The Serious Play Conference is a leadership conference for professionals who are exploring the use of game-based learning, sharing their experience and working together to shape the future of training and education. It was founded in 2009, when Sue Bohle, a PR and marketing pioneer who worked with Atari and then helped grow the Game Developers Conference (GDC) and the Penny Arcade Expos (PAX) was approached to promote a game to help kids learn math. A high school teacher early in her career, she was hooked. She loved the idea that the addictive elements of entertainment games could be used to improve education.
At the first Serious Play Conferences, not only did teachers come, but so did professional trainers working on the use of games and simulations in healthcare, the military and business, even training of emergency workers in foreign countries. “Please keep bringing together sessions on all types of applications. We can learn from each other,” they pleaded. The concept of multiple tracks was born.
Today, speakers from all parts of the globe share their knowledge and experience creating or using games or simulations in the corporation, classroom, healthcare institution, government, military and many other industries, offering tips on how to move game-based education programs ahead. Attendees listen, share and participate actively in informal sessions and workshops. Those working on games get input from the community. Those going back to improve their own organizations take with them a network of professionals, allowing them to continue to discuss their own challenges and get input from peers.
Serious Play Conference has become the best place to learn about and then continue to keep current on the rapid changes and evolution of serious games, the industry that is shaping the future of training and education.