Here’s a selection of projects that I’ve been involved in.

Augmented Reality

With funding from a U.S. Department of Education STAR Schools grant, our research group at the University of Wisconsin in Madison worked with the Harvard Graduate School of Education, and the Teacher Education Program at MIT to create and develop an Augmented Reality game to teach math and literacy skills to middle school students. This game is played on a Windows Mobile computer and uses Global Positioning System (GPS) technology to correlate the students’ real world location with a virtual location in the game. As players move through the physical world, the handheld screen displays virtual game objects superimposed on a map, which offers new, non-traditional means of inquiry learning.


The Mystery Trip


Game Design Overview from The Mystery Trip

Overview: An extended deep woods augmented reality game developed for Flying Moose Lodge, a wilderness camp in Maine. As the longest, and largest (geographically) of our AR games, it pushes the limits of the hardware and software. Over the course of a four-day camping trip, players hike through an area of over 16 square miles of woods, mountains and caves, including a  4,200 acre Recreation Area called The Wildlands. As players encounter riddles and solve problems to win the game, they learn about and employ principles of Leave No Trace and become further situated in the culture of the camp. With that experience under their belt, they critique and redesign the game, adding their own perspectives, cultural signifiers, and stories in order to develop the game and keep it fresh for subsequent players.

My Role: As this is my dissertation research, supervised by Dr. Kurt Squire, I am the sole researcher, designer, technologist, manager, and evaluator for this project.

Associated Pieces

  • Martin, J. (2009). “New Narrative Models in Mobile Games.” To be presented at the International Congress for Qualitative Inquiry at the University of Illinois at Urban-Champaign. May 20-23.
  • Martin J. (2009). “Where Boys Can Be Boys: Investigating Cultural Models at a Woods Camp.” To be presented athe 2009 American Educational Research Association annual meeting in San Diego, CA. April 13-17.
  • Martin J. (2008). “Into the Woods: Fear, Masculinity, and Video Games Hit the Trail.” Presented at the CUFA/NCSS (College and University Faculty Assembly / National Council for Social Studies Annual) Conference. Houston, Texas. November 14-16.
  • Martin, J. (2009). “Gaming the Wild: Developing Augmented Reality Games on Handhelds for a Woods Camp.” In de Souza e Silva, A & Sutko, D (Eds.). Hybrid Reality Games: Reconfiguring social and urban networks via locative media.
  • Martin, J. (2008). “Making Video Games in the Woods: An Unlikely Partnership Connects Kids to Their Environment.” Presented at American Educational Research Association Annual Meeting. New York, March 24-29.
  • Martin, J. (2008). “Gaming and Reframing Experiences with Place-Based Inquiry.” Presented at the International Congress of Qualitative Inquiry. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, May 14-17.
  • Martin, J. (2007). “Mapping Stories: Video Games Hit the Trails.” Presented at American Educational Research Association Annual Meeting. Chicago, April 9-13.


Saving Lake Wingra

Playing Saving Lake Wingra

Playing Saving Lake Wingra

Overview: Saving Lake Wingra is a place-based, 10-day curricular unit designed around Lake Wingra, a mixed-recreational lake and park area in Madison. During the course of the curricular unit, students role-play as an environmental historians, watershed ecologists, and landscape architects who have been hired by a local stakeholder group to promote their vision for the future of Lake Wingra. The various stakeholder groups in the game represent a range of interests, including developers, environmentalists, neighbors, anglers, and recreational enthusiasts. The students, playing in teams of three, are given two central tasks: 1) investigate the health of Lake Wingra in order to determine whether it is “dying,” and 2) represent their clients’s interests by presenting a development plan before the Madison City Council.

Our research group worked with local teachers in ten classrooms between 2007-2009 to generate quantitative, and qualitative data.

My Role: I helped plan, design, and implement the game, and provided technical support at game implementations. I also created and edited curricular materials, gathered and analyzed data from field and classroom, and am participating in the creation and dissemination of our research.

Associated Pieces

  • Jan, M., Squire, K., Martin, J., Holden C., Wagler, M., & Matthews, J. (Living document since July 2007). “Saving Lake Wingra.” (Augmented reality game design and curriculum available from UW Academic Co-Lab, 222 West Washington Avenue, Suite 470, Madison, WI 53703-2793).


South Shore Beach

Girls playing Sick at South Shore Beach on Lake Michigan in Milwaukee, WI.

Girls playing Sick at South Shore Beach on Lake Michigan.

Overview: A place-based curricular unit designed around South Shore Beach, a mixed-recreational park in the Bay View neighborhood of Milwaukee. During the course of the curricular unit, students role-play as water chemists, public health doctors, or wildlife ecologists who have been called upon to investigate a series of illnesses that are linked to the beach. In order to complete their investigation, players must visit South Shore Beach where they play Sick at South Shore Beach, an AR game that runs on a GPS-equipped PDA. During the game, players explore the beach in order to gather virtual water samples, talk with neighbors, make observations, and interview experts. The information that the students gather during their visit, along with the research they conduct in the classroom, provides them with enough evidence to formulate and defend their final hypotheses.

