About

Spencer Striker, PhD specializes in digital media design. His work centers on interaction design, mobile media, digital media and learning, video games, and entrepreneurship. Dr. Striker’s major current project is History Adventures: World of Characters—a fully interactive digital learning series that presents a fresh approach to history education, combining mobile entertainment technology with the power of narrative design. Dr. Striker’s other current projects include Global Pandemics: Plague of Athens (desktop Chrome browser web app version); Global Pandemics: Black Death (iOS/Android native app for tablet); Empires & Interconnections, (adapted from the award-winning Apple Books interactive version to iOS/Android native app); Plague of Athens: a VR Experience (adapted from the Chrome browser web app); and the Digital Doha Podcast.

Dr. Striker’s digital design awards include an Anthem Awards Silver Medal; two Horizon Interactive Gold Awards; two nominations for Best Educational App at the Reimagine Education Awards; and four Webby Awards. Dr. Striker’s projects have received competitive funding from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation; Northwestern’s Innovation & New Ventures Office; the Oxford Research Institute; the HBKU Innovation Center; and the Qatar National Research Fund. Dr. Striker’s work has received excellent press and reviews in media outlets ranging from screenwriting to education technology and has been featured at major national and international conferences, including official selections to the ALPHA showcase at the 2017 Web Summit in Lisbon, the 2019 Tokyo Slush Startup Showcase, and the 2022 Games, Learning, and Society Game Showcase in Irvine, CA. In addition to his academic experience, Dr. Striker has worked in the digital media industry, having served as founding creative director of the Silicon Valley learning games startup, Galxyz, Inc, (which raised $4m in funding from Relay Ventures, Andreessen Horowitz, and Laurene Powell Jobs’ Emerson Collective), based on his original narrative/game design concept, an “intergalactic science adventure.” 

Dr. Striker holds a Ph.D. in digital media from the University of Wisconsin at Madison, a Masters in new media production from Indiana University at Bloomington, and undergraduate degrees in radio-TV-film (B.S.) and history (B.A.) from the University of Texas at Austin.

Official Website

LinkedIn

Current CV

Media Awards

Winner

2022   Anthem Awards: Silver Medal - History Adventures

2021   Tech Edvocate Award - Best Augmented Reality App

2021   w3 Silver Award - Best Mobile App for Education

2020   Horizon Interactive Awards, Gold, Mobile Apps - Education
Empires & Interconnections, 1450-1750

2019   Horizon Interactive Awards, Gold, Mobile Apps - Education
Revolutions & Industrialization, 1750-1900

2010   Webby Award - Online Film & Video

2010   People’s Voice Webby Award - Online Film & Video

2010    Davey Silver Award – Online Film & Video

2009   Webby Honoree Award - Online Film & Video

2008    Webby Honoree Award - Online Film & Video

 

Nominated

2022   EdTech Digest Cool Tool Award - Dr. Sara: Disease Detective

2021   Best Educational App, Reimagine Education Awards - Best Mobile Game

2021   Best New Mobile App, Mobile App Awards - Dr. Sara: Disease Detective

2020   Best Educational App, Reimagine Education Awards - History Adventures

2017   Dubai Smartpreneur 2.0 Competition - Conscribo

2012   Digital Media & Learning Competition - GameZombie TV

2010   Mashable Award – Best Web Video

Media Work

History Adventures: World of Characters, 2017 - present

Fully interactive, cross-platform digital learning series, whose accolades include Anthem Awards Silver Medal; Horizon Interactive Gold Award; and a nomination for Best Educational App at the Reimagine Education Awards. Funded by Northwestern’s INVO (Innovation & New Ventures Office). In partnership with NU’s Center for Talent Development. Presents a fresh approach to history education, designed for the digital generation. Combines mobile entertainment technology with the power of narrative design—bringing the pages of history to life. The series includes several major installments:

 

Global Pandemics: Plague of Athens, 2022

Digital learning experience built for desktop Chrome browser—designed to enhance student understanding of pandemics in world history. Features cutting-edge web animation, interaction design, and digital storytelling. The story of Nikos, a physician during the Plague of Athens, 429 BCE, sworn to the Hippocratic Oath, who confronts his medical ethics. A fully immersive VR version for Oculus Quest is in production.

