Alumni

Alumni Spotlight: Dennis Ramirez Makes Award-Winning Educational Games for PBS

Dennis Ramirez
Dennis Ramirez, Senior Digital Program Manager at Twin Cities PBS in Saint Paul, Minnesota, and a former member of the Bernalillo Parks & Recreation Clubhouse in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Photo courtesy of Dennis Ramirez.

Dennis Ramirez is Senior Digital Program Manager at Twin Cities PBS in Saint Paul, Minnesota, and a former member of the Bernalillo Parks & Recreation Clubhouse in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Based on his leadership in the Clubhouse, Ramirez was awarded a Clubhouse Network college scholarship (funded by Intel) in 2004 and attended the University of New Mexico where he graduated with a BS in Computer Science. He then attended Stanford University where he earned a Master’s in Learning Design and Technology.

A unique opportunity presented itself while he was developing educational games.  In 2020, Twin Cities PBS premiered “Hero Elementary, ” an educational cartoon for children broadcasting across the USA receiving wide viewership and critical acclaim. Ramirez was responsible for the production and development of the show’s digital assets. This includes responsibility for the show’s website, HeroElementary.org, and the associated PBS kids games. Much like its television programming, PBS is known for its high-quality educational games for children.

These games received seven million plays in six months and were recently nominated for a Kid Screen award in the “Best Learning App” category.  The Kid Screen Awards “celebrate the year’s best work in children’s television and digital media.”

I love educational video games, but I think they’re much better when they’re science experiments, when there’s something that you have to work through, rather than just assessments.

a screenshot of HeroElementary.org
HeroElementary.org is one of the PBS show’s digital assets built by Dennis Ramirez

Ramirez was recently interviewed by the Albuquerque Journal. Ramirez said, “working on ‘Hero Elementary’ was an opportunity to expand the Latino representation with the show”.

For Dennis Ramirez, when Ramirez was growing up in Albuquerque, there were very few shows he watched that had characters like him. “It was a new property and that was awesome,” he says. “The sky was the limit in what we wanted to accomplish.”

The Clubhouse Network congratulates Dennis on all of his hard work and accomplishments. We are so proud of you!

Dennis Ramirez gives his TEDx talk entitled "Epic Fail"
Dennis Ramirez gives his TEDx talk entitled “Epic Fail.” Photo courtesy of Dennis Ramirez.

Dennis Ramirez Talks “Epic Fails” at TEDxABQ

“We need places where we can fail, where we can experiment, and where we can learn.”

Dennis Ramirez gave a talk entitled “Epic Fail” at TEDx Albequerque in 2015 where he shared his views on the value failure and the role it plays in educational video games. He explains, “Learning is messy. The path from point A to point B is not always a straight line–and it doesn’t have to be. You’re learning. There are bound to be places you’re going to fail. But with feedback, you can move forward a little bit more each time.”

Watch his TEDx Talk below.


If you’re a former Clubhouse member, tell us what you’re up to!

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