iThrive Sim is a digital platform that powers and assesses playful, embodied social and emotional skill-building experiences for teens. Play is steered by teens’ improvised interactions and real-time decisions, impacting each game’s story. iThrive Sim’s tech enables the modulation of stress experienced by each player and monitors in-game behaviors taken in response. Its next iteration, made possible by the Learning Engineering Tools Growth Award, will expand the platform’s data collection and assessment capabilities with pre- and post-reflection features that enable students who play iThrive Sim games and the educators who facilitate them to generate valuable data on teens’ real-time social and emotional functioning and skill development.
Executive Director & Chief Scientist, iThrive Games FoundationSusan Rivers, Ph.D., a social psychologist and expert in social and emotional learning and emotional intelligence, is the Executive Director and Chief Scientist of iThrive Games, a nonprofit that uses play and game design to support teen thriving. Dr. Rivers earned two master’s degrees, and her doctorate at Yale University was a lecturer at Skidmore College and served on the research faculty in Yale’s psychology department for nearly a decade, going on to co-found the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence. With iThrive and its partners, she has co-designed responsive and immersive games, environments, and experiences for teens that support their wellness and learning about themselves, society, and the world. Foundations and federal agencies, including the William T. Grant Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Institute of Education Sciences, the Novo Foundation, the Einhorn Family Charitable Trust, the Air Force Research Laboratories, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), and Department of Homeland Security (DHS) have funded her and her team’s work.