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An International Centre for Excellence in Serious Games Applied Research, Business Engagement and Study

Serious Games Institute is an operating division of Coventry University

Prof. Sara de Freitas FRSA

Prof. Sara de Freitas FRSA


Sara is Director of Research and Professor of Virtual Environments at Coventry University with responsibility for applied research, teaching and learning and business development. Sara was responsible for setting up the Serious Games Institute, a hybrid model of research, business and study, the first institute of its kind. The institute is now part of a successful multi-million pound turnover SGI Group including a spin out company Serious Games International with a purely commercial brief, the SGI Research Division and the SGI Business Projects group. In addition, the Institute offers education and training, with a newly established Masters Programme and Doctoral School. The SGI brings together industrial partners and academic experts from across four faculties: arts and design, health and life science, business and the environment and computing and engineering. Sara leads a cross-university applied research group of 50 academics and is a member of the Coventry University Research Committee.

Sara currently holds Scientific Coordination of a European-Union funded Network of Excellence in serious games with 31 partners including NATO, and worth €5.6 million to the emerging field of Serious Games. She also holds 23 research and development projects: including three from the Joint Information Systems Committee (JISC), two from the UK Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council and 12 from FP7 European Union funds. She has managed the €7 million Advantage West Midland capital project and is a member on the steering group of the largest Technology Strategy Board funded Knowledge Transfer Network (Creative Industries).

Her national contributions have included running a consultancy company for three years where important consultation work included advising the UK Government Department for Education and Skills, advising on setting up the UK Joint Information Systems Committee e-Learning Programme and working as a consultant supporting the Innovation Strand of the Programme for two years. Her international influence is reflected in being voted the Most Influential Woman in Technology 2009 and 2010 (US Fast Company). Sara chairs the IEEE Serious Games and Virtual Worlds conferences (VS-Games) – 2008-present, and is a regular speaker at international conferences. Sara has chaired 7 international conferences and is on the Programme Committee of 38 international conferences and workshops, as well as giving over 100 national and international conference and workshop presentations, key notes and invited talks.

She is currently an Adjunct Professor at the University of Malta, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and Visiting Fellow at the University of London. She is also a Co-Editor of Digital Games and Learning – a book series with Routledge. Her publications include 5 books and over 90 journal articles, conference papers and technical reports. She has been a leading academic developing the new field of Serious Games and has published widely in the fields of pedagogic modelling, game-based learning, e-learning and Higher Education policy development. She is also Chair of the European Steering Group for the International Risk, Resilience and Response Centre and was elected Chair of the UK Lab Group (2008-2010).

Sara publishes widely in the areas of: pedagogy and e-learning; change management and strategy development for implementing e-learning systems and serious games and virtual worlds for supporting training and learning. Her most recent book, the e-Learning Reader (edited with J. Jameson) has just been published by Continuum Press. Other recent books include Rethinking Learning for a Digital Age (edited with R. Sharpe and H. Beetham) which was published in 2010 by Routledge and Digital Games and Learning (edited with P. Maharg) which was published in 2011 by Continuum Press. Interdisciplinary Advancements in Gaming, Simulations and Virtual Environments: Emerging Trends (edited with R. Ferdig) was published by IGI Global. Her book series with Routledge: Digital Games and Learning (edited with P. Maharg) will include ten books published from 2012. New Pedagogical Approaches in Game Enhanced Learning: Curriculum Integration (co-edited with M. Ott, M. Popescu and I. Stanescu) will be delivered in 2012 to IGI Global.


Selected Papers/books


de Freitas, S. & Jameson, J. (2012) e-Learning Reader, London & New York: Continuum Press.

Ferdig, R. & de Freitas, S. (eds.) (2012) Interdisciplinary Advancements in Gaming, Simulations and Virtual Environments: Emerging Trends, Hersey, PA, IGI Global.

de Freitas, S., Ott, M., Popescu, M. & Stanescu, I. (2012) New Pedagogical Approaches in Game Enhanced Learning: Curriculum Integration, Hersey, PA, IGI Global. Book to be delivered in 2012.

