eXperience Play (XP) is a professional development program meant to introduce instructors to game design and how it can be utilized to engage students in the classroom.

While building text-based games, participants will explore pedagogical themes ranging from Digital Literacy, Peer-Peer Learning, and the idea of Students as Creators. XP is meant for anyone interested in building games to use in the classroom or wanting to facilitate student game development as part of their courses. XP uses the open-source Twine software as the platform for building text-based games since no prior programming knowledge is required to use Twine.

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XP is divided into five sessions. Each section will scaffold different parts of the game design process and shift the focus between five discussion topics.

  1. Play – Participants will spend a session playing text-based games to gain experience with this medium. Discussion will be focused on defining Meaningful Play and explore integrating games into curriculum. Finally, we will also brainstorm game ideas for next session.
  2. Plan – Much of this session will be spent outlining and storyboarding each game. We will also develop the idea of Digital Storyboarding as practice.
  3. Produce – At this point, it is time to install the Twine “game engine” and start building games. Some time will focus on learning the syntax of Twine and discussing the significance of Students as Creators in the classroom.
  4. Polish – Once prototypes of Twine games are being produced, we will spend some time testing and adding new mechanics to each game to improve their delivery/quality. Additionally, we will develop the idea of Peer-Peer Learning.
  5. Publish – Finally, participants will put the finishing touches on their games and move toward publishing them online. Discussion will finish with the topic of Digital Literacy. I am hoping to see a handful of completed games by the end of this last session.


Besides all the trials of learning new software and writing stories, there are two big challenges John and I are anticipating for this professional development.

First, developing a game while learning how to develop games while learning how Twine operates (all simultaneously) might overload participants. Not every instructor will have all the pieces of game design at one time, so we will need to be flexible and scaffold the learning process as much as possible to guide their study and development.

Second, the only way creating a game in five weeks (possibly only 10 hours) is possible will be if the scale and scopes of the games are drastically limited. John and I must be aware of each instructors projects and provide solutions to alleviate development pressures to make it possible for faculty to develop games within this timeline.


I have been looking forward to this professional development for many months now—I am so EXCITED it has arrived. Applications close Tuesday (Sept. 6), and it looks like John and I will be hosting two session from Sept. 12 – Oct. 14!

If you are interested in this program, check out more information on the eXperience Play website: eXperiencePlay.education

The featured image is provided CC0 by Scott Webb via Unsplash.


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