Keynote Speaker

Announcing the SMARTlab VR First Impact Labs Network: creative technology innovation in virtual and augmented reality and games to support real world collaborative learning for all


by Professor Lizbeth Goodman (BA, MA, MLitt, PhD)
Chair of Creative Technology Innovation and Professor of Inclusive Design for Learning at University College Dublin; Founder/Director of SMARTlab, Director of the Inclusive Design Research Centre of Ireland, Founder
of The MAGIC Multimedia and Games Innovation Centre, Ireland



Empathetic Education: Towards a Connected Learning Model applying technology supports to human development and inclusion.
This paper introduces the concepts of Empathetic Education and Hippocratic Innovation: ethical and action-oriented models to help frame the current models of education and technology development as they develop in parallel. The paper argues for a playful and creative approach to connected learning, using technology as a personalised scaffold to support each and every learner, with any level of physical and intellectual ability. Examples of Inclusive Design in learning programmes are shared, from early interactive learning using broadcast and multimedia, to kinaesthetic learning tools, games for learning, the interactive Inclusive Learning Handbook to the ILearn virtual world for collaborative learning, to the affordances of the Sensai Learning system currently in development at SMARTlab.

The talk will end with a formal announcement of the new SMARTlab VR First Impact Labs Network: a global collection of specially equipped creative technology innovation labs to support development and training in virtual and augmented reality and games to support real-world collaborative learning for all.


