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Matthew Farber, ED.D.

Matthew Farber, ED.D.

Associate Professor

School of Teacher Education
College of Education and Behavioral Sciences

Contact Information

McKee 259
Mailing Address
University of Northern Colorado
School of Teacher Education
Campus Box 107
Greeley, CO 80639


Professional/Academic Experience

Research/Areas of Interest

Dr. Farber’s research focuses on gaming as a form of multimodal literacy and how meaning-making during gameplay can cultivate social and emotional learning (SEL) skills. Games are practice spaces to play with social emotions. In some games, players collaborate to solve mutual goals. Many other games engage players in perspective-taking, where they may develop virtual empathy through taking agency of digital avatars.

Much of his work includes multiple collaborations with the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Mahatma Gandhi Institute of Education for Peace and Sustainable Development (MGIEP), a category one research institute headquartered in New Delhi, India. Its mission—which aligns with his research agenda—is to achieve the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 4.7: “Education for building peaceful and sustainable societies across the world by developing programs that promote social and emotional learning with innovative digital pedagogies that empower youth.”

Publications/Creative Works


Farber, M. (2021). Gaming SEL: Games as transformational to social and emotional learning. Peter Lang.

Farber, M. (Ed.) (2020). Global perspectives on gameful and playful teaching and learning. IGI Global.

Farber, M. (2018). Game-based learning in action: How an expert affinity group teaches with games. Peter Lang.

Cornish, S., Farber, M., Miklasz, K, & Fleming, A. (Eds.) (2017). Game jam guide. Carnegie Mellon University ETC Press.

Farber, M. (2017). Gamify your classroom: A field guide to game-based learning (Revised Ed). Peter Lang.

Farber, M. (2015). Gamify your classroom: A field guide to game-based learning. Peter Lang.

Journal Articles

Farber, M., & Erekson, J. (Spring 2023). Going beyond the page: Pairing children’s literature with video games. Children and Libraries, 21(1), 6-13.  

Farber, M., & Merchant, W. (2022). Insights from investigating early childhood ebooks on literacy, cognitive development, and social and emotional learning outcomes. E-Learning and Digital Media, 0(0). https://doi.org/10.1177/20427530221108538 

Mukund, V., Sharma, M., Srivatsa, A., Sharma, R., Farber, M., & Singh, N. C. (2022). Effects of a digital game-based course in building adolescents’ knowledge and social-emotional competencies. Games for Health Journal. 11(1), 1-12. DOI: 10.1089/g4h.2021.0138

Farber, M., & Schrier, K. (2021). Beyond winning: A situational analysis of two digital autobiographical games. Games Studies: The International Journal of Computer Game Research. 21(4).

Schrier, K., & Farber, M. (2021). A systematic literature review of “empathy” and “games.” Journal of Gaming & Virtual Worlds. 13(2), 195-214. DOI: 10.1386/jgvw_00036_

Kang, H. J., Farber, M., & Mahovsky, K. A. (2021). Teachers’ self-reported pedagogical changes: Are we preparing teachers for online STEM education? Journal of Higher Education Theory and Practice, 21(10), 264-277. DOI: 10.33423/jhetp.v21i10.4640

Farber, M., Williams, M., Mellman, L., & Yu, X. (2020). Systems at play: Game design as an approach for teen self-expression. Journal of Games, Self, and Society, 2(1), 40-84. DOI: 10.1184/R1/12215417

Zieger, L., & Farber, M. (2012). Civic Participation Among Seventh-Grade Social Studies Students in Multi-User Virtual Environments. Journal of Interactive Learning Research   (JILR), 23(4), 393-410. Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education (AACE).

Working Paper

Farber, M., & Schrier, K. (2017). The strengths and limitations of using digital games as “empathy” machines. UNESCO MGIEP.             https://unesdoc.unesco.org/ark:/48223/pf0000261993

Book Chapters

Farber, M., & Merchant, W. (2023). Awkward moment. In Kat Schrier, Rachel Kowert, Diana Leonard, Tarja Porkka-Kontturi (Ed.), Learning, Education, and Games: 50 Games to Use for Inclusion, Equity, and Justice. Carnegie Mellon ETC Press.

