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Serious Games Conference | Plenary Speakers

Plenary Speakers

Peter HoPeter Ho
Senior Fellow
Civil Service College, Singapore

Peter Ho started his career as a naval officer. After holding various command and staff appointments in the Singapore Armed Forces, he transferred to the Singapore Administrative Service and was appointed Deputy Secretary (Policy) in the Ministry of Defence, Singapore (MINDEF) in 1989. In 1990, he was posted to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs as Deputy Secretary. In November 1995, he was appointed Permanent Secretary (Defence Development) in MINDEF, and in July 2000, he was appointed Permanent Secretary (Defence). He assumed the appointment of Permanent Secretary (Foreign Affairs) on 15 July 2004. On 20 July 2004, he was appointed to the concurrent post of Permanent Secretary (National Security and Intelligence Coordination) in the Prime Minister’s Office. On 1 April 2005, he was appointed Head, Civil Service, and Permanent Secretary (Special Duties) in the Prime Minister’s Office, concurrent with his other appointments.

After a career in the Public Service stretching more than 34 years, including 15 years as a Permanent Secretary, Peter Ho retired from the Singapore Administrative Service on 31 August 2010. However, he retains his links with the public sector, and he now serves as a Senior Adviser to the Centre for Strategic Futures, and Senior Fellow at CSC.

Peter Ho has also held a variety of other concurrent appointments. He was Chairman of the Board of DSO National Laboratories from March 1997 to June 1998, Chairman of the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore from February 1996 to January 2003, and Chairman of the Board of the Defence Science and Technology Agency from March 2000 to March 2002, and again from July 2002 to December 2003. He was also Deputy Chairman of the Board of the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore from December 1999 to November 2003. He was Chairman of Singapore Cooperation Enterprise, and a member of the boards of the S Rajaratnam School of International Studies, the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy and the Centre for International Law. He is a board member of SingBridge International Singapore Pte Ltd.

Noraini Binti IdrisNoraini Binti Idris

Deputy Vice Chancellor (Research & innovation)
Sultan Idris Education University, Malaysia

Presentation Title: Serious Games Research and Innovation Roadmap in Universiti Pendidikan Sultan Idris (Malaysia)

As the only education university in Malaysia, Universiti Pendidikan Sultan Idris (UPSI) is establishing an ecosystem for the creation, evaluation and dissemination of serious games for education. A roadmap was crafted and started by offering academic degree programmes in games and game-based learning at undergraduate and postgraduate levels, in order to nurture local talents for national and international needs in gamification. UPSI lecturers are guided to gamify teaching and learning activities; while conducting empirical game-based learning studies in schools and higher education institutions, particularly to promote higher order thinking skills and the 21st Century Skills through games. Graduates and academics are encouraged and supported to become edupreneurs in serious game business through incubators. The incubator also facilitates inter-departmental, inter-university and university-industry cooperation in serious games design and development. A dedicated Education Research Laboratory was set up to coordinate player experience tests while assuring the quality of pedagogical content knowledge embedded in the games. Tested and validated games are disseminated through online and physical stores to targeted users. The ecosystem is also extended by hosting international conferences and expositions for researchers and practitioners from both the academia and the creative industry to showcase serious games. These proactive roles are reinforced with the seminal role played by UPSI in MyGameDev2020 project – a government transformation plan under the Prime Minister Department, Malaysia.

Biography: Professor Dato’ Dr. Noraini Idris gained her PhD from The Ohio State University, USA and has been the Deputy Vice Chancellor (Research & Innovation) at Sultan Idris Education University since 2010.  Prior to this, she had been the Dean of the Faculty of Education at University of Malaya.  She has published a variety of national and international academics publications to her credit and is a Fulbright Research Fellow.  Subsequently, she presented papers both nationally and internationally and conducted several researches with UNESCO, the British Council, Australian Universities – such as Melbourne, Sydney, Western Sydney, and the Sumitomo, Japan.  Her research areas are mathematics education, teacher education, computer-assisted assessment, higher education, and comparative education.  Currently, she is the principal investigator for a a government-funded research on Development of A Teacher Education Model for Preparing Quality Teachers for The Future and Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics (STEM).  She is an active research member on Classroom for Teaching and Learning of Mathematics research team comprises of USA, Germany, Italy, Spain, and China.  She is also an International Editorial Advisor/Reviewer for Journal of Mathematics Education, USA and Research Academic Journal, USA.  Among her distinctions are the Distinguished Diversity Enhancement Awards- the only Asian recipient for the project on Minority Young Scholars Project and the Graduate Research Alumni Student Award from Ohio State University, a Gold Medal for ITEX (Geneva, 2005) and Best Award at MTE 2007, 2009 on designing assessment system for school-based assessment and higher education on Gold Medal at ITEX 2011, 2013, 2014 for designing Module of Teacher Education.

David Gibson
Director Learning Engagement
Curtin University, Australia

Presentation Title: Harnessing Big Data from Serious Games

Based on Gibson’s article ‘Theoretical Considerations for Game-Based e-Learning Analytics’ this talk will discuss and share examples of how in an interactive digital-game, traces of a learner’s progress, problem-solving attempts, self-expressions and social communications can entail highly detailed and time-sensitive computer-based documentation of the context, actions, processes and products. New educational measurement and analysis considerations are needed to address the challenges of finding patterns and making inferences concerning what someone knows and can do. Methods based in data-mining, machine learning, model-building and complexity theory are the theoretical foundations for dealing with the challenges of time sensitivity, spatial relationships, multiple layers of aggregations at different scales, and the dynamics of complex behavior spaces. Examples of these considerations in game-based learning analytics are presented and discussed, with implications for game-based e-learning design and the development and refinement of theoretical approaches to analytics of highly interactive digital content.