Hendrix,M., Protopsaltis,A., Rolland,C., Dunwell,I., de Freitas,S., Arnab,S., Petridis,P., Llanas,J. (2012). Defining a Metadata Schema for Serious Games as Learning Objects International Conference on Mobile, Hybrid, and On-line Learning (eL&mL) IARIA

Hendrix,M., Taibi,D., Dietze,S., Protopsaltis,A., Dunwell,I., Mitsopoulou,E., Bamidis,P., Spachos,D., de Freitas,S., Petridis,P., Arnab,S,N., Dovrolis,E., Kaldoudi (2012). Technical Evaluation of The mEducator 3.0 Linked Data-based Environment for Sharing Medical Educational Resources 2nd International Workshop on Learning and Education with the Web of Data (LiLe2012) collocated with World Wide Web (WWW2012) ACM

Arnab,S., de Freitas,S., (2011), Operations guidelines for Technical Committees University of Genoa: Games and Learning Alliance.

Arnab,S., Petridis,P., Dunwell,I., de Freitas,S. (2011). Tactile Interaction in an Ancient World on a Web Browser. International Journal of Computer Information Systems and Industrial Management Applications 3, 687-695. ISSN: 2150-7988

Arnab,S., Petridis,P., Dunwell,I., de Freitas,S. (2011). Enhancing learning in distributed virtual worlds through touch: a browser-based architecture for haptic interaction in Ma,M., Oikonomou,A., Jain,L.,C. (ed.) Serious Games and Edutainment Applications. Springer Verlag. ISBN: 978-1-4471-2160-2

Bellotti,F., Ott,M., Arnab,S., de Freitas,S., Kiili,K., De Gloria,A. (2011). Serious Games in Formal Education: Discussing some Critical Aspects. European Conference on Games Based Learning,

de Freitas,S. (2011). Game for Change. Nature 470(7334), 330-331

de Freitas,S. (2011), Serious Games Institute Applied Research Strategy 2011-2012 Coventry: Coventry University.

de Freitas,S., Dunwell,I. (2011). Understanding the representational dimension of learning: The implications of interactivity, immersion and fidelity on the development of serious games in Yiyu,C. (ed.) Interactive and Digital Media for Education in Virtual Learning Environments. Nova Science Publishers Inc. ISBN: 9781616688448

de Freitas,S., Maharg,P. (2011), Digital Games and Learning,London & New York: Continuum Press.

de Freitas,S., Maharg,P. (2011). Introduction: Digital games and learning in de Freitas,S., Maharg,P. (ed.) Digital games and learning. London & New York: Continuum Press

de Freitas,S., Maharg,P.,(2011-15). Digital Games & Learning. Routledge. Ten books to be published in a five-year period. (2011), Digital Games an Learning. Ten books to be published in a five-year period,Routledge.

Dunwell,I., Christmas,S., de Freitas,S. (2011), Code of Everand: Evaluation of the Game London: Department of Transport.

Dunwell,I., de Freitas,S. (2011). Four-dimensional consideration of feedback in serious games in de Freitas,S., Maharg,P. (ed.) Digital Games and Learning. Continuum Publishing

Dunwell,I., Petridis,P., Arnab,S., Protopsaltis,A., de Freitas,S., Hendrix,M. (2011). Creating a Blended Game-Based Learning Environment: Extending a Serious Game into a Learning Content Management System. ALICE: International Workshop on Adaptive Learning via Interactive, Collaborative and Emotional approaches, at International Conference on Intelligent Networking and Collaborative Systems (INCoS)

Petridis,P., Dunwell,I., Arnab,S., Arnab,S., Scarle,S., Qureshi,A., de Freitas,S., Protopsaltis,A., Star,K. (2011). Building Social Communities around Alternate Reality Games. IEEE International Conference in Games and Virtual Worlds for Serious Applications (VS Games)

Petridis,P., Dunwell,I., Panzoli,D., de Freitas,S. (2011). Game Engines Selection Framework for High Fidelity Serious Application. In International Journal of Interactive Worlds

Popescu,M., Stanescu,I., Arnab,S., Berta,R., de Freitas,S., Earp,J., Romero,M., Usart,M. (2011). Serious Games in Education: Linking Pedagogy and Game Design. European Conference on Games Based Learning,

