Considered by many to be the nation's leading researcher on computer games and children's learning, Yasmin Kafai will give a lecture entitled "Learning with Computer Games: What Research and Practice Tell Us" at 2 p.m. Friday, Oct. 22, in Fralin Auditorium at Virginia Tech.

The event, which is free and open to the public, kicks off with a reception at 1:30 p.m.

Kafai's research focuses on young children's learning of science and math as designers of educational software and games. She is the author of "Minds in Play: Computer game Design as a Context for Children's Learning."

Kafai has written numerous articles on learning technologies and environments for young children in the fields of education, developmental psychology, computer and information studies. Her research on the design of learning cultures and technologies has been supported by the National Science Foundation and the Spencer Foundation. Her current research focuses on young children as designers of simulations and builders of digital archives for science learning. She studies young students' digital apprenticeships and how they share their technological expertise, develop collaborative planning tools, and integrate science learning.

Kafai is frequently quoted in the popular press and on television as an expert and has spoken to many national and international conferences from industry and academia.

More recently, Kafai has been active in national policy efforts. She has been appointed to the National Commission on Gender, Technology and Teaching that produced the report, Tech-Savvy Girls: Educating Girls in the Computer Age (AAUW, 2000). In March 2000, she successfully lobbied Congress for social science research of interactive media.

Kafai is associate professor of Learning and Instruction at the Graduate School of Education and Information Studies at UCLA. Born in Germany, Kafai studied learning theories and technologies in France, Germany and the United States. She received her Ph.D. from Harvard University in 1993 while working with Seymour Papert and Idit Harel at The Media Laboratory of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Through the generous philanthropy of Glover M. and Frances Graham Trent, an endowment was created in the Center for Information Technology Impacts on Children, Youth, and Families to annually sponsor a Distinguished Scholar Lecture Series.

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