ConverJent Founder and Director; Game Designer
Rabbi Gottlieb brings an eclectic background in software development, writing for film and television, secular scholarship, and the rabbinate to Games for Jewish Learning. He is a Jim Joseph Fellow and Ph.D. Candidate at NYU in Education and Jewish Studies, specializing in Digital Media and Games for Learning.
Rabbi Gottlieb founded ConverJent in 2010 to bring the latest in research on the power of Games for Learning and game design to the Jewish community. Games can enhance learning environments, providing excitement and delight to Jewish learners. In addition to digital design and development, ConverJent uses game design as a form of inquiry-based study of Jewish culture, history and sacred texts. ConverJent has received a Signature Grant from the Covenant Foundation funding a new mobile learning game to teach Jewish history.
Rabbi Gottlieb is a sought after teacher, and has taught and presented at conferences and venues around the country including the Games Learning and Society Conference, The Central Conference of American Rabbis, URJ Kutz Camp, The Hebrew Union College (NY and LA), Rabbis Without Borders, and The National Havurah Institute.
Jennifer Ash is a user researcher and game designer, who has focused on how games can be used for meaningful play. Her work has included designing for mathematical fluency, emotional contagion and gesture, and for those who have been disabled.
Ash holds a dual-degree in Games and Simulation Arts and Sciences (BS), with a focus on Human-Computer Interaction, and Psychology (BS) from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and an M.A. in Digital Media Design for Learning from New York University. Previous professional experiences include associate game designer on Club Penguin DS at 1st Playable Productions, and User Experience Designer for z/OS and a member of the Academic Initiative for System z team at IBM. In 2012, she was selected as one of the IGDA Scholars for GDC.
Jennifer Ash is a member of the International Game Developers Association, Association for Computing Machinery, and the American Psychology Association. She has participated in various mentoring activities, largely involving STEM encouragement, often lending her knowledge and presenting on Intro to Game Design.
Ash works as a user researcher at Bungie.
Liza Singer is currently an Asst. Producer at Scholastic Media, who spends her free time working as a freelance animator/illustrator and game designer. She received her Master’s from Interactive Telecommunications Program (ITP) in Interactive Narrative Design at New York University (NYU) and holds a BA in Narrative Media and Entertainment Technologies. She is a two time IGDA Scholar for E3 and CEDEC 2012 and finalist in the 2011 Microsoft Imagine Cup. Her animated installation “Breathe Life In” is currently on display at the IAC Building and was showcased at the NYU Tisch Gala 2012.
Her interdisciplinary skills as a writer, illustrator and developer enable her to seamlessly integrate all aspects of game development. She aims to push the boundaries of traditional narrative media, using game mechanics and interactivity to create individualized narrative experiences with realistic character-player relationships, to enhance and enrich storytelling as a means to entertain, educate, communicate and engage.
Justin is an illustrator/designer from upstate New York. Visit his site.
Diane De Fazio
Diane De Fazio holds a B. A. in History from Fordham University, studied interior design and architectural history at Parsons School of Design, and earned her M. S. in Historic Preservation from Columbia University. Her graduate thesis, “Like Blood to the Veins: Escalators, their History, and the Making of the Modern World,” remains one of the only histories of the escalator ever written. A professional researcher and writer, she has worked for the Metropolitan Museum of Art, NYU Press, and John Wiley & Sons, as well as several other cultural institutions. She leads private walking tours of Grand Central Terminal, Brooklyn, and Manhattan.
Dr. Jonathan Krasner
Jonathan Krasner is Associate Professor of the American Jewish Experience at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in New York. His book, The Benderly Boys and American Jewish Education, which was published by Brandeis University Press (2011), won the 2011 National Jewish Book Award in American Jewish Studies and was a finalist for the Sami Rohr Prize for Jewish Literature. Jonathan received his Ph.D. in Jewish history at Brandeis (2002) and an Ed.M. from Harvard University (1995). His articles have appeared in a variety of venues, including theJournal of Jewish Education, Jewish Social Studies,American Jewish History, the American Jewish Archives Journal, Shofar, The Lion and the Unicorn, The Women Who Remade American Jewish Education, and Queer Jews. Jonathan and his family live in Andover, Massachusetts.
ConverJent collaborates with the ARIS team on Jewish Time Jump: New York. The game/simulation and interactive story is built on and runs on the ARIS platform, which is open source and free on iOS devices. Numerous additions were made to the ARIS platform as a part of the design process for the game.
David Gagnon (Director)
David Gagnon is an instructional designer with the ENGAGE program at the University of Wisconsin, Madison where he consults with faculty about innovative teaching practices that leverage emerging media and an active member of the Games, Learning and Society Research community where he directs the mobile learning team and ARIS Project.David has an B.S in computer science an M.S in curriculum and instruction and has managed numerous educational media projectsover the last 6 years, specializing in computer simulation, gaming and mobile media. He was co author on two papers last year and gave over 25 talks on the topics of game design, mobile learning and educational social media, becoming increasingly interested in exploring the edges of design in these areas through community building, experimentation and rapid prototyping.
Jim is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction (Educational Communications and Technology). His research interests include mobile learning, Augmented Reality gaming, self-organized learning groups, location-based interactive storytelling and place-based learning. Through his work at the Local Games Lab Jim designs and researches mobile-based games and curriculum aimed at connecting students and teachers with their local communities. Jim also has fifteen years experience as a high school teacher. His communication arts-based curriculum helps students investigate their local communities through documentary filmmaking, photography, creative writing, and service learning.
Phil Dougherty is a fourth-year undergrad at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, set to graduate with a BS in both Computer Sciences and Philosophy in May of 2012. Phil’s experience working on ARIS has established a strong interest in the field of game design, and has opened his eyes to the very real application of games beyond just play.Phil was introduced to ARIS via David Gagnon, after placing 2nd in a campus-wide programming contest with his entry of an automated beirut table. He has helped with the programming of ARIS since April of 2011.Also, he often sports an absolutely dashing bowtie.
Jacob Hanshaw is in his third year of study at the University of Wisconsin-Madison pursuing a B.S. degree in Computer Engineering and Computer Science. He joined the design team as an intern building a variety of microcontroller projects designed to make virtual interactions affect the environment and to translate actions in the environment to virtual data for a mixed reality simulation. He is currently working as an ARIS developer and is excited about the opportunity ARIS creates for learning and experiencing the environment around an individual in greater depth.
Chris Holden received his Ph.D. in Mathematics from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2008. While there, he spent two years designing and playing augmented reality games with the Local Games Lab, and several more in the the basement of the teacher education building with the cool kids, studying videogames and learning. Now he’s an assistant professor in the University Honors Program at the University of New Mexico in his hometown of Albuquerque. There he designs augmented reality games using ARIS, and also uses ARIS as a design tool in some of the classes he teaches. His big project at the moment, a collaboration with Dr. Julie Sykes, is Mentira, an ARIS game for Spanish language learning that is played as part of the UNM 202 Spanish curriculum. While not taking over the world with augmented reality, he cares for his 3 cats and 5 chickens. His favorite games are still DDR and Katamari Damacy.