Who is David Gagnon?

At work I am a designer, prototyper and explorer of new media like video games, iphone apps and new exciting stuff like augmented reality and citizen science. I’m completely fascinated with what happens when people get jazzed about an idea – how passion seems to unlock the pursuit of learning, beauty and even justice. More and more, I’m thinking about how to create systems of interest and motivation for educational purposes and at home I’m wondering what that means for raising my 18mo/old daughter.

If I could have it my way, every person on the planet would spend the majority of their day doing things that inspire them. I think the educational system can help to that end.

Formal Bio for Grants, Press, etc.

David J. Gagnon (University of Wisconsin, Madison) is the program manager of the Mobile Learning Incubator, a team of designers, developers and researchers who are exploring the intersections of place, games and design through prototyping. David also directs the ARIS Project, an open-source tool and global community that produces locative games and data collection activities. Additionally, David in an instructional designer with the ENGAGE program  where he collaborates with faculty to leverage new media for teaching and learning. 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.


  1. Hey Dave. I tried to submit a comment before but it didn’t show up, so you may be getting this twice. Anyway, you should send me an email sometime. I miss ya!

  2. davidmcquillan · ·


    I’m having trouble subscribing to your blog feed. Might be a problem with bloglines? but otherwise it’s at your end.

    davidm at tekotago.ac.nz

  3. David-Roger Gagnon · ·

    Hi David,
    I am just beginning a project to connect with as many David Gagnon’s as I can to discover the diversity and similarities of those who carry our name (variations included)… I am thinking of calling it “What’s in a Name?”.
    I would like to e-chat with you about this and about your work, if you are interested…
    my e-mail is: drgagnon@magma.ca
    Hope to hear from you!
    David-Roger Gagnon

  4. David –

    Just spoke to Kurt Squire and he passed along your name. I worked with Kurt as a grad at UW 4 years ago doing the augmented reality gaming stuff. I know John, Jim, Mark, Ming Fong, etc.

    Anyway I recently got a grant to bring the technology out to my neck of the woods in New York. Would like to chat with you about where things stand on hardware and software.

    let me know if that can happen – mbslaats@gmail.com

  5. I thought you’d like to know about a new publication from Walch Education, part of our Media Literacy series: Thinking Critically About Video Games & Virtual Worlds. It gives middle- and high-school teachers a way to work with students in analyzing how video gaming and virtual worlds affect their lives.

    The book is listed on our web site at http://www.walch.com/product/2342. Please contact me if you’d like to see a sample copy.

  6. Michael Bein · ·

    David: I really enjoyed your thought-provoking talk last Wednesday.

    To follow-up on a brief conversation we had afterwards…I was the fellow who was interested in stimulating people’s curiosity so more people would find the world of deeper information more engaging/meaningful…could you please recommend some reading about the concept of curiosity as it relates to learning and engagement.

    Thanks much.

    Michael Bein

  7. Peter Turner · ·


    I spoke with the IEEE exec here at digitalnow. He would like to learn more about your new paper on mlearning for engineers. Send me an email and I’ll introduce you.


  8. [...] David Gagnog, who had finished an ARIS Global Game Jam, joined us. David is an instructional designer with the [...]

  9. [...] Gagnon http://davidgagnon.wordpress.com/who-is-david-gagnon/ djgag…@wisc.edu University of Wisconsin – Madison ENGAGE Program – DoIT Academic [...]

  10. Hi David,
    Im writting you from the Multimedia Centear at the National Arts Center in Mexico. We want to make you a proposal and i wanted to ask you if there’s a mail where i can write to you
    Leonardo Aranda

  11. Really excited about the potential of ARIS for bringing language learning to life (I’m a Spanish teacher at a high school). What is the most cost-effective way to get devices into kids’ hands? I’ve got an iPhone myself, haven’t really done much with an iPod Touch but assume it’s similar without the phone capacity… budgets are limited and I don’t want to spend my life managing devices (charging, uploading software, updating apps, etc) for students. Right now, my final exams are like big games, but this would take them to a whole new level. Hoping to hear from you!

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