294. The Allure of Play

Student learning is enhanced when active learning activities are used in instruction. In this episode, Victoria Mondelli and Joe Bisz join us to discuss how principles of game design can be used to create engaging active learning experiences. Tori is the Founding Director of the University of Missouri’s Teaching for Learning Center and is an Assistant Teaching Professor in the Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis. She had previously served at the teaching centers at Mercy College and at the CUNY Borough of Manhattan Community College. Joe Bisz is a learning games designer and Full Professor of English at CUNY Borough of Manhattan Community College. Victoria and Joe are co-authors of The Educator’s Guide to Designing Games and Creative Active-Learning Exercises: The Allure of Play, which was published in March this year by Teachers College Press at Columbia University.

Show Notes


John: Student learning is enhanced when active learning activities are used in instruction. In this episode, we discuss how principles of game design can be used to create engaging active learning experiences.


John: Thanks for joining us for Tea for Teaching, an informal discussion of innovative and effective practices in teaching and learning.

Rebecca: This podcast series is hosted by John Kane, an economist…

John: …and Rebecca Mushtare, a graphic designer…

Rebecca: …and features guests doing important research and advocacy work to make higher education more inclusive and supportive of all learners.


John: Our guests today are Victoria Mondelli and Joe Bisz. Tori is the Founding Director of the University of Missouri’s Teaching for Learning Center and is an Assistant Teaching Professor in the Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis. She had previously served at the teaching centers at Mercy College and at the CUNY Borough of Manhattan Community College. Joe Bisz is a learning games designer and Full Professor of English at CUNY Borough of Manhattan Community College. Victoria and Joe are co-authors of The Educator’s Guide to Designing Games and Creative Active-Learning Exercises: The Allure of Play, which was published in March this year by Teachers College Press at Columbia University. Welcome Tori and Joe.

Joe: Hi.

Tori: Hi.

Joe: Thanks for having us.

Rebecca: Today’s teas are:… Joe, are you drinking tea?

Joe: Oh, yes, classic chamomile.

Rebecca: …in a mug that looks handmade?

Joe: It looks handmade. But that’s just to make people think I have other skills as well. [LAUGHTER]

Rebecca: How about you, Tori?

Tori: Today I have a Starbucks espresso and cream in a fancy, fancy glass because it’s so special to be with you today.

Rebecca: She has upped to a stemmed glass. [LAUGHTER] How about you, John?

John: I am drinking a peppermint and spearmint tea in a Tea for Teaching mug.

Rebecca: That’s good. I have a cacao tea.

Tori: Very nice.

Rebecca: Cacao tea… the cocoa plant. And so it’s actually made from the plant rather than with tea leaves. So it’s not chocolate flavored. Made from the cacao plant. It’s very tasty.

John:I heard cat cow?

Rebecca: Cacao.

John: Well, I was thinking of the animals.

Tori: I was thinking of the yoga pose.

John: That’s right.

Tori: Cat cow. [LAUGHTER]

John: We’ve invited you here today to discuss your book, The Educators Guide to Designing Games and Creative Active Learning Exercises. What are the advantages of using playful activities in learning?

Joe: Well, I think I can take this start. Basically the foremost advantage of being playful is that your exercise can recapture the ageless allure of learning. As children,the first way that we all learn was by probing our environment, playing with it, inventing mock scenarios and then changing up the rules. As adults, I think that in our rush to instruct, our exercises can often become top down, and we can miss opportunities to inspire wonder.

Tori: Yeah, and I’d like to add, that’s why Joe and I really wanted our book to show teachers how to build their own creative active learning exercises to be easily appliable. We mostly come at it from a non-digital aspect. So we are recommending using basic materials, paper, cards, tricky questions, puzzles, point systems and role plays as some of our most common tactics.

Rebecca: Although, lucky for us, there’s plenty of digital technology that can make all those things happen in other environments too.

Tori: Exactly, and the book does have that. We have different sections of the book “design online,” and so recommending those tools as well.

Joe: Low-key though, low hyphen key.

Rebecca: So we know that students play games for hours, often weeks, months, and engage in things for long periods of time as they master new games and get engaged with their friends. What are some principles of game design that we can use to create and maintain student engagement in our classes?