Protopsaltis,A., Auneau,L., Dunwell,I., de Freitas,S., Petridis,P., Arnab,S., Hendrix,M. (2011). Scenario-based Serious Games Repurposing. ACM SIGDOC International Conference on Design of Communication, ACM

Sharpe,R., Beetham,H., de Freitas,S., Conole,G. (2011). An introduction to rethinking learning in Sharpe,R., Beetham,H., de Freitas,S., Conole,G. (ed.) Rethinking learning for a Digital Age. London & New York: Routledge

van Staalduinen,J.P., de Freitas,S. (2011). A game-based learning framework: Linking game design and learning outcomes in Khyne,M.S. (ed.) Learning to Play: Exploring the Future of Education with Video Games. New York: Peter Lang, 29-45

Anderson,E.F., McLoughlin,L., Liarokapis,F., Peters,C., Petridis,P., de Freitas,S. (2010). Developing Serious Games for Cultural Heritage: A State-of-the-Art Review. Virtual Reality 14(4), 255-275. ISSN: 1359-4338

Arnab,S., Petridis,P., Dunwell,I., de Freitas,S. (2010). Touching artifacts in an ancient world on a browser-based platform. IADIS International Conference: Web Virtual Reality and Three-Dimensional Worlds, IADIS

Arnab,S., Protopsaltis,A., Minoi,J.L., Dunwell,I., de Freitas,S. (2010). Promoting cross-cultural awareness through exposure in game-based learning. Technology Newsletter 12(1), 40-43

de Freitas,S., Conole,G. (2010). The influence of pervasive and integrative tools on learners' experiences and expectations of study in Sharpe,R., Beetham,H., de Freitas,S. (ed.) Rethinking learning for a Digital Age. London & New York: Routledge

de Freitas,S., Rebolledo-Mendez,G., Liarokapis,F., Magoulas,G., Poulovassilis A. (2010). Learning as immersive experiences: using the four dimensional framework for designing and evaluating immersive learning experiences in a virtual world. British Journal of Educational Technology (BJET) 41(1), 69-85

de Freitas,S., Veletsianos,G., (2010). Editorial: Crossing boundaries: Learning and teaching in virtual worlds. British Journal of Educational Technology (BJET) 41(1), 3-9

Dunwell,I., Petridis,P., Protopsaltis,A., de Freitas,S., Panzoli,D., Samuels,P., (2010). Automating Content Generation for Large-Scale Virtual Learning Environments using Semantic Web Services. workshop on Semantic Wikis (SemWiki), at Annual Extended Semantic Web Conference (ESWC)

Knight,J., Carly,S., Tregunna,B., Jarvis,S., Smithies,R., de Freitas,S., Dunwell,I., Mackway-Jones,K. (2010). Serious gaming technology in major incident triage training: A pragmatic controlled trial. Resuscitation 81(9), 1174-1179

Liarokapis,F., de Freitas,S. (2010). A case study of augmented reality serious games in Ebner,M., Schiefner,M. (ed.) Looking Toward the Future of Technology-Enhanced Education: Ubiquitous Learning and the Digital Native. Information Science Reference, 178-191

Panzoli,D., Christopher,P., Dunwell,I., Sanchez,S., Petridis,P., Protopsaltis,A., Scesa,V., de Freitas,S., Plemenos,D., Miaoulis,G.A Level of Interaction Framework for Exploratory Learning with Characters in Virtual Environments, book chapter in Intelligent Computer Graphics 2010, Studies in Computational Intelligence, Springer, Isbn: 978-3-642-15689-2, pp. 123-143, vol. 321.DOIPDF (2010). A Level of Interaction Framework for Exploratory Learning with Characters in Virtual Environments in Studies in Computational Intelligence. Springer Verslag, 123-143. ISBN: 978-3-642-15689-2

Panzoli,D., de Freitas,S., Duthen,Y.Luga,H. (2010). The Cortexionist architecture: behavioural intelligence of artificial creatures. The Visual Computer 26(5), 535-366

Panzoli,D., Peters,C., Dunwell,I., Sanchez,S., Petridis,P., Protopsaltis,A., Scesa,V., de Freitas,S. (2010). Levels of Interaction: A User-Guided Experience in Large-Scale Virtual Environments. IEEE International Conference in Games and Virtual Worlds for Serious Applications (VS Games)

