Ann Arbor Lecturer of Sociology whose research focuses on health, identity, and gender/sexualities) – who shared their experiences with and thoughts on the intersection of race, gender/sexuality, and more in the context of face-to-face/online/hybrid environments.

Exploding the Castle (2017) – Chapter 1: Castle Upon A Hill

An excerpt from the opening of the (2017) edited volume Exploding the Castle: Rethinking How Video Games & Game Mechanics Can Shape the Future of Education, part of the Psychological Perspectives on Contemporary Educational Issues series. It is intended to anchor collective thinking with respect to the value-added nature of games for learning and the complexities involved in player experience, narrative context, and environmental-player interactions. Rather than engage in debates about “gamification,” game violence, individual game quality, and other topics that have become standard fare in extant games literature, the text emphasizes issues of scalability, the induction of player goal adoption, affordances of game-based instructional environments, relationships between play and transfer, and the value of games as part of an ecopsychological worldview.

Full text is available through Information Age Publishing. Edited by Drs. Michael F. Young and Stephen T. Slota. Narration provided by Dr. Stephen T. Slota.