Phil Dougherty (Lead Developer)

Phil Dougherty is a recent graduate from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, obtaining a BS in both Computer Sciences and Philosophy. Phil’s experience working on ARIS has established a strong interest in the field of game design, and has opened his eyes to the very real application of games beyond just play.

Phil was introduced to ARIS via David Gagnon, after placing 2nd in a campus-wide programming contest with his entry of an automated beirut table. He has helped with the programming of ARIS since April of 2011.

Also, he often sports an absolutely dashing bowtie.


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David Gagnon (Director)

David Gagnon is an instructional designer with the ENGAGE program at the University of Wisconsin, Madison where he consults with faculty about innovative teaching practices that leverage emerging media and an active member of the Games, Learning and Society Research community where he directs the mobile learning team and ARIS Project.

David has an B.S in computer science an M.S in curriculum and instruction and has managed numerous educational media projects over the last 6 years, specializing in computer simulation, gaming and mobile media. He was co author on two papers last year and gave over 25 talks on the topics of game design, mobile learning and educational social media, becoming increasingly interested in exploring the edges of design in these areas through community building, experimentation and rapid prototyping.


Jacob Hanshaw

Jacob Hanshaw is in his third year of study at the University of Wisconsin-Madison pursuing a B.S. degree in Computer Engineering and Computer Science. He joined the design team as an intern building a variety of microcontroller projects designed to make virtual interactions affect the environment and to translate actions in the environment to virtual data for a mixed reality simulation. He is currently working as an ARIS developer and is excited about the opportunity ARIS creates for learning and experiencing the environment around an individual in greater depth.


Chris Holden

Chris’ interest in ARIS derives from a desire to produce learning that brings people closer to their communities. He began making augmented reality games in 2006 as a part of the Local Games Lab. In 2009, he began using ARIS with Dr. Julie Sykes on the Mentira project, an AR game for Spanish language learning. An assistant professor in the University Honors College at the University of New Mexico in his hometown of Albuquerque, he designs games using ARIS, and also uses ARIS as a design tool with students and faculty there. Since early 2010, he has been involved with ARIS itself, and is probably now best known for efforts in producing documentation and tutorials, and encouraging conversation among other ARIS users, as well as prolific game creation. He writes about this work at Local Games Lab ABQ. While not taking over the world with AR, he cares for his 2 sons, 2 cats, and 8 chickens, still keeping a pinky toe in mathematics – his home discipline. His favorite games are still DDR and Katamari Damacy.


John Martin

John Martin

John Martin earned his PhD from the department of Curriculum & Instruction at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and is a member of the Games, Learning, and Society research group. As part of the Local Games Lab, he helped design, implement, and research place-based games for grades K-16. He currently works at UW-Madison in Academic Technology, developing and applying emerging learning technologies. During the summer he helps run a deep woods camp in Maine. With a background in technology, art, writing, and outdoor education, and with a commitment to environmental and social sustainability, John investigates tools of inquiry and expression that promote a greater understanding and appreciation of the social and physical space(s) we inhabit.


Jim Mathews

Jim is a teacher, researcher and designer whose work explores the intersection of place-based, design-based, and democratic education. He earned his PhD from the department of Curriculum & Instruction in Digital Media at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Through his work with the Games+Learning+Society research group and the Local Games Lab Jim designs and researches mobile-based games and curriculum aimed at connecting students and teachers with their local communities. Jim also has fifteen+ years experience as a teacher. His communication arts-based curriculum helps students investigate their local communities through design, documentary filmmaking, photography, creative writing, and service learning.


Garrett Smith

Garrett Smith is a doctoral student in the Learning Sciences area of the Department of Educational Psychology at the University of Wisconsin – Madison. His research focuses on how emerging technologies provide unique affordances for learning, particularly in coupling aspects of the physical world with digital media. His dissertation explores how mixed reality learning environments support student learning in science classrooms compared to more traditional physical or virtual laboratory environments. In addition to contributing to the development of ARIS and the educational research around it, Garrett also works for the CoMPASS project, a design-based middle school inquiry science curriculum.

He currently holds bachelor’s degrees in Computer Engineering and Psychology from Case Western Reserve University, and master’s degrees in Computer Science from Binghamton University and Educational Psychology from the University of Wisconsin – Madison.


Kurt Squire (Co-Founder)

Kurt Squire is an Assistant Professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in the Educational Communications and Technology division of Curriculum and Instruction. He is a former Montessori and primary school teacher and, before coming to Wisconsin, was Research Manager of the Games-to-Teach Project at MIT and Co-Director of the Education Arcade.

Squire earned his doctorate in Instructional Systems Technology from Indiana University; his dissertation research examined students’ learning through a game-based learning program he designed around Civilization III. Squire co-founded with Jon Goodwin and currently writes a monthly column with Henry Jenkins for Computer Games Magazine.

In addition to writing over 30 scholarly articles and book chapters, he has given dozens of talks and invited addresses in North America, Europe, and Asia. Squire’s current research interests center on the impact of contemporary gaming practices on learning, schooling and society.