My Role: I helped theorize, design, and implement the game, and provided technical support at game implementations. I also gathered and analyzed data from field and classroom, and am participating in the creation and dissemination of our research.

Associated Work

  • Squire, K., Mathews, J., Holden, C., Martin, J. Jan, M., Johnson, C., & Wagler, M. (forthcoming). “Sick at South Beach.” Article submitted to Cognition & Instruction.
  • Mathews, J,. Holden, C., Jan, M,. Martin, J. (2008). “Sick at South Shore Beach: A Place-Based Augmented Reality Game as a Framework for Building Evidence-Based Arguments.” In Proceedings of the International Conference of Learning Sciences. Utrecht, Netherlands. June 24-28, 2008.


Hip Hop Tycoon

An NPC in Hip Hop Tycoon

Overview: An augmented reality game where students role-play in teams as specialists in business finance, sales and human resources competing to build and run a successful store. We hope to build off the strong presence of entrepreneurship in hip hop discourse to involve students in meaningful, problem-solving tasks related to reading comprehension and mathematics, where they have to interpret and utilize complex game texts in order to produce meaning that simulates activities in real-world, professional discursive practices. Effective reading and mathematics strategies are embedded activities. Specifically, the game addresses several Wisconsin State standards for Language Arts and Mathematics. In this way, the game’s aim is to place students in contexts where they utilize mathematics and the language of the “new capitalism” in ways that are relevant to pop culture and young people.

My Role: For this project, I oversaw an implementation of the curriculum in a classroom.


The Arboretum Game

Playing the Arboretum game

Playing the Arboretum game

Overview: A short augmented reality tour game developed for 1st through 5th grade participants. Created as a quick design exercise, the game leads players through the Arboretum as they explore different sections if it, look for plants and animals, and learn about the ecological attributes of its infrastructure.

My Role: For this project, I was the primary game designer and technician, working with the director of the UW-Arboretum, and Heron Network educators to develop the scope and sequence of the game to meet time and budget constraints.

Associated Pieces

  • Wagler, M., Martin, J., Wirth, D. (2007). “How Does an Arboretum Become a Game?” Presented at the Heron Network Conference at the University of Wisconsin – Madison Arboretum. February 9.


The Greenbush Game

Greenbush Historical Game

Greenbush Historical Game Map

Overview: A set of augmented reality games about the urban renewal of a local historical community called the Greenbush. The game has been developed with most of the work and research done by middle school kids in Madison, Wisconsin. In one version of the game, written by a local sixth-grader who collected interviews from some of the original residents of the neighborhood, the player takes on the role of a 12-year-old Jewish boy in 1959, running errands who finds out that the adults in the community are upset about the city’s plan to bulldoze the heart of their neighborhood. He decides to collect signatures for a petition against it, and in doing so encounters a cast of characters and stories about the neighborhood.

My Role: For this project, I worked with Mingfong Jan and Mark Wagler in a 5th grade classroom facilitating the design of an augmented reality game their local knowledge research. The following year I ran an AR game design after school program, where the final product was finished.

Associated Pieces

  • Jan, M; Martin, J. (2006). Greenbush Handheld Augmented Reality Game. Presented at The Greenbush: Past, Present, Future. Madison, Wisconsin, May 2, 2006.
  • Martin, J. (2007). Greenbush game presented at the first annual Greenbush Day celebration.


Mad City Mystery


Students playing Mad City Mystery

Overview: An augmented reality game designed by Mingfong Jan for Earth science students that has been played by groups ranging from 4th and 5th grades to adults. Players, in role as doctors, environmental scientists, and government officials, learn that a friend of theirs, Ivan Illych has fallen in a nearby lake and died. Through investigation and interviews of NPCs, they learn Ivan was depressed and had been drinking, but also learn about environmental toxins that may have contributed to his death. Players race against the clock (about 90 minutes, for most classes) to provide the police examiner (played by a real person) enough data to open an investigation into the causes of the death. While the cause of the death is ultimately unknown, mercury found in fish, TCE (trichloroethene) found in the factory where Ivan worked, and PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls) found in ground water and fish are potential causes. Through the course of the game, players talk to virtual characters to learn life histories and access documents describing chemicals, conduct simulated tests for PCBs, TCE, and mercury, and must piece together an argument about the cause of the death.

My Role: I provided technical support at game implementations, and as a colleague of Mingfong Jan, helped develop and refine subsequent versions of the game.


Riverside Game

Explaining the game to students

Explaining the Riverside game to students

Overview: The Riverside Game is a ten-day 7th grade classroom curriculum created to forge a partnership with Milwaukee’s Urban Ecology Center (UEC). The gameplay in this augmented reality game revolves around the possible redevelopment of a Milwaukee park with a rich history that has fallen into disarray over the past five decades. The park has recently been “adopted” by the UEC and seres as their outdoor classroom for ecological inquiry. Players walk through the park, encountering virtual people who convey some of the issues, problems, and assets of the park. Based on what they learn, they then must choose from a variety of proposals.

