Our Team


Barry Fishman is an Arthur F. Thurnau Professor of Learning Technologies in the University of Michigan School of Information and School of Education. His research focuses on video games as model learning environments, the use of technology to support teacher learning, standards-based systemic school reform, and the role of educational leaders in fostering classroom-level reform involving technology. He is Chair of the DIAG, and an Academic Innovation Fellow in the DEI. He was a long-serving Associate Editor of The Journal of the Learning Sciences, and served as a co-author of the Obama Administration’s 2010 U.S. National Educational Technology Plan. Barry received his A.B. from Brown University in English and American Literature in 1989, his M.S. from Indiana University in Instructional Systems Technology in 1992, and his Ph.D. in Learning Sciences from Northwestern University in 1996.

Caitlin Holman is a doctoral candidate at the University of Michigan School of Information. Her work focuses on the use of technology to support gameful coursework, and the impact of both game mechanics and learning analytics displays on student motivation and achievement. She received a BA in International Affairs from the University of Maine, and an MSI from the University of Michigan School of Information.

Development Team

Jonathan Gabel has a BA from Carleton College and an MFA from Rutgers University. He taught Sculpture, 3D-design, Ceramics, Drawing, and Digital Arts at colleges and universities in the New York metro region, and currently teaches Contemporary Art Theory online for Mercer College in New Jersey. Jonathan began programming with front-end web design, adding Javascript UI enhancements as a specialty before moving to Michigan. He currently works on everything Ruby, Javascript and CSS related on a daily basis.

Jamie Wright is a maker of internet things with a love/hate relationship for Redbull™, standing desks, and paintball guns. He has a love only relationship with teaching and learning. Jamie runs Tatsu, a software bot that helps teams save time by performing standup meetings over Slack.

Marie Hooper is the GradeCraft User Interface Designer/Developer. Her interests include the use of technology to optimize business processes and the design and front-end development of web applications. She received a B.S. in Finance from the University of Florida.

Shekhar Patil has a Master’s degree in Computer Science. He designed and implemented GradeCraft’s servers architecture and helps it scale and keeps it up to date. He loves to listen to music and sing in his spare time. The team calls him the Martian.

Research, Design, and Support

Rachel Niemer is Director of Digital Pedagogy and Learning Communities in the Office of Digital Education and Innovation. Her work focuses on supporting faculty use of pedagogical best practices as they explore and innovate with new tools and technologies. Rachel received a B.A. in Chemistry and Women’s Studies from Bowdoin College and a Ph.D. in Chemistry from Caltech.

Ben Plummer is a doctoral candidate at the University of Michigan School of Education and Psychology. He believes that great video games are extremely engaging due to the way they offer players a lot of choices and feedback and is interested in whether the motivational benefits of video games can be applied in the classroom. Specifically, if classrooms can be made more motivating for students by restructuring them around the motivational aspects of video games (e.g. offer more assignment choice).