Panzoli,D., Peters,C., Dunwell,I., Sanchez,S., Petridis,P., Protopsaltis,A., Scesa,V.de Freitas,S. (2010). A User-Guided Experience in Large-Scale Virtual Environments. IEEE International Conference in Games and Virtual Worlds for Serious Applications (VS Games)

Panzoli,D., Qureshi,A., Dunwell,I., Petridis,P., de Freitas,S., Rebolledo-Mendez,G. (2010). Levels of Interaction (LoI): A Model for Scaffolding Learner Engagement in an Immersive Environment. Intelligent Tutoring Systems (ITS)

Pappa,D., Dunwell,I., Protopsaltis,A., Pannese, Hetzner,S., de Freitas,S., Rebolledo-Mendez,G. (2010). Game-based learning for knowledge sharing and transfer: the e-VITA approach for intergenerational learning in Felicia, Patrick (ed.) Handbook of Research on Improving Learning and Motivation through Educational Games: Multidisciplinary Approaches. Hershey: IGI Global

Petridis,P., Dunwell,I., de Freitas,S., Panzoli,D. (2010). An Engine Selection Framework for High Fidelity Serious Games. IEEE International Conference in Games and Virtual Worlds for Serious Applications (VS Games)

Protopsaltis,A., Pannese,L., Hetzner,S., Pappa,D., de Freitas,S. (2010). Editorial: Creative Learning with Serious Games. International Journal of Emerging Technologies in Learning (iJET) special issue 3: Creative Learning with Serious Games 5(3), 4-6. ISSN: 1863-0383

Protopsaltis,A., Panzoli,D., Dunwell,I., de Freitas,S. (2010). Repurposing Serious Games in Health Care Education. Mediterranean Conference on Medical and Biological Engineering and Computing (MEDICON)

Rebolledo-Mendez,G., de Freitas,S., Rojano-Caceres,R., Garcia-Gaona,A.R. (2010). An empirical examination of the relation between attention and motivation in computer-based education: a modelling approach. Florida Artificial Intelligence Research Association (AAAI)

Sharpe,R., Beetham,H., de Freitas,S. (2010), Rethinking learning for a Digital Age,London & New York: Routledge.

Edited proceedings IEEE International Conference in Games and Virtual Worlds for Serious Applications (VS Games) Rebolledo-Mendez,G., Liarokapis,F., de Freitas,S. (ed.) IEEE, 43-50

Anderson,E.F., McLoughlin,L., Liarokapis,F., Peters,C., Petridis,P., de Freitas,S. (2009). Serious Games in Cultural Heritage, International Symposium on Virtual Reality, Archaeology and Cultural Heritage (VAST) , 29-48

de Freitas,S., Griffiths,M. (2009). Massively multiplayer online roleplay games for learning in Ferdig,R.E. (ed.) Handbook of research on effective electronic gaming in education. Information Science Reference, 51-66

de Freitas,S., Neumann,T. (2009). Pedagogic strategies supporting the use of synchronous audiographic conferencing: a review of the literature. British Journal of Educational Technology (BJET) 40(6), 980-998

de Freitas,S., Neumann,T. (2009). The use of 'exploratory learning' for supporting immersive learning in virtual environments. Computers and Education. 52(2), 343-352

de Freitas,S., Rebolledo-Mendez,G., Liarokapis,F., Magoulas,G., Poulovassilis,A. (2009). Developing an evaluation methodology for immersive learning experiences in a virtual world. IEEE International Conference in Games and Virtual Worlds for Serious Applications (VS Games) IEEE, 43-50

Dunwell,I., Jarvis,S., de Freitas,S. (2009), Serious Games - Pedagogic Factors in Open and Closed Immersive Virtual Environments. Serious Games - Engaging Training Solutions Internal report Coventry: Coventry University & Welyn Garden City. Selex Systems.

