Save the Date!

August 13-14, 2018

Questions? Send us an email!
We'd be happy to answer them for you!

Conference Agenda Overview

Stay tuned for agenda details for the 2018 conference


Lodging is available through a group rate at the Lowell Center or Hampton Inn.

Our Story

The Play Make Learn Collective stemmed from the collective interest in creating an innovative conference to promote play and learning research, industry, and practice.


Exciting new games and game systems will available for playing


Maker labs and game jams will parallel the sessions all day


Presentations and discussions around gaming, making, and personalized learning

Conference Focus


  • Game design
  • Learning Games
  • ARIS
  • Field Day
  • Gear Learning
  • Games industry
  • Games in K-12
  • Games in Higher Ed


  • Making in a school district
  • Making at a tech school
  • Making at a public library

Personalized Learning

  • Conferring in personalized learning settings
  • Current research on personalized learning practices
  • CESA 1 personalized learning model

How Play Make Learn came to be

This conference grew out of partnerships among Games + Learning + Society, Filament Games, the Learning Games Network, the Playful Learning Conference, the Wisconsin Collaborative Education Research Network and others who see a need to collaborate around making, playing, and learning in research, industry, and practice.

  • Filament Games
  • Field Day
  • Gear Learning
  • Learning in the Making
  • Personalization in Practice


Play Make Learn is proud of its many sponsors including the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction, Education Outreach and Partnerships, The Network, School Of Education, and Wisconsin Center for Education Research.

Conference Organizers

Rich Halverson

Rich Halverson is a Professor in Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis at UW-Madison. He is a former high school teacher and administrator, and earned an MA in Philosophy and a PhD in the Learning Sciences from Northwestern University. He holds affiliate appointments in Educational Psychology and Curriculum and Instruction Departments, and is a Fellow at the Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery. Halverson leads Personalization in Practice, a study documenting how teachers, leaders, and students experience personalized learning in Wisconsin.

Erica Halverson

Erica Halverson is an associate professor of digital media and literacy in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Her work focuses on what it means to learn in and through the arts across a range of contexts, including out-of-school arts organizations, museums, libraries, and arts-based classrooms. In 2010 she received the Jan Hawkins Award for Early Career Contributions to Humanistic Research and Scholarship in Learning Technologies for her research on how filmmaking serves as a vehicle for positive identity development and sophisticated literacy learning for young people who are disaffiliated from school. Halverson co-directs with Kimberly Sheridan the Learning in the Making research lab, where they are currently focused on what and how young people learn through making and how new technologies can be leveraged for more inspired and engaged making processes.

David Gagnon

David Gagnon is the program director of the Field Day Lab in the Wisconsin Center for Educational Research at University of Wisconsin, Madison. He directs a team of educational researchers, software engineers, artists and storytellers that explore the intersections of learning science and media design, specializing in mobile media, video games and simulation. David is also the Director of the ARIS project, a free and open tool that allows anyone to produce mobile games, stories and tours.

Mike Beall

Mike Beall is the Director of Gear Learning at the Wisconsin Center for Education Research. He is a lifelong game enthusiast with a professional history as a game designer, producer, and artist working with the Learning Games Network and Games Learning Society at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Mike has led design and development for several game titles including Progenitor X, Tenacity, Crystals of Kaydor, Oztoc, and At Play in the Cosmos. In addition to direct involvement with design and development of Gear Learning games, Mike also works with outreach organizations and community centers where he partners with University of Wisconsin-Madison faculty and students to engage with the local communities to learn through playing games, participate in playtests, and inform the design of future games through focus groups.

Dan Norton

Dan Norton is a founding partner and CCO at Filament Games. He specializes in crafting educational game design documents and storyboards that originate from learning objectives. Dan sees Filament as an opportunity to merge his life long love of games with his incessant quest to learn about new and interesting things. Filament games creates educational games meant to engage, inspire, and motivate. They have created over 100 digital learning games in the past 10 years.