Virtual Environments and Games & Simulations Networks Playground: Escape the Ordinary

Location: Room Park View Lobby

Explore and create

[Explore and create : Playground]

Tuesday, June 27, 2:00–5:30 pm
Location: Room Park View Lobby

Stephanie Carmichael   David Fliesen   Ben Gallagher   Adam Goodman   Dr. Michele Haiken   Mary Howard   Sherry Jones   Chris Luchs   Scott Merrick   Jessica Mlyniec   Robert Nakama   Kae Novak   Ryan Rasar   Len Scrogan   Barbara Seaton   Richard Tran   Kitty Tripp   Ann Ward   Andrew Wheelock   Mark Yap   Devin Young  
The Games & Simulations and Virtual Environments networks will provide a scaffolded experience using augmented reality, virtual reality, games and simulations. This will take a project-, problem- and challenge-based focus allowing participants to play along with an escape room challenge theme.

Skill level: Beginner
Attendee devices: Devices useful
Attendee device specification: Laptop: PC, Mac
Tablet: Android, iOS, Windows
Participant accounts, software and other materials: Access to the Internet and QR code reader.
Google Cardboard
Focus: Digital age teaching & learning
Topic: Augmented and virtual realities
Grade level: PK-12
ISTE Standards: Teachers : Design and develop digital age learning experiences and assessments
Students : Innovative designer
Students : Knowledge constructor

Digital tote resources

Proposal summary

Purpose & objective

The purpose of this playground is to provide educators with a space where they can collaboratively experience technologies and pedagogy that promote and model creative and innovative thinking and access a network of experienced educators to help them use virtual and augmented reality tools and environments to heighten engagement and collaborative thinking in their classrooms. Playground consultants are all leaders in the area of augmented reality, virtual reality and games and simulations.
They regularly use project based learning (PjBL), problem based learning (PBL) and challenge based learning (CBL) as part of their pedagogy.


The objectives are:

1) Provide hands on experiences in augmented reality and virtual reality

2) Provide resources through handouts, QR codes, and presentations for attendees to reference post conference.

3) Strengthen and build on existing member networks to facilitate and encourage collaboration throughout the year on member projects and initiatives.

4) Provide best practices and consultation to groups and individuals for members to specifically address their interests and the challenges they are facing as they are trying to implement project-based, problem-based and challenge-based learning at their schools and colleges.

5) Introduce educators to Escape Room, game design and puzzle elements that they can utilize to challenge their classes.

Each of these stations will include computers and devices where participants can experience the game and have hands-on opportunities to learn from experienced educators. Our consultants will not only work with groups but also allow very focused discussions about an individual's challenges.

The playground will have an opening keynote, 30 minute presentations, a closing keynote and will end with the Virtual Environments Network's annual meeting.

As many sessions as possible will be livestreamed over Periscope.

Supporting research


Jones S.(2016). Understanding the Pokemon Go phenomenon through augmented reality research. In Curran, M. and Jenkins, W. (Eds.), ISTE Digital Citizenship PLN Pokémon Go - Back to School Advice (ISTE Games & Simulations Network Trying to Catch’Em All). p. 122 - 124. ***

Georgia Tech’s Augmented Environments Research Lab bibliography***

Keneman, A., & Waller, R. (2016). Augmented Reality in the Classroom. Literacy Practice & Research, 41(3), 5-8.***

Luchs, C.(2016). PokemonGo, augmented reality and transferable skills. In Curran, M. and Jenkins, W. (Eds.), ISTE Digital Citizenship PLN Pokémon Go - Back to School Advice (ISTE Games & Simulations Network Trying to Catch’Em All). p.125. ***

Novak, K.(2016). PokemonGo and other mobile augmented reality games professional development. In Curran, M. and Jenkins, W. (Eds.), ISTE Digital Citizenship PLN Pokémon Go - Back to School Advice (ISTE Games & Simulations Network Trying to Catch’Em All). p. 130 -131. ***


While Escape Rooms are a popular trend, research on best practices in education is still emerging. The following are some articles on Escape Rooms in the popular press.***

Stone, Z. (2016, July 28). The rise of educational escape room. The Atlantic Retrieved from***

California Polytechnic State University***
Students in the project based Liberal Arts and Engineering Studies at Cal Poly are developing escape rooms to collaborate with students at Queensland University of Technology in Australia (LAES escape room project, 2015)***

Nicholson, S. (2015). Peeking behind the locked door: A survey of escape room facilities. White Paper. Retrieved from***

4 Tips to Running an Escape Room at Your Library. (2016). American Libraries, 47(9/10), 17.***

O'Reilly, K. (2016). Libraries on Lockdown. American Libraries, 47(9/10), 14-17.***

Rasmus, & Thoegersen, J. (2016). Pure Escapism. Library Journal, 141(12), 24.***


Hoge, B. (2013). Authentic learning through GBL: Using inquiry and PBL strategies to accomplish specific learning outcomes through smart games in formal and informal settings. Proceedings Of The IADIS International Conference On Cognition & Exploratory Learning In Digital Age, 363-366. ***

Walker, A., Leary, H., Hmelo-Silver, C., & Ertmer, P. (Eds.). (2015). Essential Readings in Problem-Based Learning: Exploring and Extending the Legacy of Howard S. Barrows. Purdue University Press. ***


Dede, Chris. "Immersive interfaces for engagement and learning." Science 323.5910 (2009): 66-69.***

