Past Meetup

Epic Fail or Win? Gamifying Learning in and out of the Classroom (with EdSurge!)

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Join Educelerate ( on the sidelines of the EdSurge EdTech Jobs Fair ( Come for some recruiting then stop by our separate room for networking and a panel discussion as we dive deep into questions around the role of game-based learning in schools.

How does game-based learning fit into the larger context of education? Can game-based learning thrive in the world of standards, data, tight budgets and 21st century skills? Can gamification really help parents better guide their children to educational success?

This event will be hosted with our friends at EdSurge and will include a lively panel discussion, drinks and networking with fellow education and technology stakeholders in Los Angeles.

Refreshments will be provided.

Our Moderator for the evening will be Amanda Enayati, Author, Columnist, Strategist

Panelist for the evening:

Lucien Vattel, Founder & CEO GameDesk

Patti Constantakis, Director of Adult Education Initiatives, Digital Promise

Maria Burns-Ortiz, Co-Founder & CEO of 7Generation Games

Alex Fishman, Educator and Curriculum Director

Mark Gomez, Intervention and Support coordinator, Critical Design and Gaming School


Amanda Enayati is an author, columnist and communications strategist, whose essays about health and technology, and creativity, design and innovation have appeared widely, including in SUCCESS, CNN, PBS, NPR, Washington Post, Reader's Digest, Salon and elsewhere. Her most recent book, Seeking Serenity: The 10 New Rules for Health and Happiness in the Age of Anxiety (, was released by New American Library/Penguin Random House in 2015.

Amanda consults and speaks for a diverse range of clients, including hospitals and medical centers, corporations, foundations, international development agencies and universities. She began her career as an international corporate attorney and consultant for several large law firms, the World Bank and the U.S. Agency for International Development.

Amanda’s writing has been used in several university textbooks on communication and writing, and her essays have been incorporated into curricula at Stanford, University of California at Berkeley, University of Texas, Dallas, and elsewhere.

She has been featured as a speaker at SXSW, Stanford Medicine X, The Literacy Project, Aspen Writers, among others.

Born in Tehran, Amanda fled the Iranian revolution as a child refugee and lived in several countries in Europe before settling in the United States in the mid-1980s.

• Lucien Vattel, a leader and visionary in interactive learning, educational game development, research, and curriculum, and a designer and producer of over a dozen distributed educational games with over 14 years of experience on a wide variety of projects and clients. Lucien Vattel currently serves as CEO and Executive Director of GameDesk (, one of the leading educational game research centers in the United States whose role is to reshape modes of learning and engagement through interactivity and play. ( GameDesk was listed in 2013 as #6 Most Innovative Education Company in the World by Fast Company and in summer of Vattel secured the largest grant in AT&T history to develop a national learning portal; (

• Patti Constantakis, has a long-held commitment to innovation, technology and education and has spent the bulk of her career in the educational technology field largely working with adult learners. Prior to Digital Promise, Patti was the Director of Product, Content and Curriculum at and was responsible for several large parent education initiatives that included developing digital media components, implementing on-the-ground workshops and events, and managing community-based media campaigns. Prior to GreatSchools, Patti worked with several start-ups, developing and implementing e-learning courseware, online educational games, and mobile apps for a variety of audiences, including English language learners, older returning community college students, parents and families, and teachers. Patti earned her PhD from the University of Texas at Austin in communications, with an emphasis in Spanish-language media and Latinos in the U.S. She received her master’s degree in Radio, Television, Film, also from the University of Texas at Austin, and a dual bachelor’s degree in journalism and Spanish from New Mexico State University.

• Maria Burns-Ortiz is co-founder and CEO of 7 Generation Games (, creating games that combine math, social studies and adventure gaming. As part of her role, Maria leads 7 Generation Games creative and game design teams. A New York Times best-selling author, she is responsible for conceptualizing and expanding game storyline games, ensuring narrative is engaging, cohesive and age-appropriate while moving the game forward and incorporating curricular content. A leader of 7 Generation Games executive team, Maria has been instrumental in the company’s success in both fundraising – 7 Generation Games has brought in nearly $1 million in funding to date – and new product development – two commercial games have been released with two more in development. 7 Generation Games has been generating monthly revenue since Year 1 and experienced 400% revenue growth year-over-year over its first two years.

• Alex Fishman , Alex was born in Minsk, Belarus, raised in Brooklyn, New York, and educated in Chicago. Alex served for 9 years in Chicago's public schools. He taught 3rd, 4th, 5th, and 6th grade before moving to high school, where he was the lead Innovation Lab teacher for 9th and 10th grade. His work has been inspired by students who wanted to see real change in the places where they live. Alex created and began iterating on the Regenerate Neighborhoods ( in 2013. His work has been inspired by students who wanted to see real change in the places where they live. Leveraging digital tools and the input of best practitioners from various community building professions, the Regenerate Neighborhoods curriculum strives to reach an authentic audience that is empowered to develop and broaden the impact of their ideas. He currently lives in Los Angeles and works at Campbell Hall as the K-6 Technology Lab Teacher and Tech Integration Specialist.

• Mark Gomez, Mark is in his 11th year teaching in the Los Angeles Unified School District. He began his career teaching 7th grade World History at John Muir Middle School. While at Muir, Mark served as a mentor teacher to UCLA teachers in training and as a Faculty Advisor to Teach for America. He was department chair, SLC lead teacher, GATE coordinator, instructional coach, and UTLA chapter chair. He taught there for five years before moving to Manual Arts High School to take part in the development of their Freshmen Preparatory Academy. There, he taught the 9th grade social studies elective for two years before becoming involved in a project to design four small, public community schools through the Public School Choice 3.0 application process. Mark was a core member of the design team for the Schools for Community Action at the newly constructed Augustus Hawkins Campus. He has since been at the Critical Design and Gaming School, teaching the Geography and Urban Ecology elective for the Freshmen, intro to Game Design, and World History by Design. He is currently serving as an Intervention and Support coordinator.