 

Empires & Interconnections, 2021

Interactive, multimodal learning experience, built for Apple Books and then ported to iOS/Android using Unity3D, combines mobile entertainment technology with the power of narrative design. 1450-1750: during this period of colossal change, the world got smaller. Explores the lives of 6 amazing men and women around the globe.

 

Revolutions & Industrialization, 2020

Interactive, multimodal learning experience, built for Apple Books then ported to Chromebooks web app, iOS, and Android. Students examine whether the technological and economic advancements of the period from 1750-1900 were worth the human cost. Explores the lives of 5 fascinating characters around the globe.

 

VR as a Hybrid Learning Solution for Education in Times of Crisis, 2021-present

Addresses the pressing issue of achieving high-quality, uninterrupted education in a lockdown-like scenario via the design of an original Virtual Reality-Based Hybrid Education solution being designed for Qatar-based K-12 educators and students. Supported by competitive funding from the Qatar National Research Foundation.

 

Dr. Sara: Disease Detective, 2021

Dr. Sara: Disease Detective is an action-adventure, visual novel mobile game that combines character-driven simulation of Epidemic Intelligence Officer detective work with gameplay dynamics around network science, fomites, vectors, and contact tracing. The project was supported by a competitive grant from the HBKU Innovation Center.

 

Surviving Pandemics in History - a VR Experience, 2021-present

Supported by a Northwestern University Provost Faculty Grant, this virtual reality experience achieves an immersive verisimilitude of living through major pandemics in world history.

 

Assessing Qatari Emerging Media Engagement, 2020-present

Serving as a Principal Investigator in a multi-year, longitudinal study of how AR, VR, and other Emerging Media are being utilized in Qatar. Conducting qualitative research through podcasting. Supported by competitive funding from the Qatar National Research Fund.

 

QatarPodcasts.com | Digital Doha Podcast, 2020-present

Founded QatarPodcasts.com, a platform for developing Qatar-based podcast series. Qandid Qatar offers in-depth conversations with Qatar-based VIPs/local celebrities, while Qatar in Quotes focuses on “ordinary people with extraordinary stories.” The Digital Doha Podcast examines the vanguard of digital media innovation in the Middle East.

Digital Doha Podcast Interview Selections

Ep. 2: No Words, featuring Mariam Al-Dhubhani - May 10, 2021

Ep. 4: Chaos Antidote, featuring Hadeer Omar - July 27, 2021

Ep. 5: VR Encyclopedia, featuring Julia Leeb - November 27, 2021

Grants & Fellowships

2022    NU-Q Research Fellowship, $25,000

2021    QNRF: VR as Hybrid Learning Solution for Education, $50,000

2021    INVO Innovation and New Ventures, N.XT Ed Tech Seed Funding, $25,000

2021    Provost Grant for Research in Humanities, Social Sciences, & the Arts, $3,000

2021    HBKU Innovation Center, Rapid Response Grant, $27,000

2020   NPRP, Qatar National Research Fund, $483,000

2020    Internal Research Grant, Northwestern University in Qatar, $15,000

2020   Educational Technology Teaching Fellows Program, Northwestern University

2016   Oxford Summer Research Institute Fellowship, $20,000

2016   Faculty Student Mentorship Grant, Office of the Provost, $5,000

2016   Faculty Teaching Offset Award (FTO), Office of the Provost, $10,000

2012   Grant Writing Fellowship, Digital Media & Learning Competition, $5,000

2012   Inclusive Excellence Initiatives Grant, $2,000

2012    Visiting Artist Grant, $3,000

2011   Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation | Games, Learning, & Society, $5,000

2011   Academic Staff Development Grant, AERA, New Orleans, $1,000

2010   Academic Staff Development Grant, Next Web Conference, $5,000

2010   College of Arts & Communication/Provost Office, Webby Awards, $4,000

2010   Just-In-Time Award, Wisconsin Entrepreneurs’ Conference, $1,000

Teaching

  • Mobile Game Design
  • 2D Computer Animation
  • Digital Podcast Production
  • Sound Design
  • Web Design
  • 3D Computer Animation
  • Interactive Product Design
  • Media Literacy for Sports, Master’s in Sports Administration Program

