Games for Change Conference

NYC in June
Games that can bring social change and justice to the world. There is also a design workshop 101 for making social issue games.

Games, Learning, and Society Conference

Madison, WI in June
About a $300 registration. One of the few major conferences devoted to games-based learning, with heavy-hitter speakers like Gee. They are mostly concerned with video games and digital media. From the site: “The Games, Learning, and Society group is a collection of academic researchers, interactive media (or game) developers, and government and industry leaders. Our core competence is in understanding how games work, and how game mechanics might be used to produce learning – both in and out of schools.”

European Conference on Games Based Learning (ECGBL)
International (2011 is in Greece) in October
Another rare conference devoted to games-based learning, although they seem to target the fields of science, math and economics. From the site: “The Conference offers an opportunity for scholars and practitioners interested in the issues related to GBL to share their thinking and research findings. Papers can cover various issues and aspects of GBL in education and training: technology and implementation issues associated with the development of GBL; use of mobile and MMOGs for learning; pedagogical issues associated with GBL; social and ethical issues in GBL; GBL best cases and practices, and other related aspects. We are particularly interested in empirical research that addresses whether GBL enhances learning.”

The Game Based Learning Conference

International in March
The Game Based Learning Conference is one of the largest events of its kind dealing with all aspects of games in learning. Game Based Learning built on this success and provided more depth by creating stimulating, challenging and provocative dialogue spaces at the intersection between the education, gaming, social media and consumer electronics sectors. There, policy makers, thought leaders, innovators and key practitioners met and exchanged ideas, knowledge and experiences as part of a unique ongoing conversation.

IGDA Education SIG Poster Presentations at the Game Developer’s Conference (GDC)
IGDA Game Education Special Interests Group
At the 2009 “Summit” game educators will discover experimental and inventive educational approaches that they can bring back to the classroom. This is a rare professional development opportunity for novice or experienced game educators alike. In this 2-day /2-track workshop we will be exploring areas of innovative design and programming. There will be game blasts, post-mortems, interactive hands-on workshop sessions, great keynote speakers, a poster session and a networking lunch with industry. Special invited keynotes will be given by Jane McGonigal and Jesse Schell. The overall goal is for participants of this workshop to be able to integrate knowledge gained into new classroom activities, resources, discussions and curricula.

DiGRA 2009 – Breaking New Ground: Innovation in Games, Play, Practice and Theory
International (Utrecht, Vancouver, Tokyo) in September
DiGRA is an organisation that embraces all aspects of game studies, and the conference aims to provide a diverse platform for discussion, and a lively forum for debate. We therefore welcome papers from any discipline focused on any aspect of games, play, game culture and the games industry.

The International Simulation and Gaming Association (ISAGA) 2009
International (Singapore, etc.) in July
From the site: We learn about games and simulations; and then we learn from games and simulations. Between the learning and the game are people, methodology, and technology. The theme acknowledges the idea that players should first learn how to play and participate before being able to learn. It also acknowledges the idea that teachers, trainers and researchers should learn about games and simulations, and how to use them. Then they may help their participants to reach through the methodology and technology to the games and simulations that they organize.

The International Conference on Digital Interactive Media in Entertainment and Arts

International in September
This conference is dedicated to build common ground between research, design and development, learning and collaboration in its myriad digital media forms: one of its many objectives is the exploration of ‘play & learn’, demonstrating new arenas and applications for digital gaming and incorporating leading edge technologies, designs and models in our changing views about what is involved in gaming.

North American Gaming and Simulation Conference
It’s not clear to what extent this conference focuses on educational, college-level games.

Meaningful Play Conference
October in East Lansing, Michigan
Meaningful Play 2010 brings scholars and industry professionals together to understand and improve upon games to entertain, inform, educate, and persuade in meaningful ways. The two primary themes of the conference are “exploring meaningful applications of games” and “issues in designing meaningful play”. The first theme includes an examination of games (of all types) from primarily an academic research perspective. The second theme focuses on much  more practical knowledge from the front-line of actual design, development, and use of games for meaningful purposes.

Serious Play Conference

August in Redmond, Washington

A conference sponsored by private companies and featuring industry speakers.  Topics seem to mostly focus on commercial uses of “serious play,” but the conference’s chief organizer, Clark Aldrich, is known for his publications on serious games and simulations for e-learning.

NY Games Conference

August in NYC

A self-described “industry event” for digital media companies seeking to network and swap cutting edge ideas about game design and the art of gamification.


April in various locations throughout the US

The brainchild of gamification guru, Gabe Zicherman, the GSummit brings together game design experts and business entrepreneurs. The primary goal of the summit is to promote the use of gamification for enterprise purposes, but the gamification of education is also a topic of interest.

NYU Practice Conference

November at NYU

This conference is hosted by the NYU Game Center. It is intended to bring together game designers to discuss and hone their craft. Educators interested in game-based learning are welcome and have an opportunity to glean ideas from professional game designers.

Popular Culture Conferences…

Popular culture conferences traditionally have pedagogy, Games Studies, or Media Studies tracks.

Oceanic Popular Culture Association Conference
Honolulu, HI in May
No website. Search through or

Southwestern Popular Culture Association (SWPCA)
February/Early March in Albuquerque, NM

Popular Culture Association (PCA)
April in New Orleans

Speculative/Sci-Fi Conferences

International Conference on the Fantastic in the Arts: Time and the Fantastic
Orlando, Florida in March

This is a very famous sci-fi con held in different international cities each year. It does not appear to have an academic track, or even designated game-playing.

Other Conferences

Northeast MLA

Northeast USA in February

Whole Language Umbrella

Columbia, SC in July

WLU is an NCTE Conference made up of whole language support groups and individual professionals interested in developing and implementing whole language in educational institutions. WLU is based on a view of whole language as a dynamic philosophy of education. It draws upon scientifically based research from many areas including psycholinguistics, socio-psycholinguistics, linguistics and cognitive psychology, and from on-going classroom research.

National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) Annual Convention

(Place, dates, and deadline TBA)

International Writing Across the Curriculum Conference

Games Conventions

These conventions are for playing games! (And studying them.)



February in Morristown, New Jersey


August in Indianapolis, IN


September in Atlanta, GA

Dragon*Con is the largest multi-media, popular culture convention focusing on science fiction and fantasy, gaming, comics, literature, art, music, and film in the US.


Biannual game-playing “recesses” in NYC

building CUNY Communities since 2009