Lizbeth Goodman is Full Professor of Inclusive Design for Education and Chair of Creative Technology Innovation at University College Dublin, where she directs SMARTlab and the Inclusive Design Research Centre of Ireland at UCD, and is an Executive Board member of the Innovation Academy (member institutions: Trinity College, UCD and Queen’s University, Belfast). For UCD she coordinates and manages the high level work of the pan-institutional senior faculty engaged in design and implementation of educational and pedagogic strategy in learning futures through the IDRC, and is the university representative on the all-Ireland Uversity Project for the future of education, and on the Marie Curie ASSISTID Programme (Assistive Technology for People with Intellectual Disabilities/Autism) for the DOCTRID Research Institute: the first top tier research institute bridging the Republic and Northern Ireland. Also on behalf of UCD and the national universities network, she was elected to Chair the Social Sciences Panel of the Royal Irish Academy in 2012.
Previously, she was Director of Research for Futurelab – Lord David Puttnam’s thinktank for the future of education in the UK- and served in that capacity on the Prime Minister’s SHINE Panel. For RITSEC in Cairo, she serves as Director of the Genius Award Programme. In Ireland in 2014, she established a new Award for excellence in using technology for the sharing of knowledge across generations and levels of physical and cognitive ability: the Duais Eagnaí (Wisdom Awards) in memory of the late Daniel O’Hare.
In 2008, she was awarded the top industry prizes for Best Woman in the Academic and Public Sectors, and Outstanding Woman in Technology by Blackberry Rim.  Most recently, she was selected by a global panel of industry, academic and NGO experts as one of the CSR Global Top 50 Most Talented Social Innovators: awarded in Mumbai in February 2015. Back in 2003, Lifetime TV broadcast a tribute Lifetime Achievement Award for Volunteer Service to Women and Children for her work on SafetyNET, announced by billboard in Times Square. She came third nationally in the recent Global Enterprise Awards for Ireland, for her work in setting up and running virtual campuses and virtual training centres for learners of all levels of ability around the world.
She is well known as an expert in interdisciplinary Art-Technology initiatives including STEAM education challenges globally, with a specialism in the cross-over between disciplines and community engagement on a global scale. She and her SMARTlab team have developed numerous creative educational technology tools and convergent media solutions to the challenges of teaching and learning in the 21st century, for learners of all ages and levels of ability. In this capacity, she has advised on numerous projects in the creative industries including TV/radio/convergent media education projects for children and young people. For the Open University/BBC, she researched and presented the Art Works Programme for several years and presented one of the largest arts courses, Shakespeare in Performance, (with 6,000 registered students and 6 million drop in viewers for most programmes) for which she and the OU-BBC Multimedia team won awards for their invention of new forms of interactive teaching with the Cut Your Own Shakespeare CD Roms, videos and publications. She also toured internationally for the OU and BBC in the mid-late 1990s as part of the British Council Cultural Studies course development programme for which she helped to set up the British Council-funded PhD programme at the OU, supervising some of the first international PhD candidates from Morocco through to successful completion. She also wrote and co-edited some of the OU’s best selling textbooks of that period, including Gender and Literature, and Shakespeare, Aphra Behn and the Canon. While in Morocco she also set up the first technology backbone for women: a series of supported cybercafés run by women where women could communicate safely and discreetly: the beginning of what became the Safetynet charity. As part of that ongoing work, through her creative enterprise SpiritLEVEL, she also dances with women and men of limited physical movement and/or learning differences, using eyegaze and other technology supports to level the ‘playing and dancing fields’ for all participants so that everyone can engage fully in their own forms of creative expression.
Having developed the interactive learning rubric and characterological framework for the highly successful tv series BB Agus Bella in Ireland, as well as new virtual worlds to support internet safety training for parents, teachers and kids, she is currently developing new interactive inclusive children’s learning programmes with collaborators from the Oscar-nominated Song of the Sea team and from the Sesame Street and Bear in the Big Blue House teams. This broadcasting work is informed not only by her educational experience and media and broadcast training with the BBC, but also by many years of television and convergent media work and her direction of live theatre and comedy for the Cambridge Footlights and TBA Live Comedy Club at the Gate Theatre London as well. This rich public speaking and production background makes her a highly sought after public speaker for academic keynotes and industry liaison events alike.
She leads a team of scholars and technologists working together to invent and implement innovative technology tools for ‘real social change’ via the SMARTlab International initiative, which trains PhD supervisors to support creative industry professionals in their practice-based doctoral studies in Ireland, the UK, the USA and Canada (including PhD graduates who are NASA scientists, 3D science designers, cultural heritage user interface experts, et al.).  She has led numerous multi-million euro research projects for the EC and industry collaborators, and is currently co-PI for the Learnovate Centre (6 million euros) and Academic Chair/UCD faculty lead for the ASSISTID Project (8.9 million euros overall to the all-island consortium led by charity Respect for the DOCTRID Institute, coordinated by and for RCSI, MSU et al). She is also a regular judge and evaluator for many international funding councils and foundations including SFI, the IRC, the Fulbright Commission (for which she is currently Chair of Judges for the TechImpact Awards), the Wellcome Trust, the Canadian Innovation Fund, SSHRC and the EC. She has served as Leonardo Advisor for the Science Gallery Dublin since 2010, and previously served as Chair of Judges for the Sci-Art and Science on Stage and Screen panels of the Wellcome Trust. She was also chair of Judges for the European Commission’s HERA (Humanities in the European Research Area) call in 2013-4, and evaluates for the EC on SaferInternet+ and Future Emerging Tech.  She is currently collaborating with partners in the European Parliament on a new Roadmap for Responsible Open Innovation – what Lizbeth calls ‘Hippocratic Innovation.’
In addition to her major contributions to the field of Inclusive Design through production of the personalisable Inclusive Design Handbook in 2014, she has also written and edited 14 books and many peer-reviewed articles and broadcasts. Having previously supervised 40 PhDs to successful completion, she currently supervises and mentors practice-based PhD and Masters dissertations and industry/research council projects in the areas of: Creative Technology Innovation, Connected Health, Virtual Worlds, Inclusive Design, Experience Design, Interactive Exhibit Curation, Digital Media, ICT4d, Assistive Technologies for People with Disabilities and the Elderly, Technology Futures, Wearables and SMART Textiles, Performance Technologies, Assistive Tech, Technology Enhanced Learning for Health and Well Being, Connected Health, Personalised Electronic Health Systems, Digital Materialisation, Haptic and HCI integrated studies, as well as Gamification, or what Lizbeth calls ‘Meaningful Games’ or Mobile Games for Learning.
In the knowledge transfer domain, she founded the MAGIC (Multimedia and Games Innovation Centre) in East London in 2005, bringing industry and NGO players together with science scholars and artist-practitioners across disciplines in what was London’s first fully open source/open access 3D printing and games lab. For seven years, she worked with Microsoft on their largest ever community engagement project- (Clubtech), which has so far transformed the education of over 7 million children and young people worldwide. She founded the charity Safetynet in 2003, and currently serves as VP for the charity Special Effect (Oxford), as well as serving on the Advisory Board of the new Samsung Innovation Centre for the Children’s Health Fund and the Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University (New York), with previous collaborations with colleagues at Columbia University working on the interactive ‘smart’ children’s hospital at Montefiore (Bronx, NY) and the Harlem Children’s Zone.
Professor Goodman and her team were selected by Crytek and VR First to lead a global learning consortium using cutting edge VR and AR tools for real social change. Partners include IBM, Microsoft, Fexco, SGI, Easylumens, 4M Group, All These Worlds, Hao2, I-DEAS, Skignz, and other smes in the science-art visualisation space. Lab spaces for outreach and community impact are currently being chosen in Dublin, Kerry, Belfast, and globally.
Professor Goodman is also co- PI on several large Canadian and US grants for Innovation in Education, with Raising the Floor and the Inclusive Design Institute of Canada, and is Visiting Prof at the IDRC of Canada at OCADU, and at the Serious Games Centre of the University of Coventry, as well as a frequent visiting lecturer at NYU. She is due to take up Visiting Professorship at Changchun University and the NVidia Joint Lab for Mixed Reality in Autumn/Winter of China in 2017.
She is a dual citizen of the USA and UK, currently resident in Ireland, with full flexible working rights in North America and across Europe and with a very strong, long-standing network of collaboration globally.
She is a woman of limited eyesight but boundless vision.