Helen Keegan

Helen Keegan

Interests: Mystery and Curiosity, Playful Pedagogies, Kinaesthetic Learning
Tweet: @Heloukee

I’m a UK National Teaching Fellow, which was awarded as a result of my work on Alternate Reality Gaming in Higher Education and curriculum innovations in Playful Pedagogies. My research focuses on digital cultures and identities and the interplay between formal and informal learning. I deliver regular guest lectures, seminars and keynotes on digital cultures and educational innovation, both in the UK and overseas, and have over 70 publications to-date. I make regular radio appearances as an external expert for the BBC on digital cultures and the web, and I’m also a trained facilitator for LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY® methodology.

As far as playful and gameful learning goes, I’m best known for my work in Alternate Reality Gaming, where mystery and intrigue are used to engage learners in self-driven, collaborative and exploratory learning – I’ve consulted and presented on ARGs at universities and conferences around the world, and while I’m not so much focused on ARGs nowadays I’m still very much driven by mystery and curiosity in education.

My other specialism is Playful Pedagogies – these are often ad hoc, and require space in the curriculum to respond to current events. Examples include: challenging students to create remix videos to challenge YouTube copyright detection algorithms, convincing 60 male engineering students to pose in ballet positions in large open public spaces to learn about hashtags (!), and working with staff and 100 students from the UK, NZ, France and Colombia to produce and live edit the visual backdrop for an 8-act opera filmed entirely on mobile phones.

Prior to my academic career I was a multimedia designer; I started working with game-based approaches in 1998, when I developed a interactive rich-media simulation application based on kinaesthetic principles for sound science. Another key project was a game for the British Council in 2001. For this I led a team of artists and animators and we produced a game about Manchester culture – basically a point-and-shoot affair set within a 3D model of Manchester’s Northern Quarter, ‘starring’ animated luminaries of the Manchester music scene.

Being part of the GameChangers team has allowed me to shift my focus from game development to game design from a teaching perspective.