I research cognition and learning in online games. I’m especially interested in the forms of science, literacy, and sociocultural skills that young adults learn from online play. I am currently a Senior Policy Analyst at the Office of Science and Technology Policy in the Executive Office of the President where I advise on policy related to games and learning/impact. I am currently on leave from my position as Assistant Professor [vita] at the University of Wisconsin-Madison where I teach courses on videogames, research methods, and the “smart” side of pop culture.


My research lab named PopCosmo investigates the forms of cognition & culture that arise in online games such as RuneScapeWorld of Warcraft, and Dragon Age Legends. Our current team consists of 8 doctoral students and 2 undergrads, each specializing in their own interest area. Studies and publications include: science reasoning, digital & print literacy, computational literacy, collective problem solving, distributed apprenticeship, and pop cosmopolitanism.


This work is part of a larger UW-Madison program Games+Learning+Society (GLS) that designs and studies interactive digital media ranging from console games to mobile devices to fantasy baseball to YouTube to 3D virtual worlds. We total over 30 doctoral students, half a dozen faculty, and an emerging undergrad course of study. As part of this initiative, I chair the annual GLS Conference, hosted every summer here in Madison WI.

Blog Posts

new video on the out-of-school games & learning lab

A few weeks ago, were were lucky enough to get a video team out here to film some of our work with teenage guys, videogames, and learning. This is part of the DML series. Take a look at that line-up of folks: pretty cool! Here’s what they came up with to represent us: Constance Steinkuehler […]

Posted by Constance at 9am, Monday 04 Apr 11 to After-School Programs, Digital Media Literacy, GLS, News | no comments | read

Kurt’s book now available pre-order

whoo hoo! Kurt’s latest book is now available pre-order. its a semi-autobiographical, hilarious romp through the last decade of “games and learning” research and development, written by the guy who essentially came of age in the middle of the whole thing. great synthesis of the evolution of contemporary thinking about games designed for learning both […]

Posted by Constance at 11am, Monday 17 Jan 11 to News, Science Literacy | no comments | read


Constance Steinkuehler
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Curriculum & Instruction (C&I)
225 North Mills Street
Madison WI 53706

Morgridge Institute for Research (MIR)
330 Orchard Street
Madison WI 53715

608.263.4669 (C&I office)
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608.554.0041 (skype)