Here you can learn about my research activities, which are mainly connected with my academic life – but often blend with development activities elsewhere. My main research interests are digital media, games, and stories in teaching and learning, and instructional design.

Current activities

Project leader of Late-teenagers Online Information Search (LOIS), funded by the FNS, in collaboration with SUPSI-DTI (Prof. Silvia Giordano, co-applicant) and PHSZ (Dr. Martin Hermida) (2020-2022) –

Project co-applicant of Making a Privacy-Aware World (MAPAW), funded by the FNS under the Agorà Programm, with Prof. Silvia Giordano (SUPSI-DTI) and Dr. Anna Picco-Schwendener (Competence Centre Digital Law, University of Lugano) (2020-2022) –

Project leader of L’indovino automatico, funded by the federal Giovani e Media Programme, for the development of teaching materials and learning activities about privacy and personal data. Also with Prof. Silvia Giordano (SUPSI-DTI) and Dr. Anna Picco-Schwendener (Competence Centre Digital Law, University of Lugano) (2020-2021).

Team leader in the School Break project, an Erasmus+ Strategic partnership led by the Pädagogische Hochschule Freiburg (DE), on the use and design of escape rooms in secondary education (2019-2021, project leader prof. Bernd Remmele) –

Team leader in the DigiBasics project, funded by swissuniversities and led by the Pädagogische Hochschule Zürich, for the development of online self-learning materials for the development of digital skills in pre-service teachers (2021-2024; project leader Jürg Fräfel).


Researcher in the FNS Agorà project Introducing People to Research in Robotics through an Extended Peer Community in Southern Switzerland, selected as best Agorà project proposal in 2018, recipient of the Optimus Agorà Prize  (2018-2020; project leaders: Alberto Piatti, Francesco Mondada and Luca Maria Gambardella).

Co-applicant of the FNS Agorà project Matematicando, for the communication of Mathematics education research (2017-2020; project leader: prof. Silvia Sbaragli).


Researcher and instructional designer in the SUPSI internal research & development project Case studies between research and education, where we devised and tested a method to develop case studies from actual research project, to enrich basic tertiary professional education (2017-2019; project leader: Dr. Iolanda Pensa).

Project leader of the research project Film a scuola per tutti!, about how teachers locate, curate and use films and video materials in class teaching in primary and secondary education. The project is funded by SUPSI-DFA (2018-2019).

Internet, big data e privacy. Le sfide della digitalizzazione a scuola e oltre. Research event within the Break Point series for DFA staff, with Prof. Silvia Giordano.


Researcher in the Medienkompetenz in stationären Einrichtungen der Jugendhilfe (MEKiS) project, coordinating field operations in Ticino (2017/2018; project leader: prof. Olivier Steiner, FHNW).


Researcher and project manager of AlpConnectar, a research project on twinning primary school classes from different linguistic regions for second language learning with digital technologies. In collaboration with the teacher education universities from cantons Graubünden and Wallis and with SWISSCOM (started in 2013). In 2017, thanks to the support of the Bundesamt für Kultur, che project also included also lower secondary school classes.

Researcher in the Wikipedia Primary School, a research project for cooperation Switzerland-South Africa, on the use of open digital media for producing teaching materials for African schools (started in 2015; project leader: Dr. Iolanda Pensa).


Director for research at the Dipartimento Formazione e Apprendimento (DFA) of the Scuola Universitaria Professionale della Svizzera italiana (since 2010, for 3.5 years)

President of the Scientific and organizing committee of the Annual Conference of the Swiss Society for Educational Research SSRE2013 –

Member of the organizing committee of the 1st online conference on Digital Storytelling – VIS Conference.

Development of the white paper Teaching educational research at DFA which informs research courses and thesis work at all DFA programs  –

Coordination of the working group Modelli organizzativi per la ricerca, with the task of designing new coordination and management procedures for DFA in its path of integration in the Swiss academic landscape (since 2012, 2 years).

