Image of Barbara Johnson

Before coming to teach at Grinnell College, I worked with software services and development in industry and academia at companies such as EcoLab, Banker's Systems, and the Universities of Minnesota and Wisconsin. I even worked at Grinnell College in 2010/2011 as a Curricular Technologies Specialist.

Since 2000, I have specialized in Educational Technology - putting together software development with educational theory to create new types of learning opportunities and tools, especially using games and simulations to support experiential learning in the sciences.

I am a strong believer in work/life balance and make time daily to get some exercise and enjoy some hobbies. If I don't respond to an email or voice mail message immediately, I may be in class or a meeting .... or I may be taking some time to recharge my batteries.

Fun Facts

I am from Minnesota and consider Duluth my hometown, eventhough I didn't grow up there. I still have family up in southern Minnesota and will often be dashing "up north" for holidays.

I am an avid reader --- mostly of science fiction and fantasy --- but I have branched into mysteries and historical fiction from time to time.


I research the use of computer games and virtual worlds for learning, but I also play some of them for fun. The list changes fairly frequently, but currently I am playing:

Augmented Reality Games

Computer Games


I'm pretty much interested in everything and am the epitome of a life-long learner. This can be a problem because I am too willing to get involved in projects that incorporate educational technology in some fashion, and these days, you can hardly walk down the hallway without running into yet another opportunity. So, if I hesitate when you bring me an idea, realize it is because I'm already probably overcommitted.