Jennifer Killham Ph.D. is an Instructor in Early Childhood Education and Educational Technology at University of Cincinnati. She attended University of Cincinnati from 2008 to 2014 and earned Master's and Doctoral degrees in Educational Studies. Since her interaction with the iiE Jennifer has taking on a wide range of roles. She has roles supporting international game developers and running a scholarship for a game developer conference in San Francisco. Jennifer is also a researcher.
Jack of Many Trades
In one of her recent roles Jennifer had the opportunity to work with Project directors as a facilitator for Place Out of Time Simulation (POOT). POOT is a simulation of a court trial, where students must pick characters from different places and times throughout history to deliberate on issues pertaining to humanity. Being one who is passionate about the voice of students she volunteered to be a mentor and host for POOT. After her POOT experience she conducted over fifty interviews and expressed in an interview the outcome helped her to “understand the retention of information learned while participating in this type of educational game. As a researcher she considers herself as “the voice” for students, she often spends time observing the students and educators in their classroom.
In another role Jennifer is a project manager and co director for the International ambassadors program. She initiated the scholarship for the program and plays a supportive advocate role. Jennifer started a new program called “Cooperative” a knowledge-sharing project. Pairing people scholarship recipients together to share knowledge about what’s happening in the industry and international communities. Jennifer states when she supports teachers she trusts them to make the best decisions on assessment of games in the classroom.
Jennifer describes herself as a “ voice-centered methodologist” In her research roles she believes that she can gain insight from listening to the student’s voice. She supports the idea that student’s feedback or “voice” can strength the learning experience. “Understand the fears, puzzlements, and allow students to speak honest about what works for them and what does not work for them.”She goes the extra mile to understand the learning space of students. She travels to classrooms of students to gather a deeper understanding of the things taking place in the classrooms learning space. She expressed her belief that one the question “What kinds of individualization can we have within the type of games we offer?” needs to be answered before implementing games in a learning space.
Jennifer discusses the benefits of teachers and researchers working together to create better learning outcomes. She believes that researchers’ working closely with students gives them “a voice”. “I think we are not giving students enough credit.” She went on to say, “We need to shift towards more spaces that really honor their ability to be intrinsically motivated. We need diversify and individualize the kinds of programs we are offering. Gamification is one tool but in no way covers the spectrum of tools available to tap into this tremendous power of intrinsic motivation” Findings from Jennifer research and engagement with instructors and students have been used for program implementation and knowledge sharing. As a researcher she feels that she must allow herself to step outside of her comfort zone. She discussed “being willing to develop collaborative partnerships with those who present gameful learning opportunities.” The research Jennifer provides is vital to the future of gameful education.
Jennifer is committed to improving the quality of education; her future plans include “continuing to build bridges, cross disciplines, strengthen gameful educational needs, and foster allies across the field.” Jennifer discusses her plans to provide support for educators in the future and address any fears they may face with gameful learning. She hopes to “unpack future teacher’s fears about gameful learning.” She feels there is tremendous opportunity in gameful learning and the voice of “the learner” must be used and valued to strengthen these opportunities.Jennifer’s research and her listening to the voice of student’s supports her idea that games teaching sex education should be introduced to students. She just may be on to something. Jennifer also worked with the International Ambassadors facilitating the Miss Media Camp in July 2016. The program brought females together with experience in game design and programming to share their experience and answer questions for young girls interested in media. “If we are to harness the true powers of games, we also need to design for spaces where students can push boundaries and when they “break” our game in the improvisational dance of our teaching and learning setting that we are presented with a great opportunity to build a bridge.”Jennifer also discusses her plans to continue to work on the development of her own gamesShe is a true visionary.