Biography: Associate Professor David Gibson, Director of Learning Engagement at Curtin University in Australia, received his Ed.D. from the University of Vermont in Leadership and Policy Studies in 1999. His foundational research demonstrated the feasibility of bridging from qualitative information to quantifiable dynamic relationships in complex models that verify trajectories of organizational change. He provides thought leadership as a researcher, professor, learning scientist and innovator.

He is creator of simSchool, a classroom flight simulator for preparing educators, and eFolio an online performance-based assessment system, and provides vision and sponsorship for Curtin University’s Challenge, a mobile, game-based learning platform. At local governmental levels, he has worked with schools and organizations on leadership and strategic thinking, for example, mapping over one million student records onto a geographic picture of student performance and educational opportunities in ten major U.S. cities. At statewide and national levels he has contributed to public policy awareness, for example, through analysis of the ‘least restrictive environment’ placements of students in special education across the United States. In these projects, he consults with project and system leaders, formulates strategies, and helps people articulate their vision for innovation; then helps connect people with the resources needed to fulfill their aspirations.

His research has extended from learning analytics, complex systems analysis and modeling of education to application of complexity via games and simulations in teacher education, web applications and the future of learning.  Dr. Gibson has also advanced the use of technology to personalize education via cognitive modeling, design and implementation. His articles and books on games and simulations in learning led to applying game-based learning principles to the design and implementation of The Global Challenge Award a cyber-infrastructure-supported global problem-solving contest for students from 100 countries while a Research Professor of Computer Science at the University of Vermont, College of Engineering and Mathematical Sciences.

Until moving to Perth, Western Australia, he resided in Stowe, Vermont where he has lived since 1979 with his wife Mary – a violinist with the Vermont Symphony – while helping to raise their children, Molly, a research neuroscientist, and Michael, a biathlete and mechanical engineer.

Pic Scott NicholsonScott Nicholson
Professor and Director
Game Design and Development program at Wilfrid Laurier University in Brantford, Ontario, Canada

Presentation Title: Participatory Game Design: Making Connections to the Community(Via Skype)

Participatory Game Design is the concept of bringing the players into the design process. As creation tools have gotten easier to use, the door is open for people without programming experience to create digital games. This means that members of a community have the tools to create a game that can address issues in that community. What they may not have, however, is the knowledge of game mechanisms, storytelling, and the organization needed to create a game. This creates an opportunity for people with experience in making games to reach out to communities and be a facilitator in the game creation process. During this presentation, Dr. Scott Nicholson will explore different models for bringing the community together to create tabletop, digital, and live-action games.

Biography: Dr. Scott Nicholson is Professor and Director of the Game Design and Development program at Wilfrid Laurier University in Brantford, Ontario. He also directs the Brantford Games Network and the BGNlab, which brings together students, gamers, community members, game companies, and organizations that support learning to create transformative games. From 2001-2014, he was an Associate Professor at Syracuse University’s School of Information Studies and the Director of the Because Play Matters game lab. His areas of interest include escape rooms and live-action gaming, meaningful gamification and the creation of transformative games for informal learning and training. During the 2011-2012 academic year, he was a visiting professor at MIT in Comparative Media Studies and the GAMBIT game lab. Dr. Nicholson is a published board game designer, wrote the book Everyone Plays at the Library, and was an academic reference librarian. His research blog is at

Albert LiauAlbert Liau
Associate Professor
Nanyang Technological University, Singapore

Presentation Title: iZ HERO Challenge – Digital Leadership Initiative

iZ HERO is a UNESCO ICT in Education Prize-winning “digital leadership” initiative for children. The goal is not only to give kids the tools to be smart users of technology who are able to protect themselves from risk, but also to create the digital citizens of the future who have the integrity, compassion and courage to make the digital world a better place. iZ HERO targets a young age group (6-13) with the aim to plant the seeds of empathy and awareness about how conduct online has real-world impact on those around them. It is a research-driven project that provides integrated multimedia play and learning experiences for kids, which is centred around a web platform,, a one-stop solution virtual world for kids to self-learn digital leadership through fun interactive learning activities. Our recent research has supported the efficacy of the iZ HERO project in changing children’s attitudes toward cyber risks. iZ HERO is a collaborative effort of the iZ HERO Alliance comprised of schools, families, universities, international organizations, NGOs, government agencies and ICT companies.

Biography: Dr. Albert K. Liau is Associate Professor and the Assistant Head of Research for the Psychological Studies Academic Group of the National Institute of Education, at Nanyang Technological University, Singapore.  He is a Developmental Psychologist and his recent research interests include resilience of at-risk youth, evaluating positive psychology interventions for well-being, positive technology, and exploring Internet and video-game use among children and adolescents.  He has co-authored the book, What Do I Say to My Net-Savvy Kids: Internet Safety Issues for Parents, and is the author of a strengths-based instrument called the Personal Strengths Inventory.