I want to make the world a better place.


I want to empower students to be reflective thinkers and critical creators.


I want students to make meaningful & positive contributions to this world.

How can I support this?

By making sure student experiences include these:

  1. Connect with people – (Be able to empathize with others)
  2. Communicate – (Learn the art of storytelling and interacting with the public)
  3. Engage – (Design impactful and authentic experiences)
  4. Authentic Skills – (Code and develop skills for the future)
  5. Open-Ended – (Expand their creativity and problem-solving prowess)
  6. Fun – (Play, tinker, and challenge themselves)

What can encompasses all these experiences?

Game Design

But doesn’t game design requires a lot of foundational knowledge to pursue? Isn’t this undertaken my teams of people spending countless hours creating?

True, so we need to utilize an accessible form of game design that should be:

  1. Text-Based – (Draw on the skills students are already developing in school)
  2. Web-Based – (Platform agnostic and easily transferable in and out of systems)
  3. Free – (I don’t want to contribute to the growing financial barrier of college)
  4. Open – (I want a tool that doesn’t put student’s data in control of a company)
  5. Easy to learn – (Feasible in a short term learning environment)
  6. Powerful if mastered – (Students can learn well beyond the basics)

What tool(s) can be used to accomplish this form of game design?

Twine (one option)

Twine is a free, open, easy to learn tool that allows people to create interactive fiction and text-based games—similar to choose your own adventure stories. Check out Twine here.

Can I see an example of student-made games?

Yes, here’s a whole English class worth of student-made games:

VideoGames 2017 UTM Class Screenshot

Can I see an example of Twine games made at OU?

Yes, here’s a game prototype about the choices refugees face when then come to the US. The game is heavily researched as the choices are based on real choices people face:

Sanctuary Screenshot

Where was this game developed?

It started as part of the faculty learning community, eXperience Play, where an instructor built the framework for students to populate with stories and choices. Explore eXperience Play here:

eXperience Play website with new experienceplay.education domain.


This lightning talk took place in under 5 minutes at OU’s Research Bazaar (#resbazOU). My goal was, starting with what was most important to me (making the world a better place), working my way to how I use game design as a pedagogical framework to accomplish theses pursuits. I recognize that simply adding game design to curriculum does not guarantee positive changes to the world, and there’s more to it than I can unpack in a lightning talk that was meant to inform and inspire. So, if you’d like to further discuss these ideas, let me know—I’m happy to converse!

Also, here are the slides for this short presentation:

PS. One of the coolest things happened after my lightning talk, I went to host a session of eXperience Play and received this feedback, unprompted, from a faculty member:

The featured image is provided CC0 by Nina Strehl via Unsplash.

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