Joe: This actually began some of our early research before the book, thinking in this direction. When designers make mainstream video games, or even elaborate board games, escape rooms, or interactive installations in museums, whether for children or adults, there’s often a lot of difficult content that needs to be taught. So as you mentioned, the designers rely on tried and true principles of interactive design to make these experiences feel engaging. In fact, there’s been a lot of work by other researchers in the past 20 years, exploring variations of these principles, and suggesting that we teachers can learn from these principles. But most of the focus was on proving the research rather than articulating how to apply these principles in a practical manner. This led to our own research collaboration, and eventually our very successful and hands-on professional development workshops. They use our methods.

Tori: So we have several sets of principles in the book, and I think this will be a perfect opportunity to tell you about our engagement principle. And we have five of those. The first one we call “narrative and fantasy,” the basic idea being that people need to hear stories that give context to what they’re facing in their own lives. The next one is “networked or sensory environment,” the idea that people thrive when they’re communicating in social groups using digital smart tools and multimedia. The next one, we would call “fast or random access,”
many people like processing information non-linearly and even simultaneously. Next is a classic one, “challenge,” people really want to challenge them feels achievable and personal. And the last one is also sort of a classic, I’d say, and that’s “rewards,” what we call “frequent rewards” or “feedback,” that we really as human beings crave feedback on our choices, even if that feedback is abstract, like .4 miles or something along those lines.

Rebecca: Can you share a couple of examples of what those engagement principles look like in the classroom?

Tori: Yes, Joe, do you think now’s a good time to talk about the simple mechanics?

Joe: Yeah, I think so. And this is basically a way that learning activities can be, as we could use the word converted, or transformed into some kind of playful activity. So there’s a spectrum, we think, to making an exercise more playful, or engaging. Of course, the first step is to just have it be active, have the learner actually be doing something other than just listening, the next step is to add a fun element. These are elements which researchers have shown add engagement or playfulness, we’ve classified some of these into what we call the five simple mechanics. And let’s see if we can explain them using audio only. So make the pace of your exercise a little bit random, or a little bit rapid. That’s two of the simple mechanics, rapid or random, or you can make its goal involve some kind of reward, such as points, badges, or some kind of rivalry, a little bit of competition, or students cooperating against a challenge, which still has competition, or some kind of roles. And we define roles pretty broadly, it could involve themes that have concentrated moments of emotions like feelings of suspense, it could be playing a historical, or fictional character, or just the students being on teams, and each student has a particular responsibility. So if just a part of it has one of these simple mechanics, not the whole thing, then you’re already on your way to creating something playful, so at least those moments would be playful.

Rebecca: So you’ve mentioned the five simple mechanics, can you give an example of what that looks like? So you’ve provided a frame, provided some playful things that we can think about, what would an activity maybe look like using something like that?

Tori: So one of the games that I like to play in the Teaching for Learning Center with faculty, and then what usually happens is they figure out ways to use it in their classroom, is a game that Joe designed a few years ago, we call it icebreaker bingo. So you can imagine a bingo card where there are prompts on each of the squares. And when people come in the room, and they’ve never met each other before, but there’s a common thread, those prompts will relate to that thread. And you circulate around the room and you go up to different people, you obviously introduce your name and other important details, and then you get right to it. You can ask them up to two of the prompts. And if they are true for them, they sign their initial, and then keep moving through the room. So the first person to get five across or five down or five of a kind, we have categories would shout “bingo.” They can think about the simple mechanics at play in that wonderful icebreaker certainly is random. Usually people don’t come up with a strategy for it, they just go up to random people and ask random prompts. And then they also can kind of get into the role of being an interviewer and selecting different prompts based on the ones that they like. The rewards is really strong in that particular icebreaker because there’s that joyous moment of explaining bingo, and then we’ll usually have a prize. And the rival factor is very heavy in icebreaker bingo. So that’s one that has a lot of these engagement principles, and is very popular with faculty and students alike, and can be just for general getting to know each other, but also could be used a little bit as a kind of quizzing mechanism as well.

Joe: And I like that Tori gave an example of what we would call basically a more full fledged game. But our listeners can also think about the simple mechanics as just little sprinkles onto something. So for example, for random, we have something that we named monkey wrench challenges, where you have any kind of standard activity with the students that are working on something. But then you make a point of changing things by calling out a sudden challenge that requires the students to alter their approach. So maybe it’s a new perspective by which they’re looking at the material and other concepts and kind of new information that they have to find. And even though you’ve planned it out, probably, unless you have a deck of these things that you’re drawing from, it’ll have a nice taste of random and nonlinear and break the order that students were doing something and therefore, for reasons known to these researchers, feel somewhat pleasing.