Jarvis,S., de Freitas,S. (2009). Evaluation of an Immersive Learning Programme to support Triage Training. IEEE International Conference in Games and Virtual Worlds for Serious Applications (VS Games) IEEE Computer Society, 117-122

Liarokapis,F., Macan,L., Malone,G., Rebolledo-Mendez,G., de Freitas,S. (2009). A Pervasive Augmented Reality Serious Game. IEEE International Conference in Games and Virtual Worlds for Serious Applications (VS Games) IEEE Computer Society, 148-155

Liarokapis,F., Macan,L., Malone,G., Rebolledo-Mendez,G., de Freitas,S. (2009). Multimodal Augmented Reality Tangible Gaming. Journal of Visual Computer 25(12), 1109-1120. ISSN: 0178-2789

Peters,C., Castellano,G., de Freitas,S. (2009). An Exploration of User Engagement in HCI. The Workshop of Affective Interaction in Natural Environments (AFFINE) at ACM International Conference on Multimodal Interfaces (ICMI) Cambridge M.A:ACM

Peters,C., Dunwell,I., de Freitas,S., Panzoli,D., Graf,B., Tscheligi,M., Burden,D., Duthen,Y., Bonnell,B. (2009). VIOLA: Concept of a New Cognitive Framework to Enhance the Capabilities of Interactive Service Robots using Virtual Worlds. Beyond Gray Droids workshop: Domestic Robot Design for the 21st Century,

Rebolledo-Mendez,G., Avramides,K., de Freitas,S., Memarzia,K. (2009). Societal impact of a Serious Game on raising public awareness: the case of FloodSim ACM SIGGRAPH Symposium on Video Games, ACM, 15-22

Rebolledo-Mendez,G., Dunwell,I., Martinez-Miron,E.A., Vargas-Cerdan,M.D., de Freitas,S., Liarokapis,F., Garcia-Gaona,A.R. (2009). Assessing NeuroSky's Usability to Detect Attention Levels in an Assessment Exercise International Conference on Human-Computer Interaction, LNCS series. Spriner Verslag

Chen,Y.F., Rebolledo-Mendez,G., Liarokapis,F., de Freitas,S., Parker,E. (2008). The use of virtual world platforms for supporting an emergency response training exercise. International Conference on Computer Games: AI, Animation, Mobile, Interactive Multimedia, Educational & Serious Games,

de Freitas,S. (2008). Emerging trends in serious games and virtual worlds. British Educational Communications and Technology Agency (BECTA)

de Freitas,S. (2008), Serious Games Institute Applied Research Strategy 2008-2009 Coventry: Coventry University.

de Freitas,S. (2008), Serious Virtual Worlds: a Scoping Study Bristol: Joint Information Systems Committee.

de Freitas,S., Griffiths,M.D. (2008). The convergence of gaming practices with other media forms: what potential for learning? A review of the literature. Learning, Media Technology 33(1),

de Freitas,S., Griffiths,M.D. (2008). Massively multiplayer online role-play games to support learning and training communities in Ferdig,R. (ed.) Handbook of Research on effective electronic gaming in education. Idea Group Publishing

de Freitas,S., Jarvis,S. (2008). Towards a development approach for serious games in Connolly,T.M., Stansfield,M., Boyle,E. (ed.) Games-based learning advancements for multi-sensory human-computer interfaces: Techniques and effective practices. Hershey: IGI Global

Rebolledo-Mendez,G., Burden,D. & de Freitas,S. (2008). A Model of Motivation for Virtual-Worlds Avatars The Intelligent Virtual Agents Conference (IVA) Prendinger,H., Lester,J., Ishizuka,M. (ed.) LNAI series. Springer Verlag, 535-536

Rebolledo-Mendez,G., de Freitas,S. (2008). Attention modeling using inputs from a Brain Computer Interface and user-generated data in Second Life. The Workshop of Affective Interaction in Natural Environments (AFFINE) at ACM International Conference on Multimodal Interfaces (ICMI) ACM

Rebolledo-Mendez,G., de Freitas,S. (2008). Attention modeling using inputs from a Brain Computer Interface and user-generated data in Second Life. The Workshop of Affective Interaction in Natural Environments (AFFINE) at ACM International Conference on Multimodal Interfaces (ICMI) ACM

Rebolledo-Mendez,G., de Freitas,S., Burden,D., (2008). A model of motivation for virtual-worlds avatars. The Intelligent Virtual Agents Conference (IVA)

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