Save the Date!

August 8-9, 2019

Union South, University of Wisconsin Madison

Conference Agenda Overview


A select number of rooms have been reserved at the following hotels. The group rates are valid until the cutoff dates listed or until all rooms have been booked, whichever comes first. We recommend securing your travel after registering for the conference, as August is a busy time in Madison.

Madison Concourse Hotel and Governor’s Club

Union South Hotel

Keynote Speakers

Kylie Peppler

An artist by training, Dr. Peppler is an Associate Professor of Informatics and Education at UC Irvine and engages in research that focuses on the intersection of arts, computational technologies and interest-driven learning. In addition to serving as the Director of the Creativity Labs, Dr. Peppler is the Chief Learning Officer at Collective Shift/LRNG, the former lead of the MacArthur Foundation’s Make-to-Learn initiative, and a member of the 2016 and 2017 National Educational Technology Plan Committee, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Education. Peppler was on the original NSF-sponsored Scratch team during the initial design and early study of the Scratch platform. Since this time, she has specialized in studying e-textile design with the LilyPad Arduino.

Dr. Peppler is the recipient of several recent awards, including Mira Tech Educator of the Year and an NSF Early CAREER recipient, as well as grants from the Spencer Foundation, Moore Foundation, and MacArthur Foundation, among others. Through this support, she has authored over 100 peer-reviewed publications, including the authoring or editing of more than 11 book publications. The most recent volumes include the Makeology series as well as the The SAGE Encyclopedia of Out-of-School Learning. Her current scholarly interests include theorizing how changing the tools and materials in today's learning environments can help broaden participation in STEM, particularly among women and other minoritized populations, as well as improve overall learning outcomes.

Winnie Karanja

Winnie Karanja is the Founder and Executive Director of Maydm, an organization that equips girls and students of color with the technical skills and experiences to pursue opportunities in STEM. With her background in education and technology, Winnie is devoted to improving her community through STEM learning. Maydm hosts classes, workshops, and events with the goal of empowering students to follow their dreams. Winnie's new initiative, Pioneer Possibilities, brings learning to families' doorsteps, providing elementary aged students with packaged interactive learning experiences to build a foundation for STEM learning.

Our Story

The Play Make Learn Conference promotes high-quality learning opportunities for educators, researchers, developers, designers, foundation leaders, policy makers, musuem and library professionals, and school leaders who are dedicated to promoting making, gaming, and playful learning. Play Make Learn provides hands-on workshops that engage the audience in cutting-edge learning science ideas and experience; keynote speakers who have expertise in communicating state-of-the-art design, education, and research; demonstrations of new and upcoming games and technology; and networking opportunities meant to spark new projects.


Play new games and consoles with your colleagues in the arcade


Tinker and mess around with making


Enjoy discussions and presentations about making, games, play, and innovative learning and teaching

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, the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction, and others who see a need to collaborate around making, playing, and learning in research, industry, and practice. We are grateful for our collaborative team:

  • Filament Games
  • Field Day
  • Gear Learning
  • Learning in the Making
  • Personalization in Practice
  • Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction

2019 Sponsors

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.

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