John: Can any active learning activity be converted into a more playful structure.

Joe: I think so because if we look at it as a spectrum, moving from active learning to adding a little bit of play, even if the rest of your exercises is exactly as you’ve already designed it, then anything can be converted. It’s just a question of whether one, after analyzing the need for what you’re trying to achieve, whether it needs it. The longer you have an activity that goes on that you might consider or your students might consider to be passive, we would argue the more the need for some element of it to change the pace, or to change the goal, so that it could feel a little bit more playful.

Tori: And Joe, in our decade plus time of doing this work, have you ever had an occasion where somebody came to you for advice on making a learning activity more playful or gameful where you’ve had to turn them away? I could say I have not, we always find something.

Joe: No, definitely not. Especially if they’re already crossed the chasm, and they’re actually interested in making a more playful,

Rebecca: …perhaps the very first step, right? So you note in your book that learning activities might be focused on skill and drill, or focus more on deep learning. Can you talk a little bit about how we can do a playful activity or a game for each of those different kinds of learning?

Tori: Yes, definitely. And if you’ll let me just kind of explain a little bit on how we classify skill and drill versus going more towards deep learning. So skill and drill, what we’re really talking about here are sort of facts, factual, and foundational knowledge that’s needed either in a discipline or sort of a general education curriculum. And so it’s really things that people need to commit to memory, just basic ease and facility with those facts or figures, that kind of thing. And then when we’re talking about deep learning, we start to move into the ability to, for those who love Bloom’s Taxonomy, is like moving into manipulating information using higher order thinking, but to do that in a way that really will be long lasting, because even over time that certain things can evaporate. That’s just human memory. So when we talk about games for deeper learning, it’s not enough to use the engagement principles and the simple mechanics. And there are ways of structuring it so that we get students to grapple more deeply with content and do things with content. So we’re delighted to bring the complex mechanic to people and readers with the ALLURE method. Joe, do you want to talk about that?

Joe: Yeah. So it’s perhaps a little unexpected in our book, because a lot of people who are talking about games are focusing on the engagement element. And immediately, we do talk about that. But we’re actually firm believers that, in addition to being engaging, well designed games and playful activities, can carry, as Tori was saying, deep learning principles taken from the cognitive sciences. So before the book, I started doing some research on ways that faculty were already approaching learning activities in the classroom. And I came up with a classification system that Tori also expanded on with me for the purpose of the book. And we looked at how these things could carry some of what we call deep learning principles, such as identity situated meanings, and the ability to pass information to students through cycles of expertise, so that the students slowly becomes a master and then is challenged by new information. We call these the complex mechanics, and to them will instantly be very familiar, I think, to most of our audience. One of them is called “trivia questions.” It’s pretty much the most common type of playful activity that educators use in the classroom. Another one is called “simulations,” which is also very common, especially at the high school level. And that can involve debates and roleplays, which in our opinion, are an example type simulation, also arguments. Very complex mechanics, we call “cut ups,” basically about sequencing puzzles, reordering information, mixing it up, and having to put it back together. Other ones would involve classification type exercises, such as sorting or matching. So these are already hard-core activities that are done sometimes in the classroom. But we’ve linked them to some of these deep learning principles and have explained how these teachers want to design something but they don’t want to reinvent the wheel, they could just look at one of these nine complex mechanics and they’re sort of gameful approaches, creating something. We also have deduction exercises, common to scavenger hunts, brainstorming, which is definitely playful and feel like a kind of game and interpretive exercises such as improv. I was just at conference a few days ago, called Playful Learning and improv was everywhere. It was the heart with all these teachers just talking about and it was so interesting to see all these examples of playful improv in order to illuminate the concept.

John: In your title, you have the ALLURE of play, but ALLURE is used there not just as part of the title, but it’s also an acronym. Could you tell our listeners what the acronym stands for?

Tori: Yes, A – ask where to apply the play. L- list the mental moves. Second L – link the mental moves to the play. U – understand how the learning principles operate. R – run the activity game. And E – evaluate the learner experience. So that spells ALLURE, and that’s our six-step method, the backward design guide. And we’re so happy that it worked out because we just love the word “allure.”

