video game controllers

Instructor Spotlight: Lisa Gilbert

Lisa Gilbert is a lecturer in the Department of Education, where she teaches classes aimed at helping future teachers articulate their visions for meaningful educational practice while developing the skills needed to make those dreams a reality.

While Dr. Gilbert grew up playing games made for both entertainment and educational purposes (ask her about the Apple IIe game Lemonade Stand as well as her favorite characters in Street Fighter II), her research interests in the learning potential of video games started with her career in museum education. She saw that visitors to real-life historic sites placed a great deal of importance on the feeling of connection they experienced by being physically present in places where important events happened, and so she wondered: does something similar happen with video games with historic settings?

So, Dr. Gilbert played a lot of Assassin’s Creed and then created an interview study in which she talked with teenagers about their experiences with the franchise. Their responses? Overwhelmingly, they said the games helped them develop empathy for people in the past, and especially people whose identities were different from their own.  

Dr. Gilbert holds a Ph.D. in social studies curriculum and instruction from Saint Louis University. She has over 10 years’ experience as a teacher educator, from teaching university courses and supervising student teachers in diverse spaces from urban charters to rural public schools, to creating custom professional development programs for school districts and cultural institutions. As a teacher, she has worked for both public and private schools in the United States and Austria, with her courses including high-stakes college preparatory testing such as AP United States Government & Politics and AP Comparative Government & Politics. She also completed teacher professional development programs hosted by the Harvard Graduate School of Education, Yale University, National Endowment for the Humanities, Gilder-Lehrman Institute of American History, The College Board, and the International Coalition of Sites of Conscience. As a museum educator, she first worked as a bilingual educator for the McCord Museum of Canadian History in downtown Montreal before overseeing K-12 programming for the Missouri History Museum, where she also managed educational partnerships with national organizations such as Monticello and Mount Vernon, along with serving as a consultant for an electronic field trip program at Colonial Williamsburg. Her publications have appeared in academic journals such as Theory & Research in Social Education, Teaching & Teacher Education, The History Teacher, The International Journal of Music Education, Literacy and Social Responsibility, and Curator: The Museum Journal. Her outreach has included interviews for Teaching Tolerance, Education Week, and NBC News. 


Dr. Gilbert teaches our Exploration Course: Metacognating Mario: Learning and Video Games