Organizers

Rilla Khaled, PhD (University of Malta)

Rilla Khaled is an associate professor at the Institute of Digital Games at the University of Malta, and has a PhD in Computer Science from the Victoria University of Wellington in New Zealand. Her research focuses on how to design more effective and meaningful serious and persuasive games, the interactions between games, gamification, and culture, how to adapt game design methods to foster creativity and design diversity, game design and AI, and humour in games.

She is currently involved in a number of research projects, including the EU FP7-funded ILearnRW project and the EU FP7-funded SIREN serious game project. Her previous PhD research focused on culturally-relevant persuasive games, and established that designing for cultural relevance leads to greater persuasion. As her background is in software engineering and cross-cultural psychology, her interests extend from the software-level design and development of games up to their higher level effects on and as cultural practices. Showlion group sites creator.

Asimina Vasalou, PhD (London Knowledge Lab)

Asimina Vasalou is a lecturer at the London Knowledge Lab at the Institute of Education. Her early studies were in the area of interactive and visual design. She worked as an interactive designer for several years on a variety of projects, spanning from training support, learning games for children, health management tools to web applications. Over this time, she developed an interest in how existing technologies support users’ values and fit with their social practices. More recently, she has returned to design in attempts to solve learning challenges for children’s social and emotional learning and technology literacy among other areas of application.

She received a PhD from Imperial College London in 2008, followed by post-doctoral work at the University of Bath where she studied the implications of technologies on privacy. She has been a member, co-investigator and principle investigator of the EU Projects Humaine, Siren, ILearnRW, JuxtaLearn and Emote. In addition to this, in 2012, she received a Google Research Award.

Vero Vanden Abeele, PhD (Groep T, KU Leuven)

Vero Vanden Abeele is assistent professor at the  e-Media Lab  (KU Leuven). Vero is researching in the area of tangible computing and serious games, e.g. games for physical therapy, games for learning, etc.  Vero’s specialties include among many: user experience research, human-computer interaction, player experience, usability, playability, interaction design, tangible play and physical interaction.

Vero was introduced to Interaction Design at the Carnegie Mellon Universityas a Fulbright scholar. After gaining professional experience in designing ‘hardware user interaction’ for people with speech disabilities, she returned to the academic world where she completed a PhD on motion-based play.  Vero  is member of several program committees (ACM International Conference on Interaction Design and Children), ACM Conference on Computer-Human Interaction, ACM International Conference on Tangible, Embodied and Embedded interaction) and has been a  co-applicant for several national and international research projects concerning motion-based play, serious games, and particular target groups.

Maarten Van Mechelen (iMinds CUO | Social Spaces, KU Leuven)

Maarten is a broad-spectrum enthusiast who loves to interact with users, trying to unravel their (latent) needs and how they feel about technology. His interest and expertise ranges from generative and evaluative user research to value-driven participatory design methods, graphic design and typography, child-computer interaction, and all things in between.

As a user experience researcher at CUO | Social Spaces (iMindsKU Leuven) he is currently working on different projects such as EMSOC (User Empowerment in a Social Media Culture) and Wanagogo (Online 3D Multi-device Game Environment). In addition, his PhD research focuses on value-driven participatory design with children at the early, fuzzy-front-end of design. Maarten obtained a master’s degree in Cultural Sciences (summa cum laude) at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel after graduating as a master in Graphic Design (cum laude) at the Media Arts & Design Faculty in Hasselt. He also hold certificates in Web Design (Syntra), Human-Centered Design for Intuitive Man-Machine Interaction (KU Leuven Kulak) and Human-Computer Interaction (KU Leuven).

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