How can we use games and gamification in teaching and learning?
Last week professor Karl Kapp joined the Future Trends Forum to explore this subject. The conversation took off quickly as Karl raised ideas and the Forum community hurled questions.
I was especially struck by how many resources everyone shared, and wanted to echo them here.
To begin with, before the session started Dan LaSota shared a short Twitter exchange about a vulcanology game:
Here's a better look at a few more components of it. pic.twitter.com/yLT34wsQrF
— Shayla ❄🐔🎨 commissions closed (@BirdNinjaArt) May 5, 2021
Professor Kapp shared his The “Unofficial, Unauthorized History of Learning Games” Video Series and his L&D Easter Eggs newsletter, both on LinkedIn. He also pointed out his Zombie Instructional Design Apocalypse card game.
Then more and more specific recommendations came up:
- Instructional game design PhD programs: Lehigh and Drexel.
- One fascinating computer game on pandemics is Plague Inc. (thanks to Andrew Peterson, Neil Fung, and Andrew Bucior)
- One organization for game-interested faculty is Professors at Play (Twitter)
- Moe Ash recommended Assassin’s Creed and the Age of Empires series, which “taught us much about history and pivotal moments in history actually.”
- Mark Corbett Wilson shared the Centre For Imagination In Research Culture & Education
- Andrew Peterson plugged the Gencon convention
- Lisa Sieverts recommended the Thiagi Group as “a tremendous resource”
- Roxann Riskin sang the praises of Apples to Apples as her go to game.
- Neil Fung: “There’s a free Cards against Humanity game online which incoporates custom made decks. I wonder if the project has been developed in a more educational sense.”
- Moe Ash strongly drew our attention to Fluxx. “It has to be checked out…do not miss it.”
- Tom Haymes offered this advice: “You can buy blank cards on Amazon. I affix Avery labels to them which I just print via a laser printer.”
- Todd Bryant asked how people “find… games that match the content of a course?” He raised three sources he uses: BoardGameGeek, the MIT Game Lab, and Games for Change.
- Vanessa Vaile raised Ian Bogost’s critique, “Gamification is bullshit”.
- Andrew Peterson indicated Tabletop Simulator as a digital version of tabletop games.
- Chérie Dodd recommended the Teach, Play, Learn conference coming up soon, hosted by Indiana University.
- I pointed out The Thing From the Future card game as a conversation starter.
- Mark Corbett Wilson shared a scholarly article by Christo Dichev, Darina Dicheva, Galia Angelova, and Gennady Agre, “From Gamification to Gameful Design and Gameful Experience in Learning.” (December 2014)
While these discussions occurred within the Shindig environment, more took place on Twitter. Dan LaSota kept on tweeting, issuing several useful tweets during the session:
One tip for would be EDU game designers: play lots of games and note which game mechanics, rules or ways of doing things sparks your interest, and see how you can use these methods in an EDU game for your students.#FTTE
— Dan LaSota (@DanLaSota) May 6, 2021
I look at gamification as the process of wrapping up inherently boring processes with a thin layer of false promises of "fun".
Gaming is actually doing fun stuff. And learning along the way.#FTTE
— Dan LaSota (@DanLaSota) May 6, 2021
Sam Barnett replied:
Example: Super Mario Effect
— Sam Barnett (@SamRBarnett) May 6, 2021
Ben Rifkin responded:
About #gamification in learning #FTTE: if we posit that the best learning outcomes come from sustained instructional sequences & sustained time on task, then #gamification gives incentives to persist from year to year and incentives to motivate engagement with the learning task. pic.twitter.com/ERa0KHlu9f
— Ben Rifkin (@benrifkin) May 6, 2021
It was a busy hour!
So busy that there were also outstanding questions we didn’t get to, which I wanted to relay:
Jesse H Kemp: In general do you prefer cooperative or competitive games and why?
Neil Fung: How do current trends in video games or popular video games influence instructional game design?
Andrew Peterson: I hear a lot about board games and electronic games, but it seems like there’s a strong history in role-playing in the classroom. Does that just fit into the same mix?
Elliot Jordan: For Instructional Design students, do you recommend learning game engines first or finding learning problems and gaps that can use gamification?
Daniel Jordan: One of the ways we’re trying to encourage our faculty to implement gaming strategies at Saint Leo is through the creation of a faculty leaderboard that is linked to professional development. Thoughts on this and how to make it most effective?
Jesse H Kemp: Do you think we would get a quicker buy-in if we used simulation opposed to game? Is the terminology a hinderance?
Tom Haymes also asked about the value of extrinsic rewards for learning in game structures, pointing out that in a very recent Forum Alfie Kohn had argued such rewards were useless for education.
Here’s the full recording of the session:
If you’re interested in more upcoming discussions about gaming and education, check out our June gaming session with the Penn State designers of the What The Deck game. If you’d like to check out previous Forum conversations about the topic, head to our archive.
Got more resources to share? Would you like answering those outstanding questions, or posing some of your own? The comment box awaits your next move!