Anna Arici's work involves the design, curricula, and research of game-infused learning ecosystems for personal growth, lifelong learning, and societal impact. As a learning scientist with the Center for Games and Impact, she designs empirically grounded innovations for learning, based on rich theoretical models for how games, platforms, micro-credentials, and other innovations can drive sustainable personal growth and impact. The center's members believe that innovation is not some technological fix, and instead serves to unlock latent human potential, with the real innovation coming from within the learner. The group's designs situate learners within an ecosystem of expert ideas, meaningful relationships, digital experiences, and real-world practice. The center's goal is to shape the future of education by blending formal and informal learning opportunities, making growth and impact available to anyone, anywhere, anytime.
She is currently director the NSF-funded program, STEM Mio, creating college and career pathways in the STEM arena for Latino youth, in collaboration with HACU (Hispanic Assoc of Colleges & Universities) and VME (Spanish Public Television). She is also collaborating with Intel to create game-infused learning platforms and interactive ecosystems within their Intel Educate programs, which reach 10 million educators worldwide, and Intel's She Will Connect program, taking digital literacy experiences to women and girls in African countries and helping them use these tools to pursue entrepreneurial goals.
Her design and research in these areas demonstrate the value of game-influenced platforms for learning, engagement, and impact while illuminating the importance of interaction, relationships and agency in the process of improving one's self and community.
Dr. Arici’s research demonstrates the value of game platforms for learning and motivation, while illuminating the importance of interaction, context, and agency in the process. This research takes place in two contexts and populations, with school-age children using games for learning in the classroom (Atlantis Remixed), and with pre-service teachers using game-infused curricula as part of their teacher preparation coursework (Quest2Teach). Dr. Arici’s research reflects her hybrid training, using quantitative methods to capture movement on specific metrics, while unpacking and illustrating the larger story via ethnographic methods. She is currently working with the Center for Games and Impact and funding from the Gates Foundation to investigate the use of games and technology in an underprivileged population, the Sunnyside School District in Tucson, where thousands of students are playing Atlantis Remixed as part of their school day. She is also designing and researching a series of preservice teacher games, created with expertise teams such as Literacy faculty and the Sanford Inspire Project, to be implemented in the Teachers College as part of the teacher candidate coursework and field experience. Based in a design research philosophy, these studies will focus on student learning and engagement, as well as the implications for educational theory, with an eye towards future refinements and iterations.