iLRN 2018 Conference Acknowledgements

iLRN 2018 Conference Acknowledgements

The 4th annual global conference of the Immersive Learning Education Network was June 24 – 29, 2018 in Missoula, Montana hosted by the Phyllis J. Washington College of Education and SpectrUM Discovery Center at the University of Montana – with an entire special field day in Pablo, Montana hosted by Salish Kootenai College on Wednesday, June 27th.

The iLRN conference was made possible by many partners and volunteers, so there are quite a few Thank You’s:

First, thank you to Adrea Lawrence, interim Dean and Peter Knox the Communications and Outreach Manager of the Phyllis J. Washington College of Education – and also Sandra Boham, President, and Dan Durglo, Vice President of Academic Affairs at Salish Kootenai College for hosting the 4th annual iLRN conference in western Montana. These places and your hospitality made this conference immersively special, deeply felt and meaningfully real. Your stewardship of these places and your generosity in sharing them is incredible. Thank you!

Thank you to Holly Truitt, Jessie Herbert Means, Jodi Hunter and the SpectrUM Discovery and SciNation staffs for providing a fabulous Welcoming Reception and for bringing the SciNation Maker Truck to the oval on Monday, June 25th!

Thanks very much to my friend Roy Bigcrane for doing our opening prayer at Salish Kootenai College and showing us excerpts from “The Place of the Falling Waters” documentary. That was really fantastic. Thanks also to Eliza Reilly, Director of the National Center for Science and Civic Engagement for hosting our special panel on transcending barriers between western Science and traditional native ways of knowing. Thanks also to Mary Rose Morigeau and Willie Keenan at the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribe’s Natural Resources Department and Rene Dubay and Mike Durglo for all of their amazing support and partnership in Tech4Good@SKC.

Thanks very much to our iLRN 2018 Keynote Speaker Chris Dede of Harvard Graduate School of Education and our iLRN 2018 Featured Speakers Souta Calling Last, Bonnie Bracey Sutton, and Becky Goff. You provided the substance and the energy and gave our community some real nourishment across the week. Thanks so much!

Of course, thank you very very much to the iLRN Board of Directors – to Michael Gardner, Dennis Beck, Christian Gütl, Anasol Peña-Rios, Leonel Morgado, Johanna Pirker, Patrick O’Shea, Foaad Khosmood, Colin Allison, Markos Mentzolopolous, Daphne Economou, Samah Felemban, Minjuan Wang, and Mark Lee – we do this YEAR ROUND and the quality of our combined efforts continues to reveal itself. I’m so humbled by your many, consistent contributions.

Thank you to Martin Horejsi, Lisa “Kirsch” Kirscher, Jennifer Lutey and the Brightways staff for developing capacity and making crucial events at iLRN 2018 happen: super grateful for your capacity building and event coordination help and expertise! Thanks for putting up with my hand waving and effusive superlatives! Martin, I have your tech bag!

Thank you to Theo Ellsworth for creating amazing artwork for iLRN 2018! The three foundational “computer science”, “game design”, & “learning sciences” heads are visuals for what Immersive Learning is about. The four (4) track creatures are stunning and so much fun, embodying things like we should! Thanks very much also to Geoff Pepos for colorizing and preparing the graphics for tshirts, stickers, water bottles, schedules, and giant popups – thanks for your vision and belief and artistry, my friends!

iLRN hosted its inaugural GameJam this year… thanks to Foaad Khosmood, Christian Eckhardt, and Becky Goff for making it happen! Thanks too to Michael Cassens for hosting the workshop on how to put on a successful computer science summer camp! Also Thanks to Ally Dupuis and Kathleen Dent for working with me and Tech4Good at Salish Kootenai College and for hosting the workshop on the “Water is Treasure!” theme with the Inspired Classroom design thinking scaffolds! Thank you, Lily Haines of Clark Fork Coalition for doing the Water is Treasure video with us and bringing that cool VR in the water prototype project to show and engage us with!

The Awards Dinner and Masquerade Ball at Heritage Hall in Fort Missoula on Thursday, June 28th was grand. Again thanks to Brightways for their guidance and expert relationship building skills. What a dance and party that was! Thank you to Bob and Cindy (and Phoenix!) Marshall and the rest of the gang at Big Pizza for creating a phenomenal meal and Thank you to Protest Kids, Magpies, and Critical Failure for three rockin’ fantastic sets! Awesome food & live music is one of the best ways to immerse in local culture and I was so happy to share your talent and delicious and ferocious / goofy spirits with our international guests. Thanks to Shelby French and others at Brightways for pulling together costumes for our costume trunk! Thanks to my mother Kay Warner for supplying us with fun masks and moustaches!

Thanks to local donors Biga Pizza, Big Dipper ice cream, PEAS Farm, Taste of Alaska, Kettlehouse Brewery, Great Harvest Bread, and Clyde Coffee! Thanks everyone for dressing up in costume, dancing, and having a good time: it was a dream come true!

Thanks very much (!) to Monica Elser of the University of Montana Flathead Lake Biological Station for providing a nice dive into the science and a wonderful tour of the station on Monday. Thanks to Dayton Smith, Avery Wilson, and Tansy Remiszewski — our Americorps and VISTA leaders for driving, printing, formatting schedules, handling unplanned for coffee breaks, networking, photographing, troubleshooting, waking up early, hauling gear, and representing Salish Kootenai College at the Immersive Learning Research Network conference so very well.  Thank you to Deb Fassnacht of the Watershed Education Network for being such a supporter and educational content expert for Tech4Good and iLRN 2018.

also a Big Thanks to Ben Erlandson and Griffin Richter for taking photos of speakers and events and engaging people through social media throughout the conference! #iLRN2018

Thanks very much to Karla Colwill and Jeff Hainline at the University of Montana Dining Services and to Tyler Morigeau at Salish Kootenai College for serving us nourishing and delicious meals and coffee breaks! That chicken jalapeno soup! Thanks to Michael Bigcrane, Sheldon Shepherd, and Brandon Peterson for helping us get rooms and set up at SKC and thanks to the University of Montana IT Helpdesk for fielding the many phone calls and concerns!

I’m super gratified that both of my kids Sophia and Griffin for helping out. It means a lot to me that you participate in the conference and join this community of wonderful people. I’m so proud to introduce you to them and show them how wonderful you are.

Thanks to iLRN 2018 Special Track Chairs Amy Kamarainen, Shari Metcalf, Catherine Cassidy, Alan Miller, Jalel Akaichi, Johanna Pirker, Foaad Khosmood, and Kai Erenli

– and THANK YOU to all of the author/scholars for submitting your work and presenting at the Immersive Learning Research Network conference! 

Finally, a special thank you to Dr. Suzanne Tillman for her generous support and incredible grace in helping me to host the 4th annual iLRN conference in Montana – headquartered out of our home. Suzanne, you are a darling saint for all that you put up with and help me do. Thank you for everything and it’s a lot. I owe you more than gratitude, honey and I vow and hope to repay you.

Seriously, Thank you all. Thanks for helping iLRN become a thriving evidence-based community of practice and a thriving community: I am so grateful to be immersed in this fantastic community!


Dr. Jonathon Richter, Executive Director
Immersive learning research network