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Suzanne de Castell, PhD - University of Ontario Institute of Technology. Oshawa, ON, CA

Suzanne de Castell, PhD Suzanne de Castell, PhD

Professor, Faculty of Education | University of Ontario Institute of Technology

Oshawa, ON, CANADA

Eminent researcher aims to level the playing field by making diversity and equality hallmarks of the digital world



Suzanne de Castell, PhD Publication Suzanne de Castell, PhD Publication




Suzanne de Castell - Video games and learning




Suzanne de Castell, PhD, a fervent social justice advocate, spearheads a critical research agenda to advance educational equality in the 21st century. She is focused on developing tools and pedagogies for girls to develop expertise in digital literacies and to experience learning in a fully inclusive digital environment. Her current studies centre on identifying and evaluating educational outcomes of digital game-based learning.

Prior to arriving at UOIT in 2012, Dr. de Castell spent 30 years researching and developing innovative educational tools and methods at Simon Fraser University (SFU) in British Columbia. She served as Professor, Curriculum and Instruction with SFU’s Faculty of Education nearly 30 years, and she was appointed Associate Dean and subsequently Interim Dean of the Faculty between 2007 and 2009. Throughout her teaching career, Dr. de Castell has mentored and supervised some of Canada’s brightest doctoral students who have achieved full professorships and international recognition for their work. According to Dr. de Castell, producing top level scholars who can in turn build distinguished and high-impact educational careers is one of the very best parts of the job.

Her insatiable intellectual curiosity spurred her desire to pursue a career as a university professor from a very young age. In 1971, Dr. de Castell obtained her Bachelor of Arts (Honours) degree in Literature and Philosophy from Sir George Williams University (now Concordia University) in Montreal, Quebec. She received a Master of Arts in Philosophy of Education with distinction from the Institute of Education at the University of London in England in 1973, and her Doctorate in Philosophy from Senate House at the University of London in 1980.

Dr. de Castell uses education as a platform for social justice and inspires students to be the change in their world by actively working to eliminate disadvantage and discrimination. Her career bridges educational equality, traditional, critical and multimodal literacies, digital technologies for learning cyberspace studies, and design-based research and development. In 2000, she received the Wired Woman Pioneer in Technology and New Media Award, Women in the Spotlight, and B.C. Research Partnership Award; and in 2004, she was awarded the YWCA Women of Distinction Award for Education: Learning for Life.

Industry Expertise (3)

Computer Gaming



Areas of Expertise (3)

Digital Game Studies


New Media and Educational Technologies

Accomplishments (6)

Professor, Faculty of Education, UOIT (professional)


Dr. de Castell is focused on positioning the faculty as Canada's leader in advanced technology supported education through classroom, online and in-field networks. She is currently co-developing the hybrid undergraduate elective course Pedagogy of the Land with York University.

Associate Editor, Simulation & Gaming (professional)


Simulating & Gaming: An International Journal of Theory, Practice and Research is a leading international forum for the exploration and development of simulation/gaming methodologies used in education, training, consultation, and research.

Editorial Board Member, Digital Culture & Education (professional)


Digital Culture & Education is an international, interdisciplinary, peer-reviewed journal devoted to analyzing the impact of digital culture on identity, education, art, society, culture and narrative within social, political, economic, cultural and historical contexts.

Founder and Co-Editor, Loading...The Journal of the Canadian Game Studies Association (professional)


A print-based and online journal, Loading...was founded in 2007 publishes empirical, theoretical, and design-based research on the multifaceted, multimodal, interdisciplinary subject of digital games.

Founder and Past President, Canadian Game Studies Association (CGSA) (professional)


Founded in 2005, the CGSA is dedicated to the interdisciplinary study of digital games. Its primary goal is to support the work of Canadian researchers, graduate students, artists, game designers, programmers, theorists, and others working in this field.

Founding Member, Access to Media Education Society (AMES) (professional)


Dr. de Castell has worked tirelessly to provide pathways for disadvantaged youth to gain build digital literacy abilities, and has been a long-standing member of the AMES board of directors.

Education (3)

University of London: PhD, Philosophy 1980

Institute of Education, University of London: MA, Philosophy of Education 1973

Honours with Distinction

Sir George Wiliams University (Concordia): BA, Literature and Philosophy 1971

Joint Honours

Event Appearances (10)

Sweetheart This Ain't Gender Studies Panel

2014 Canadian Games Studies Association Annual Conference  St. Catharines, Ontario


Gaming Experience and Spatial Learning in a Virtual Morris Water Maze

4th Global Conference on Experiential Learning in Virtual Worlds  Prague, Czech Republic


Educational Sustainability at the Crossroads, Keynote Address

NERA 42nd Congress, Education for Sustainable Development  Lillehammer, Norway


We Came to Play: Studying MMOGs in Public Settings (Best Paper Award, Games Studies)

International Communications Association   London, England


Mirror Images: Avatar Aesthetics and Self-Representation in Digital Games

American Education Research Association Annual Conference  San Francisco, California


Playing and Learning With Digital Game Texts: Girls Get Game

American Education Research Association Annual Conference  San Francisco, California


The Serious Business of Spaceships: Studying Eve Online

13th Annual Conference for the Association of Internet Researchers   Manchester, United Kingdom


The VERUS Project

2012 Canadian Games Studies Association Annual Conference  Kitchener-Waterloo, Ontario


Virtual Environment/Real User Study

2011 Canadian Games Studies Association Annual Conference  Fredericton, New Brunswick


High Fidelity: Avatars and Their Players

2011 Digital Games Research Association Conference  Hilversum, Newfoundland


Research Grants (4)

Prove it To Me: Bridging the Claims-Evidence Gap in Digital Game-Based Research

SSHRC Insight Grant $406339


PI, deCastell, S. 2012-2017 This research explores effective methods for utilizing digital games in education. It involves designing studies that look at spatial reasoning, narrative competence, musical ability and leadership. The research examines the evidence and aims to identify and replicate the strongest learning claims for digital games.

Learning in Virtual Environments

GRAND NCE: Graphics, Animation, New Media and Design, Network of Centres of Excellence $24000


PI, Booth, K., CI, de Castell, S. 2012-2014

VERUS: Virtual Environments Real User Study Phase 2

SRI International $200000


PI Murray, J., CI, de Castell, S. 2011-2013

FIG (Feminists in Games)

SSHRC Partnership Development Grant $170000


PI, Jenson, J. (York University) CI, de Castell S. 2011-2013