My Role: In addition to participating in the initial research and planning of this game, I helped facilitate 3-4 classroom implementations. I also worked the UEC staff to adapt the curriculum to a 3 hour curriculum to fit their primary audience.


Game Design Workshop


Preparing for field research

Overview: In spring of 2008, we held a 15-hour workshop that focused on developing students’ understanding of place. The key elements of place that we focused on were: places as contested spaces and the cultural influences on placemaking and the design of community spaces. Two different tools—digital photography and augmented reality game design—were integrated to facilitate the interrogation of a local place. Photography was conceptualized as a tool for note taking, gathering evidence and communicating key ideas about a place. Designing augmented reality games, conceptualized as an alternative to traditional writing, was used to help kids come up with narratives that communicate the ideas they wished to convey about the place. We hoped that the workshop would: increase student engagement, provide a shared experience that contextualized some of their earlier classroom discussions about place, and develop students’ ability to use AR tools to construct stories and communicate ideas. Ten senior high school students from a local alternative high school participated in this project as part of their social studies and media production class.

My Role: I proposed the project and was a main facilitator. I also prepared game design scaffolds for the students, supervised students as they collected photographs and video to use in the game, and provided technical support as they worked on the game editor.

Associated Pieces

  • Martin, J., Jan, M., Mathews, J. Holden, C. (2008). Gaming My Community: Kids Designing Local Video Games. Presented at the American Educational Research Association Annual Meeting. New York, March 24-29, 2008.


Virtual Museum

Chippewa Valley virtual Museum cover

Chippewa Valley Virtual Museum cover

Overview: The Chippewa Valley Virtual Museum was an early (1998-2000) photographic database project, where thousands of historic photographic artifacts from the Chippewa Valley Museum were scanned into FileMaker database and made available on CD-ROMs for Western Wisconsin students to do authentic historic inquiry.

My Role: In this project, my role was as the database designer and technical advisor. I was heavily involved in the acquisition of primary documents.

Associated Pieces

  • Martin, J.C., Martin, J.G., Tlusty R. (1998). The Chippewa Valley Virtual Museum On-Line. Presented at the Northwestern Wisconsin Education Association. Eau Claire, October 8, 1998.


Video and Multimedia

"Going Back" -- an early video about Flying Moose Lodge

"Going Back" -- an early video about Flying Moose Lodge

I do not consider myself a videographer, but I have dabbled in video as a way to convey the ideas and values. Most of the video links here are “quick” pieces I created for Flying Moose Lodge (What is FML?) media (videos, photographs, pdfs, etc.). Links open to an explanatory page.


Space and Place

I am passionate about keeping technology physically rooted by connecting virtual and physical communities, and have volunteered much time and energy in creating, expanding, and maintaining physical and virtual places of community.

Games, Learning, and Society Research Group Area

From 2005 to 2009, during my doctoral studies, I have been a central component in advocating for and developing a contiguous space for offices, labs, and classroom for graduate students in the Games, Learning, and Technology research group. In addition to my initial work in designing the remodeling of the space, I continued to enhance community by obtaining furniture upgrades and personalization details to de-institutionalize the space.

GLS space

Designed social space, and Before and After pics of GLS classroom space.


School of Education Technology Lab and Projects Studio

1999 Shoestring Budget Tech Lab for Pre-Service Teachers at UW-Eau Claire

1998 Shoestring Budget Tech Lab for Pre-Service Teachers at UW-Eau Claire

From 1997 to 2000, at the University of Wisconsin – Eau Claire, I worked with Dr. Roger Tlusty to write a $100,000 grant to create a state of the art (at the time) Technology Lab and Project Studio for School of Education students. The goal was to create a welcoming space where preservice teachers could check out digital cameras, camcorders, laptops, and other technology, to employ in their student teaching, class projects, and studies. In addition to designing the space, overseeing construction, researching and ordering the hardware and software (and scavenging furniture from the Business School), I hired, trained, and managed a staff of 15 student workers who assisted and taught the preservice teachers on the technology.


Residence Life Program Technology Think Tank

From 1986 to 1990, at the University of Wisconsin – Eau Claire, I helped develop and expand a technology lab that we designed to help the Residence Life staff enhance community in the residence halls. We provided computers, printers, lamination, and other services, and trained Resident Assistants on how to use computers to design posters, fliers, games, and other media.

Picture-A-Day (April)

Picture-A-Day for a year.


Art and Writing

I do not really consider myself an artist, but I have dabbled enough to be able to communicate ideas through drawings and paintings. I also ventured slightly into performance — the calendar project, for example, is still a pretty neat little photo-a-day journal of my life for 2004.

I do consider myself a good writer, although it’s been a while since I’ve exercised with creative or non-fiction writings of any sort. The focus lately has been on academic papers.


2 thoughts on “Portfolio

    • Hi Tabitha,
      As I write this, there are currently 11,017 ARIS games. I think the best way to find one in DC is to check the “Nearby” tab when you open the App in DC.

      Or, use ARIS to make one! :-)


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