Press for Digital Media

Global Pandemics: Plague of Athens

Digital Stories About Living Through History’s Worst Pandemics, Big Deal Media K-12 Technology Newsletter, June 15, 2022

Global Pandemics App Shares Fantastic Tales, MiddleWeb, June 1, 2022

Faculty and Students Win Inaugural Anthem Award, NU-Q Stories, March 1, 2022

Global Pandemics: Plague of Athens Review, World History Teacher’s Blog, April 25, 2022

NU-Q Faculty, Students Win International Award, Gulf Times, March 1, 2022

Immersive History Takes You to the Plague of Athens, E-Learning Corgi, April 29, 2022

Global Pandemics: a Cutting-Edge, Browser-Based Digital Learning Experience, Learning Ecosystems, Daniel S. Christian, April 8, 2022

Cutting-Edge Digital Learning Design, Hankering for History, May 20, 2022

 

Empires & Interconnections (1450-1750)

In his own words: Digitally dusting off the pages of history, Qatar Foundation, Feb 2, 2021

What are the Best Apps for People With a Keen Interest in History? appPicker, May 3, 2021

Northwestern Awards Research Grants to Faculty, NU-Q Stories, August 16, 2021

NU-Q Faculty Win Silver Medal at Anthem Awards, Qatar Tribune, March 2, 2022

Meet IBHA Member, Spencer Striker, PhD, with Jahnavi Pandya, International Big History Association, February 12, 2021

Review of History Adventures, World of Characters, The Tech Edvocate, May 14, 2022

 

Revolutions & Industrialization (1750-1900)

Spencer Striker, PhD, on Turning History into Entertainment, Script Magazine, May 7, 2020

History Adventures Shortlisted for Reimagine Education Award for Best Educational App, Gulf Times, October 23, 2020

Here’s How ‘History Adventures’ Makes History of the World Fun, Film Daily, March 24, 2020

Looking for the Best Way to Learn History? Literature Approved, May 19, 2020

NU-Q Professor Produces Digital Book about World History, The Peninsula, October 24, 2020

The British Colonization of Botany Bay - History Adventure spotlight, History is Now Magazine, June 28, 2020

History Adventures - a new way to learn history for free!, Duffy the Writer Blog, May 17, 2020

Life Edge 114: Spencer Striker’s History Adventures - Multimedia-Packed Historical Narratives, RELATECASTS, May 7, 2020

Finding the Voice of History, Casting Elite, April 28, 2020

Interview with Spencer Striker, History Adventures. Innovators in Education Series, E-Learning Queen, April 21, 2020

FilmCraft.club - Indie Film Spotlight, Daisy Franklin, April 19, 2020

#Scriptchat: Spencer Striker Creator of History Adventures, Discussing Igniting a Curiosity for History, scriptchat.blogspot.com, Jeanne Veillette Bowerman, April 5, 2020

World of Characters (1750-1900) - Review, Skavansieur, September 26, 2021


Dr. Sara: Disease Detective

Making Science Fun: What Game-Playing Tells Us About Designing a Learning Experience, QF Stories, January 4, 2022

New Mobile Game Lets Students Investigate and Solve Global Disease Outbreaks, Digital Journal, December 3, 2021

Apprendre à gérer une épidémie par le jeu, Média du Jeu, (French language game review), Valérie Gagnon, April 7, 2022  

Educational Game Shortlisted for Global Award, NU-Q Stories, November 17, 2021

Student at Qatar Foundation reviews epidemiology game, Story | Education, February 28, 2022

Op-Ed: Learning Science through Gameplay, Qatar Foundation, Story | Education, July 20, 2020

COVID-19: QF university researchers develop ‘disease detective’ mobile game, Doha News, July 10, 2020

NU-Q professors developing gaming app on contact tracing, The Peninsula, July 1, 2020

Dr. Sara: Disease Detective - a mobile game about contact tracing, Gulf Times, July 1, 2020


QatarPodcasts.com | Digital Doha Podcast

NU-Q Podcasts Augment Research, Gulf Times, September 23, 2021

Northwestern Qatar students produce podcasts on Qatar, The Peninsula, November 19, 2020

Northwestern Students Produce ‘Qandid Qatar’ Podcast, The Doha Globe, November 19, 2020