Constantine Stephanidis

Forth Institute for Computer Science

Keynote: Serious Games in Intelligent Environments

This keynote presents an overview of the experience acquired in developing a number of serious games targeted to cultural and educational intelligent environments, such as museums, public spaces and schools, as well as smart homes. Various aspects and characteristics in this process are highlighted, focusing upon requirements for design, novel natural interaction techniques, user monitoring, adaptation and personalization, support for learning processes, in vivo deployment and user experience.


Constantine Stephanidis is Professor of Human Computer Interaction at the Department of Computer Science of the University of Crete. He is the Founder and Head (since 1989) of the Human ‐ Computer Interaction Laboratory, and (since 2004) the Founder and Head of the Ambient Intelligence Programme at the Institute of Computer Science of FORTH, where he also served as Director between 2004 and 2016.

Over the past three decades, he has been engaged as the Prime Investigator and Scientific Responsible of well over a 100 projects funded by the European Commission, national agencies or industry, in areas of his competence. He is the Founder and Editor‐in‐Chief (since 2000) of the Springer international journal “Universal Access in the Information Society” and the co-Editor (since 2016) of the T&F International Journal of Human Computer Interaction.

He is the Editor and (co-)author of many chapters of the books “User Interfaces for All ‐ concepts, methods and tools” published by LEA (2001) and “The Universal Access Handbook” published by T&F (2009). He has published more than 550 articles in scientific archival journals, proceedings of international conferences and workshops related to the fields of his expertise.
During 2008 – 2009, he served as member of the Sectoral Scientific Committee of Informatics of the National Council for Research and Technology (NCRT) and from 2014 to 2016 as member of the NCRT. In 2010 he was elected member of the Informatics Section of the Academia Europaea and since 2017 he is the President of the Council for Research and Innovation of the Region of Crete.

Constance Steinkuehler

UCI Department of Informatics

Keynote: Understanding and Enriching Esports

Esports are a rapidly growing entertainment source in countries around the world. In the US, such competitions are broadening to a larger audience every day. Distinct from other forms of gameplay, esports are organized videogame competitions and the infrastructure built around them. They are played by highly skilled players that train daily, are recruited to teams, and earn prize money, scholarships, and glory for competing. In fact, a growing number of universities in the United States have begun to offer scholarships to top performing esport players to compete as part of their school’s team, with 344 students from 24 universities have receiving a collective $3M+ in scholarship tuition packages (Kozachuk, 2017) to date. As this number grows, we also begin to see esport competitions being held at the high school level. As esports mainstreams as a form of entertainment, esports competitors, professionals, and fans become not only a strong economic driver but also an innovative space for research on training, teaching, and serious games.

In this presentation, I review the rise of esports in the US, highlighting the emerging academic research agenda on esports in higher education and the professional training and development practices of teams to date. I then describe a recent effort, the North America Scholastic Esports Federation, to leverage esports as a vehicle for learning in STEM, English Language Arts, Career Technical Pathways, and social-emotional learning. I describe the year one findings from the project and how this effort fits into the larger, emerging ecosystem of esports in the US. While more than a decade of research highlights the cognitive, educational, and social benefits of videogames for impact (both reframed commercial titles and novel videogames designed to intentionally educate), this new frame of digital games as sports raises a host of new research questions and issues for the field.


Constance Steinkuehler is a Professor of Informatics at the University of California, Irvine where she investigates cognition and learning in multiplayer videogames, gamer culture, and esports. Her research investigates the intellectual (reasoning, literacy, STEM) and social-emotional aspects of gameplay. Her current projects include an esports league for high schoolers (including a year-long public high school course connecting esports to STEM Entrepreneurship), advances in methodologies for studying online reasoning, and a book for parents of gamer kids.

Constance formerly served as Senior Policy Analyst under the Obama administration in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, advising on games and digital media. She is a founding fellow of the Higher Education Video Games Alliance, an academic organization of game-related programs in higher education. Her research has been funded by the Samueli Foundation, the MacArthur Foundation, the Gates Foundation, the National Academy of Education/Spencer Foundation, the National Science Foundation, and Cambridge University. She has published over ninety articles and book chapters including three special journal issues and two books. She has worked closely with the National Academy of Sciences and National Academy of Education on special reports relate to videogames, and her work has been featured in Science, Wired, USA Today, New York Times, LA Times, ABC, CBS, CNN NPR, BBC and The Chronicle of Higher Education.

Constance has a PhD in Literacy Studies, an MS in Educational Psychology, and three Bachelor Degrees in Mathematics, English, and Religious Studies. Her dissertation was a cognitive ethnography of the MMOs Lineage I and II where she served as siege princess for the LegendsOfAden guild. Her husband Kurt Squire is an educational game designer and scholar. They live with their two little gamers in Southern California.

Kurt Dean Squire

UCI Department of Informatics


Kurt Squire is a professor of Informatics at UC, Irvine and the author of over 100 academic articles, 20 pieces of software, and author / editor of 3 books on games and learning. His work has been supported by numerous private and public foundations and groups and his games have been played by 100,000s across the world.