Fact: Graduate students are the best! 🙂 So, last night I hosted a workshop about “gamifying the classroom” (and game-based learning) for the Graduate Teaching Academy hosted by OU’s Center for Teaching Excellence. I ended up experimenting with this workshop quite a bit and wanted to share some of my adventures/reflections.

Storytelling – A Presentation Platform?

As a challenge to myself I ended up using Twine to build my presentation. This required learning a bit of CSS and HTML coding (which I was craving!)—but check out this crazy product from my experimentation. The whole experience reminded me a bit of reveal.js. That being said, I enjoyed using Twine because it forced me to consider how my information fit together as I had to intentionally connect each “slide.” Plus, the final product, being an HTML file, exists as a self-contained website that’s easy to host and share. I’ve produced way too many slideshows using Keynote (etc.) for those tools to be fun anymore. So, I look forward to producing more presentations in Twine to explore more coding and this presentation style that feels closer to digital storytelling. If you’re interested, I ended up producing this template for myself that I’ll share for download if you want to poke around it within Twine.

Speaking of digital storytelling, you may have noticed from my crazy Twine product that my presentation was filled with some unusual “slides.” During the session, I ended up role playing as though my slides had been “hacked” by an unknown entity (a GOBLIN!). I used this mechanism to justify certain types of engagement like requiring the room to define Gamification and Game-Based learning in our own terms since my definitions were obscured by the “hacked presentation.” It was a fun way to disarm folks during discussion and instill some curiosity into what we were doing. This was similar to the approach I took with John Stewart in our #OpenEd16 presentation.

Slide from presentation showing how definitions I wanted to share were obscured.

Meaningless Tokens To Encourage Discussion

As folks contributed towards our discussion I decided to hand out physical tokens to visually represent their participation. It was an easy way to encourage people to keep contributing to discussion and it actually worked better than I anticipated as an example of gamification. Interestingly, discussion eventually arrived at equating these tokens I was granting to the grades we give students. I was blown away that we took that turn during discussion and was excited to explore that idea with these graduate students. It was spectacular! I’ll have to use more meaningless tokens (or badges) in the future if it let’s me draw out such reflections through satire.

Twine-ing Around – Game Jam

The largest part of this workshop involved a small scale game jam similar to the one I did this semester at the iPadPaloozaOU Conference. It went pretty well. First, everyone played some games posted on philome.la. Then I had everyone write out some simple choices and consequences on notecards. This made the final step of translating work into Twine easy so the graduate students could continue to experiment and explore choice-based storytelling. My favorite part about this group was getting several people to experience a bit of coding for the first time. The accessibility of Twine makes this feasible in a session this short. 🙂

Meta – The Reveal

To conclude our session, I dove into exposing all the unconventional things I did during the workshop. From the role playing, to the meaningless tokens, to our time game designing, I left no stone unturned. For me, this final meta-level discussion about the workshop itself was critical because I wanted everyone to understand that each of my unusual approaches had meaning. This opportunity to reflect gave everyone the chance to uncover the examples of gamification and game-based learning I used to scaffold the connections between the concepts and the application of the concepts from our session.

All of this effort was because, simply stated by a faculty member earlier this week:


I’m glad I felt compelled to blog a little today because there’s so much going on that I want to write about. (And my draft post number is currently too high for comfort!) O.o Anyways, here are a few recent posts that I’m excited about—take a look:

The featured image is provided CC0 by Hope House Press via Unsplash.

Leave a Reply