Ralph Vacca

Visiting Assistant Professor of Educational Communications and Technology

Ralph Vacca

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Ralph Vacca is Visiting Assistant Professor of Educational Communication and Technology. He has a PhD in Educational Communication and Technology from NYU, an MA in Educational Leadership from NYU, and a BBA in Entrepreneurship Management from Baruch College, City University of New York.

Ralph uses design-based research (DBR) and participatory design methods to explore the role of emotions and culture in mediating interactions with digital media. He studies these issues within mobile learning, social media platforms, educational games, and blended learning contexts. His work has involved the design of digital tools to support contemplative traditions such as mindfulness and compassion meditation, exploring the implications of efforts to make such experiences more accessible, pragmatic, and framed within the traditional contemplative traditions. Another area of research is on the design and analysis of games to promote prosocial attitudes, such as promoting self-reflection on political deception and understanding the role of ethnic representation in prosocial gaming experiences. Current work has focused on the use of participatory design methodologies to explore the development of mental health tools for adolescent Latinas, and the design of asynchronous learning materials for the digital learning design.

Previously, Ralph co-founded a simulations design company in New York City focused on socio-emotional learning, empathy and mental health. In addition, he has worked with middle and high school teachers to design knowledge sharing tools and designing digital learning experiences. Ralph's work has been presented at various Human Computer Interaction (HCI), games for learning, and learning sciences conferences.