Researcher in the LabLearning project within the Lifelong Learning Programme of the European Commission (2011-2013).


Post-doc researcher at the NewMinE Lab, University of Lugano, in the field of educational technologies, game-based learning, design communication and visual languages for instructional design (since 2003).

Executive director of the red-ink doctoral school funded by the Swiss National Fund under the prod*doc program (since 2007, also coordinated the proposal).

Co-editor with Lorenzo Cantoni of the NewMinE List, now with over 400 subscribers (since 2005).

Team leader in the OIKODOMOS project (EU LLP Erasmus/Virtual Campus) and in the PREDIL project (EU Erasmus)

Instructional designer at eLab at the University of Lugano and the University of Applied Sciences of Southern Switzerland (since 2001).

Invited talk at the School of Informatics at Indiana University & Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) on Playful Requirements Analysis with LEGO bricks (April).
>> View the video of the talk

Organizatioin with M. Caeiro and M. Derntl of VIDLATEL 2009 – First International Workshop on Visual Design Languages and Applications for Technology Enhanced Learning. July 17th, Riga, Latvia (within ICALT 2009).


Awardee of The ECT Foundation’s Robert deKieffer International Fellowship Award.
Ross Perkins, editor of the International Column in TechTrends, took time for interviewing me as recipient of the 2008 AECT DeKieffer Award in the May/June 2009 Issue. Read the interview.

Visiting researcher at State Universty New York in Potsdam, NY, with Dr. Anthony Betrus, for a study on engagement in videogames (May-August, 4 months).

Instructional designer of 4 Swiss Virtual Campus projects (Hear and See, COLORE, EGGS, RACOON, all started in 2005).


Organization of FOSLET 2006 – Workshop on Free and Open Souce Learning Environments and Tools held in Como (Italy) during the OSS 2006 conference. With Riccardo Mazza and Stefano Tardini.

Organizing committee of the event The Crisis of Borders, at the Università della Svizzera italiana in Lugano, about learning regions and development.

Program committee for Web site Evolution 2006, Philadelphia, USA.


Swiss National Research Fund grant for the COLD project, including a visiting scholar period at the UOC – Universitat Oberta de Catalunya (June-August, 3 months). Investigation about instructional design team communication and the implementation of ID models.

Partner in the EU-funded project EDUKALIBRE: study about the application of the OS development model to learning materials and evaluation of OS LMS. (Since December 2003, 2 years)

Partner in the EU-funded project ERIC – European Resources for Intercultural communication, eLearning subnetwork (since September 2004 – August 2005, 8 months)

Member of the organizing committee of the 5th conference of the Swiss Society for Research in Education, representative of the University of Lugano.


Instructional designer at eLab: in charge of the review and selection of a suitable Open Source LMS for the University of Lugano and the University of Applier Sciences of Southern Switzerland. Responsible for the migration of courses to the LMS and of the training provided to the teaching staff. Proposal writing for several project in the Swiss Virtual Campus program of the Conference of Swiss Universities (all 7 were accepted and funded!).

Curriculum design, organization, promotion and launch of the Master program in Communication, major in Education and Training for the Istituto Comunicazione e Formazione at the University of Lugano.


With a grant from the private Fundazione Daccó, visiting scholar period at Distance Education & Technologies, UBC, Vancouver (Canada) (May-September, 4.5 months).

Educational media designer in the project SWISSLING: a Swiss network of Linguistics Courseware, funded by the Swiss University Conference and involving 5 Swiss Universities and other business partners  (since October 2000, 3 years).


Local co-chair of the 4th International Conference on New Educational Environments–ICNEE 02.

Member of the web site redesign committee of the University of Lugano.


Internship at the Technische Universität in Vienna, Austria , Institut für Datenbanken and Artificial Intelligence, with Prof. Georg Gottlob and Dipl-Ing. Riccardo Peratello. EU R&D projects in the 5th IST Framework – SITMOON, EUROTRACT -; study for a ISO 9000 certification supporting software (since October 1999-March 2000, 6 months).