Farber, M. (2021). Gaming literacy and its potential for teaching social and emotional learning to adolescent children. In Haas, L., & Tussey, J. (Eds.), Supporting Social and Emotional Development Through Literacy Education (pp. 1-25). IGI Global. 

Farber, M. (2021). Designing, playing, and learning. In Ferdig, R., Gandolfi, E., & Baumgartner, B. (Eds.). Teaching the game: An interdisciplinary collection of game  course syllabi (pp. 205-215). Carnegie Mellon ETC Press

Farber, M., Rutter, A. (2021). Navigating the social and emotional needs of preservice teachers during the anxious uncertainties of 2020. In Ferdig, R., Pytash, K. (Eds.), What Teacher Educators Should Have Learned From 2020 (pp. 33-44). Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education (AACE).

Betts, A. L., Fabienke, N., & Farber, M. (2020). The quest for learning: Promoting engagement and disciplinary literacy through game-based quests. In Haas, L., & Tussey, J. (Eds.), Disciplinary Literacy Connections to Popular Culture in K-12   Settings (pp. 203-230). IGI Global.  

Farber, M., & Rivers, S. (2020). Leveraging technology for SEL programmes. In Chatterjee, N., Duraiappah, A., & Ramaswamy, R. (Eds.), Rethinking Learning: A Review of Social and Emotional Learning for Education Systems (pp. 221-247). UNESCO MGIEP.

Farber, M. (2019). In Mochizuki, Y. & Bruillard, É. (Eds.), Rethinking Pedagogy: Exploring the Potential of Digital Technology in Achieving Quality Education. UNESCO MGIEP.

Farber, M. (2019). The Migrant Trail. In Schrier, K. (Ed.) Learning, education & games vol. 3: 100 games to use in the classroom and beyond. Carnegie Mellon ETC Press.

Encyclopedia Entries

Farber M. (2019). Game-Based Learning as Innovative Pedagogy. In Peters, M., & Heraud, R.   (Eds.) Encyclopedia of Educational Innovation. Springer.

Conference Papers

Farber, M., & Merchant, W. (2023). Unlocking hidden rules of office hours: A game jam on the first-generation college students’ experiences. In Remi Kalir, Danielle Filipiak (Ed.), Proceedings of the 2022 Connected Learning Summit. Pittsburgh, PA: Carnegie Mellon ETC Press. 

Farber, M., & Williams, M.K. (2020). Interests, Relationships, and Opportunities Within the 2018 Global Minecraft Mentor Program. Connected Learning Summit 2019 Conference   Proceedings. Carnegie Mellon ETC Press.

Williams, M. K. & Farber, M. (2020). Gaming Pedagogy and Connected Learning: Perspectives from the Global Minecraft Mentoring Program. In D. Schmidt-Crawford    (Ed.), Proceedings of Society for Information Technology & Teacher Education (SITE) International Conference (pp. 1894-1899). Association for the Advancement of    Computing in Education (AACE).  

Farber, M. (2020). Video Games Are Not Educational Technology. In Mehra, A. (Ed.), Blue Dot TECH 2019 Special Issue (12th ed.). UNESCO MGIEP.  

Schrier, K., & Farber, M. (2019). Open questions for games and empathy. Connected Learning Summit 2018 Conference Proceedings. Carnegie Mellon ETC Press.

Honors and Awards


Matthew Farber, Ed.D. is an associate professor of educational technology at the University of Northern Colorado and the co-director of the Gaming SEL Lab. He has been invited to the White House, to keynote for UNESCO, and he has been interviewed about games and learning by NPR, The Washington Post, Fox News Radio, APA Monitor on Psychology, EdSurge, The Denver Post, The74, Fast Company, USA Today, and The Wall Street Journal. Dr. Farber has advised Peekapak, Quandary (MIT’s Learning Games Network), Evolved Play, Slam Out Loud, and Noggin (Nick, Jr.). He is a frequent collaborator with UNESCO MGIEP, the iThrive Games Foundation, and Games for Change. He is a Certified BrainPOP Educator, a Classcraft Ambassador, and a member of the iCivics Educator Network. He also is a writer for Edutopia. To learn more, please visit: https://www.edutopia.org/profile/matthew-farber