Educational Research

H. Chad Lane, PhD (PI) is an Associate Professor of Educational Psychology and Informatics at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.  Prof. Lane’s research focuses on the design, use, and impacts of intelligent technologies for learning and behavior change.  This work involves blending techniques from the entertainment industry (that foster engagement) with those from artificial intelligence and intelligent tutoring systems (that promote learning), as well as running studies to better understand whether and how the resulting learning experiences impact learners.  He received his PhD in Computer Science from the University of Pittsburgh in 2004, and has over 60 publications in the areas of artificial intelligence, learning sciences, and educational games.

 Sherry Yi, EdM (Research Assistant) is an educational psychology PhD student at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. She is investing ways to trigger interest in STEM using entertainment technologies. On the broader scale, she aims to create and design educational technologies that enhance learning on the day-to-day basis. She contributes to measurements on STEM and Minecraft interest on the project and maintains this website.


Brian Guerrero (Research Assistant) is a student in Curriculum and Instruction at University of Illinois with a heavy emphasis on digital technologies. He hopes to integrate augmented reality, virtual reality and gaming into more educational spaces. Much of his interests stem from a background of community development in online gaming communities.

Technical Team

Hyunwoo Park (Programmer) is an undergraduate student at University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, studying Mathematics and Informatics. His main interest lies in software engineering, which was triggered by the game Minecraft when he was still in high school, and web development.


Jack Henhapl (Programmer) I am a freshman at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign currently in Pre-Engineering working towards a degree in Computer Science. In middle school, I started to learn how to program so I could make plugins for Minecraft. This is what lead to my passion for computers and why I am now pursuing computer science.


 Aidan Rivera-Rogers (Content Specialist) I am a rising senior at Urbana High School, and currently an intern at the CU Community Fablab. I am interested in and hope to pursue a future in scientific fields such as ecology, genetics, biology, and environmental sciences as a whole. Additionally, combining said fields with education and hobbies such as video games is enticing and a path which I may pursue in the future.

Astronomy & Science Education

Neil F. Comins, PhD (Co-PI) is an astrophysicist at the University of Maine, where he has taught for 39 years.  His research ranges from general relativity to galactic dynamics to science education.  He is the author of numerous articles and 20 published books, including What if the Moon Didn’t Exist?, What if the Earth had Two Moons?, Heavenly Errors, The Traveler’s Guide to Space, and numerous editions of Discovering the Universe and Discovering the Essential Universe, among others.

Jorge Perez-Gallego, PhD (Co-PI) is a multifaceted astronomer, designer and educator, with a Ph.D. in astronomy and a Master of Fine Arts in design currently at the University of Colorado Boulder. He has published his work and research in both astronomy and design journals, and done work for institutions such as NASA and Telefónica. Dr. Perez-Gallego has led the development of rich exhibit content and programs in both state-of-the-art planetariums, and pioneering exhibitions such as LASERsHOW and Feathers to the Stars at the Phillip and Patricia Frost Museum of Science.


Visiting Scholars

Omer Delialioglu is a visiting scholar at UIUC. He is an Associate Professor in Middle East Technical University (METU), Ankara, Turkey. His research interests include mobile learning, design and development of effective blended learning environments and student engagement in these environments, computer networks and communication technologies, and technology-enhanced learning


Advisory Board

Susan Foutz, MA | Director of Research and Evaluation
The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis, Indianapolis, IN.

Jeff Ginger, PhD | Director of the CU Fab Lab
Adjunct Faculty in the Illinois Informatics Institute, UIUC

Laura Huerta Migus | Executive Director at the Association of Children’s Museums

K.. Ann Renninger, PhD | Eugene M. Lang Research Professor
Chair of the Department of Educational Studies, Swarthmore College

Becky Wolfe | Science Programs Manager
The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis, Indianapolis, IN.


Past Contributors

Yue Fan (Research Assistant) is a master student in Educational Psychology at University of Illinois, Urbana Champaign. During the program, she studied educational games, e-learning and educational data mining. She sets about the creativity study on Minecraft EDU to investigate the relationship between the openness of educational game and the students’ creativity.