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Robert Torres: Game Changers in Education

January 19, 2014

Robert TorresUPDATE (01/21) – Due to inclement weather, this event has been POSTPONED. Please stay tuned to our website and social media for a new date and time. Thank you.

Dr. Robert Torres co-founded the New York City games-based school Quest to Learn before joining the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation as a Senior Program Officer on its Next Generation Learning team. His research has focused on the potential game design and games-based environments have in supporting learners’ cognitive development. The Digital Media Department will host Dr. Torres Jan. 22 at 2 p.m. in the URBN Annex Screening Room (3401 Filbert St.), where he will give a presentation, “Games for Learning and Assessment: Potential for Dramatic Change in K-16 Education.” All interested students and faculty are invited to attend.

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is the largest private foundation in the world. The foundation’s global interests in America are to expand educational opportunities and access to information technology, and globally to enhance healthcare and reduce extreme poverty. Dr. Torres has worked as a teacher, school principal and education consultant since 1988. He taught 5th grade as a Teach for America (TFA) teacher, served as a school director as part of TFA teacher induction programs and eventually became President of Teach for America’s National Faculty. As a spin-off of TFA, he designed and became principal of The Learning Project One Middle School from 1995 to 1999, a school primarily serving low-income students from New York’s Lower East Side.  

From 1995 to 1999, Dr. Torres wrote and produced a documentary film, Nuyorican Dream, on the impact of poverty on his Puerto Rican family in New York. The film premiered at the Sundance 2000 Film Festival, was acquired by and aired on HBO, and has won numerous awards in the United States and abroad. The documentary offers observations about the legacy of colonialism and the inadequate American inner-city educational system.