Heidi Boisvert

Ph.D. student
Electronic Arts

Biography

Heidi Boisvert is a new media artist, game designer, experimental filmmaker, writer and educator. She was formerly the Multi-Media Director at Breakthrough, where she oversaw the production of a wide range of new media projects that helped raise awareness of pressing social issues. She designed the first 3D social change game, ICED I Can End Deportation, about unfair U.S. immigration policies. Prior to joining Breakthrough, Heidi taught Digital Media & Media Studies at Hunter College, and launched a free digital media program for low-income youth through Time Warner & NOAA funding. Her latest initiative, America 2049, an alternative reality game on Facebook about pluralism is garnering headline attention. Most recently, Heidi founded and serves as the CEO and Creative Director of the futurePerfect lab, a boutique creative agency that works with non-profits and educational institutions to develop imaginative and playful applications of integrated media and emerging technology. She is currently a PhD candidate in the Electronic Arts program at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.

Research

Social-emotional competence is “a mastery of self-worth and emotional regulation,” which enables cooperative and pro-social behavior to develop, including initiation and maintenance of peer friendships as well as adult relationships, management of aggression and conflict, development of empathy, and cultivating the ability to make responsible decisions and handle challenging situations effectively. The development of social-emotional competence is of key importance during early childhood, particularly during preschool years. Socially and emotionally balanced children perform better at school, have increased confidence, possess good relationships, take on and persist at challenging tasks and communicate well.

The art of you & me is a suite of Kinect games designed to foster social-emotional competence in 3-7 year olds as they make that delicate transition from home into school. Leveraging the affordances of gesture and vocal recognition, as well as camera recording capabilities, the suite is an experiential play-based learning tool that focuses on cultivating the five core social-emotional competencies identified by Daniel Goleman: self and other awareness, mood management, self-motivation, empathy and relationship management. Through a host of creative physical and telematic collaborations, including choreographing, animating, sculpting, composing and directing emotions, users will unearth a sandbox of emergent potentiality for kinesthetically and vocally trying out strategies for expression and agency.