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Scott Payne

Scott has a keen interest in using technology to create novel environments that promote deeper learning and engagement among learners. He finds ARIS offers a creative twist to conventional archival research and motivates learners to work with primary source materials. He is currently Director of Academic Technology Services at Amherst College.

Scott received his Ph.D. from the Individual Interdisciplinary Doctoral Program at Washington State University (Cognitive Psychology, Second Language Acquisition, and Educational Technology) and has taught graduate courses, conducted research and published in the field of computer-assisted language learning. His research program seeks to better understand the cognitive burden specific instructional tasks place on learners, with a particular emphasis on how technology-mediated language learning impacts the developmental trajectories of certain learners under specific task demands.



International Contributors

Fred Adam

Fred Adam teaches Multimedia at the Art School of the University of Murcia, Spain. He is a specialist in “Locative Media” using mobile smart phones at the GPS Museum Laboratory to teach Hypermedia Narratives in various universities and art centers. His art career as a member of TransnationalTemps collective has combined the fields of art, technology and ecology to produce exhibits around Europe and win various awards. “I discovered ARIS in 2010 and now I promote this tool in Spain and France. I translated the ARIS iPhone client in French and offer my services as ARIS trainer in Europe. Please contact me if you are in Spain or France and want to master ARIS with a training course.” You can view some beginner tutorials of ARIS in French at this url: 


Verónica Perales

Verónica Perales is in charge of the Spanish translation of the ARIS client. European PhD from the Department of Fine Arts at the Castilla-La Mancha University (FR/SP). Faculty Member in the Fine Arts Faculty of Murcia University in Spain. “Teaching Concept, Idea and Artistic discourse” and “Audiovisual and Multimedia projects” (graduate students) and “Digital Media for artistic Creation” (master Degree). Co-founder of international art collective Transnational Temps (2001), promoting respect for the biosphere as a living organism and the use of technological advancements to foment knowledge of the natural environment. Thinking about ARIS like a creative tool for hypermedia projects. Contact

Past Contributors

William Buck

A recent Spring graduate of UW Madison’s Computer Science Department, Will got involved with the ARIS Project through David Gagnon’s guest lectures in Professor Michael Gleicher’s Game Technology class. He also had a foot in the door with GLS through the Global Games Jam held in January, where his team took first place in the competition. He has a true passion for the power games have as motivational tool, and was incredibly impressed with the ARIS mission after taking Professor Steinkuhler’s class on Games and Education.

Kevin Harris

Kevin Harris is a Master’s student in Curriculum and Instruction at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. He is broadly interested in how games can support and enhance second language learning, and his current research focuses on rogue-like games and Chinese character fluency for Japanese language learners. Other research interests include place-based learning and learning practices surrounding collectible card games


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Thomas Henage

Thomas worked on the design and implementation of the ARIS game editor while pursuing his graduate degree in physics at the University of Wisconsin in Madison. Since graduation, he has been employed as a software developer for Moore Good Ideas in Syracuse, Utah. Thomas is volunteering this Spring as a mentor at a local elementary school in the LEGO Mindstorms program. He and his wife Emily homeschool their three children.


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Brian Thiel

Brian is currently a senior in the Computer Engineering department at the University of Wisconsin – Madison, and will be graduating in December of 2011. He is currently contributing to the mobile development of ARIS and has developed a passion for IPhone programming on the way. Brian also has interests in hardware design and metal detecting, among other things.


Christopher Blakesley

Christopher C. Blakesley is a dissertator researching the aesthetic integration of narrative into technologically augmented learning environments at the Curriculum & Instruction department of the University of Wisconsin-Madison. His dissertation asks how learning designers leverage underutilized narrative as a resource. Chris also performs instructional design work for the Engage Program, where he consults with faculty in the development and integration of new media for student learning. He is an active member of the Games, Learning, & Society Research Group, and co-designer of ARIS, an open source platform for authoring locative games, stories and tours. Chris holds an instructional technology MS from Utah State University and a BA in media arts from Brigham Young University. See


Sean Dikkers

Seann Dikkers is a doctoral student in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. He holds BA degrees in philosophy, political science, and education and a MA degree in educational leadership from Bethel University in St. Paul, Minnesota. Dikkers taught middle school social studies in the Twin Cities area for 10 years using portfolio- and games-based instruction.

After completing graduate work to earn his administrative license at St. Mary’s University, he served as a 7–12 principal in northern Minnesota for 2 years. There he led his school in pioneering a new scaffolded-quest platform for special education services and worked with Rosetta Stone to build a language lab for students to take over 30 courses in a games-based setting.

Since joining the research team at UW–Madison, Dikkers has worked with Florida Virtual Academy’s curriculum team to develop games-based learning using Civilization III. He works with John Odom and Shree Durga to develop a leadership training course, with a games and design curriculum, at the Youth Empowerment Academy.

In addition to mentoring teachers in methodology, Dikkers’ focus of inquiry is the application of games-based learning to teaching social studies and using games to motivate students and build higher levels of rigor in academic pursuits.