Campus News

UB to host ‘serious games’ conference

Close up of drak-skinned man wearing 3d headset, playing video games.

Technologies such as virtual reality will be among those discussed at the Serious Play Conference.


Published June 12, 2018

“We’re bringing global thinkers to Buffalo to explain how technology is having an impact on teaching, learning and workforce development.”
Richard Lamb, associate professor
Graduate School of Education

More than 75 global experts committed to creating and implementing game-based learning programs will gather at the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences July 17-19 for a “Serious Play Conference” devoted to increasing knowledge about serious games.

The conference, now in its eighth year, promotes the educational and increasingly relevant principle that hands-on, experiential activity better engages the learner and improves retention. This game-based learning has become a cutting-edge learning tool across industry, according to the organizers of the UB conference.

“Hosting the Serious Play Conference is a demonstration of UB’s interest in fostering innovation in technology in education, across all our schools and departments,” explains Rich Lamb, an associate professor who holds joint appointments in the Graduate School of Education and the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, and whose work in using virtual reality has attracted regional and national acclaim.

“We’re bringing global thinkers to Buffalo to explain how technology is having an impact on teaching, learning and workforce development,” Lamb says. “Attending the Serious Play Conference offers Buffalo’s whole community a chance to participate in the discussion.”

The keynote address will be given by Brett Leonard, film director, producer and music video director who many credit with coining the term and advancing the concept of “virtual reality.”

At the conference, game developers and instructional designers who create curriculum will meet with the educators and training directors who bring these programs to government, corporations, health care companies and medical institutions.

The conference has separate tracks for teachers in K-12 schools interested in using games in the classroom, as well as for higher education faculty with game-development programs or who use games in course curriculums.

Those attending the conference can learn about the use of such technologies as virtual reality, augmented reality and 360 video. The sessions will include presentations and opportunities from training directors, instructional game designers, game developers, faculty and students.

Practical sessions will advise attendees on how best to choose and implement games and simulations for student and professional training and education.

Representatives from the National Science Foundation, along with experts and local grant winners affiliated with the National Institutes of Health, the National Endowment for the Arts and the U.S. Department of Education will be in attendance to talk about how to find government funding for developing educational games.  

For more information and to register, visit the Serious Play Conference website. Organizers have provided $200 discounts off any ticket, which means students can attend the three-day conference for free. Use the code UBSTUDENT on the registration site.