Ketelhut, Diane Jass et al. "A multi‐user virtual environment for building and assessing higher order inquiry skills in science." British Journal of Educational Technology 41.1 (2010): 56-68.***

Lau, K. W., & Lee, P. Y. (2015). The use of virtual reality for creating unusual environmental stimulation to motivate students to explore creative ideas. Interactive Learning Environments, 23(1), 3-18.***

O’Connor, E. A. (2015). Open Source Meets Virtual Reality—An Instructor’s Journey Unearths New Opportunities for Learning, Community, and Academia. Journal Of Educational Technology Systems, 44(2), 153-170.***

Vojtek, R. (2016) Google, Cardboard and iOS Apps. Virtual Education Journal, Winter 2016. P. 23 - 30. ***

The Virtual Education Journal (VEJ) is co-edited by Robert and Rosie Vojtek who are officers in ISTE Virtual Environments Network. The Winter 2016 was dedicated to applied articles on augmented and virtual reality.



Stephanie Carmichael, Classcraft

Stephanie is the Head of Content for Classcraft and the editor-in-chief of the Classcraft Blog ( Classcraft is redefining the classroom experience by transforming classroom management into a game. With over 2.5 million users worldwide, Classcraft empowers students to work together in fun, new ways and helps them foster critical 21st-century skills necessary to thrive in tomorrow's job market. A former games journalist, Stephanie is a proud advocate of games for social good and loves talking with teachers about their amazing experiences in the classroom.

David Fliesen, Sine Wave Entertainment

Ben Gallagher, Melton Primary School

Adam Goodman, Marble Falls Independent School District

Dr. Michele Haiken, Rye Middle School/Manhattanville College

Mary Howard, Grand Island Central Schools

Mary Howard is a sixth grade teacher in Western New York State. She considers herself a FEARLESS educator and an early adopter of many EdTech. Mary attempts to create a culture of inquiry in her classroom and hopes to build future innovators Her blog, features many of her EdTech pursuits including an Augmented Reality Sandbox that she uses in her classroom as well as the use of Virtual Reality/Virtual Environments in her classroom. She has presented throughout New York State and numerous other conferences including MACUL (Michigan) and at ISTE Philadelphia and ISTE Denver.

Sherry Jones, Rocky Mountain College of Art +Design

Chris Luchs, Colorado Community College System

Scott Merrick, Metro Nashville Public Schools

Scott is a K-8 educator in Nashville, Tennessee who is perennially curious about the relationship between learning and teaching and virtual environments. He has been attending ISTE Conferences since before they were called that! (Think NECC.)

Jessica Mlyniec, Dig-It! Games

As an elementary teacher, Jessica Mlyniec has been incorporating games into her Virginia classroom in order to motivate and build stronger reasoning skills for her students. She has found that gamifying her classroom and supplementing instruction with game-based learning has encouraged her students to be active participants in their learning. Currently, Jessica is working for Dig-It! Games as the Education Outreach Specialist to help design games that can be supplemental to curriculum and still maintain elements of fun and engagement.

Robert Nakama, University of Hawaii CRDG

Kae Novak, Front Range Community College

Ryan Rasar, Nevada Virtual Academy

I live in Henderson, NV and am the STEM Coordinator for Nevada Virtual Academy, an online public charter school. I'm passionate about integrating STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) across grades K-12 and teaching students the skills necessary to be creators of the technology of tomorrow, not just consumers of the technology of today. I am an advocate of school choice and believer that students need help and encouragement from mentors, teachers, parents, family and friends to develop their unique talents. On the weekends you'll find me on a golf course, relaxing with my family, or cheering for the Seattle Seahawks.

Len Scrogan, University of Colorado-Denver

A former teacher, principal, and technology director for the Boulder Valley Schools, Len is currently a Digital Learning Architect at the University of Colorado-Denver. He is also a blogger, TEDx speaker (2x), SXSW speaker (2x), and recognized ed-tech author and conference speakerLen serves as the online community manager for LinkedIn’s Stereo 3D Media and Technology online community of 9,500+ members. Len is also a board member for the ISTE 3D and VR Network, an expert panelist on the 2015, 2016, 2017 international Horizon reports, and serves as a national judge for the Technology & Learning software awards.

Barbara Seaton, University of North Georgia

Richard Tran, University of Hawaii at Manoa

Kitty Tripp, Clover School District

Kitty Tripp, an innovative educator with 19 years in the field of education has experience not only as a teacher and district office administrator, but also in wide variety of experiences integrating technology into the classroom. She has helped teachers, administrators and district office leaders create and implement a digital learning mindset. She currently teaches 3rd grade at John C. Webb Elementary in Navasota, Texas. Follow Kitty on Twitter @kitty_tripp, @tripps_class or visit her blog at

Ann Ward, Melton Primary School

Andrew Wheelock, Erie 1 Boces/ WNYRIC

Mark Yap, University of Hawaii CRDG

Devin Young, Classcraft

Based in New York City, Devin is the co-founder and President of Classcraft. Classcraft is redefining the classroom experience by transforming classroom management into a game. With over 2.5 million users worldwide, Classcraft empowers students to work together in fun, new ways and helps them foster critical 21st-century skills necessary to thrive in tomorrow's job market. Well-versed in education and experience design, Devin leads the product design, illustration, marketing and community team.

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June 25-28, 2017

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