Katie Salen Tekinbas is a game designer, co-founder and Chief Designer of Connected Camps, an online learning platform powered by youth Minecraft experts. She is founding Executive Director of Institute of Play, an education nonprofit organization focused on games and learning, and has held tenured faculty positions at Parsons the New School for Design, University of Texas at Austin, and most recently, DePaul University where she taught game design and development. Katie led the team that founded Quest to Learn in 2009, a 6-12th grade public school in New York City. She has published widely and is co-author of Rules of Play, The Game Design Reader, Quest to Learn: Growing a School for Digital Kids, and editor of The Ecology of Games, all from MIT Press. She has worked as a game designer for over 12 years and is a former co-editor of The International Journal of Learning and Media. Katie was an early advocate of the then-hidden world of machinima and continues to be interested in connections between game design, learning, and the transformational power of play.
Salen Tekinbas has received grants from the Gates foundation, the MacArthur Foundation, the Carnegie Corporation of New York, the National Science Foundation, the Woodrow Wilson Foundation, the Robert Woods Johnson Foundation, the Margulf Foundation, and Intel, and has given keynotes and featured talks at conferences and business events around the globe. Her non-profit ran an afterschool program focused on immersing middle school youth in game design, technology, and global collaborations via physical and mobile computing expertise, and she once co-designed a karaoke ice cream truck driven by a squirrel. Katie has been involved in the design of slow games, online games, mobile games, and big games in both the commercial and independent games sectors.