Donald Brinkman manages external programs in digital humanities, digital heritage and games for learning at Microsoft Research. Before joining MSR, Donald served for two years as a technical program manager for the Microsoft education group. In that role he was responsible for defining vision of innovative business intelligence and analytics for education as well as driving a variety of enterprise-scale server capabilities. Prior to joining Microsoft he spent eight years in developmental and technical roles acquiring and executing government research contracts in areas such as quantum computation; signals intelligence; electromagnetic and kinetic simulations; behavioral economics; game theory; and cross-cultural communications. Donald is a writer, painter, game designer, and a passionate advocate of the benefits of building bridges between technical and humanist disciplines. He is particularly interested in disruptive technologies that leverage crowdsourcing, social computing, culture jamming, transmedia, and other non-traditional approaches.
Donald supports the Games for Learning Institute, a consortium of 8 universities, 14 principal investigators, and a small army of graduate students whose mission is to explore what makes games fun, what makes them educational, and how to best blend the two goals. One offshoot of this program is Just Press Play, a project conducted by Rochester Institute of Technology to inject game mechanics into higher education. Donald also manages development of the second version of ChronoZoom, a tool to visualize massive time scales for the purpose of teaching Big History and enabling massively multidisciplinary research.
Other projects include Project Garibaldi, a project conducted by Brown University to display large-format fine art on Surface, and Game Show NYC, a collaboration with Teacher's College at Columbia University to demonstrate the intersection of games and art.