Rebecca: Can you walk us through those steps in how a faculty member might approach their class and designing an activity?

Tori: The first step really, an educator wants to ask themselves or work with a small group to really inquire in their own curriculum about where, to use a business term, where would the return on investment be for your student learning? Joe and I are believers that if it isn’t broke, don’t fix it. [LAUGHTER] So where are students struggling? Have you taught this class before? Is there a bottleneck in learning? Is there something that’s holding them back from the learning? And we think game-based learning is the ultimate in active learning pedagogy, as really, really strong to help students through and be successful. We advise educators to look at the curriculum and go where the student learning is being held up for some reason. Maybe there’s a student learning bottleneck, because cognitively it’s a difficult concept. Or maybe there’s an affective blockage. So Joe and I are strong proponents of game-based learning as the best active learning strategy. And so we think that you can go to your toughest student learning challenges and apply game-based learning there. So that’s what we’re really asking in step one is, where do you think you’ll have the most bang for your buck? Because game-based learning does take a good amount of talent and time put into it. So making judicious decisions. Is there a place where students are bored? Is there a place where just, semester after semester, you lose half the class, and to go ahead and apply your energies there. The next step, list the mental moves, really gets at when you have a student learning outcome that you’re working with for students in a class, oftentimes, that’s written in a way that is a little obtuse, you have to break it down to really get at what the student is actually doing mentally, what are the mental acrobatics that are going on there? So this is where we will say, “Let’s get granular. What are we really talking about? What are the mental moves?” Joe and I are both very inspired by the decoding the discipline scholarly community, and they have had, for decades, really strong practices in faculty working together, two faculty from different disciplines to help each other break down what the expert is really doing. And so the first couple of steps of the ALLURE method are really picking up on that tradition of where do you want this learning game to be successful in your curriculum? And then what is really going on at a minute level, the kinds of thinking steps, the kinds of mental moves that students need practice with. And then the third, I like to think of link the mental moves to the play… it really is the magic of the whole ALLURE method. Because when Joe developed the complex mechanics, he categorized them according to Bloom’s Taxonomy level. Now, what this does is it really takes a lot of guesswork out for educators who want to apply the method. Now all of a sudden, they can drill down on nine of the complex mechanics and say, “Well, I want the complex mechanics that are really going to help my students. say with analysis.” And then that gives them a subset of choices, that they can choose the complex mechanic that foster more analysis and build that in as the game play, so students are really practicing analysis, getting feedback on that analysis. And it’s really quite time efficient, thanks to that categorization.

Joe: So Tori just reviewed the first three steps: ask, list, and link. The last three steps are understand, run, and evaluate. So as soon as the teacher has finished thinking about what are the actual steps the students are doing, and connecting it to one or more of the complex mechanics, this is the moment when we ask them to brainstorm roughly what their playful activity will look like. So in the book, they take 20 minutes, putting together some ideas, making connections, then they have some tea, take time off and we move on. So this is all about the end of link moving into understand how the learning principles operate. Within understand how the learning principle operate, they then do a debrief and they’re examining what they came up with. And they’re comparing it to all the mechanics and principles that we’ve been teaching them so far in the book, not because their activity needs to have all of these things, that they’re looking for. have perhaps missed opportunities, or things that can be refined, or mechanics that they were working on, but perhaps didn’t come across as thoroughly as possible. We call these checklists. And they’re just going through and reevaluating their approach, and then tweak it one more time. In the next step, we have run the activity game. So ideally, the teacher would talk to either some play testers or some fellow colleagues in their discipline, and talk to them about what they’ve come up with, one more last chance for feedback. And then they would present it in the classroom to their students. And we have different methods for collecting student feedback and taking notes on what they’re saying. We realized pretty early on in our own workshops, that a lot of teachers are actually just uncertain how to even run an activity game in a classroom, much less one that they’ve designed. There’s so many facilitation issues to think about. So within our step, run the activity game, we also walk teachers through thinking about common facilitation issues that will come up such as: Do I have the right kinds of desks to hold these games or activities? Do I need a projection screen? How many teams are there going to be? Should students be in teams. In all these concerns, they can think about them ahead of time and have a good strike plan. After the activity game is run, we go to the last step, evaluate, evaluate the learner experience. And we have different rubrics and ways that the teacher can think about how successful was the students’ experience of this? And how might the activity game be iterated upon and changed for next time? Because we all know, we slowly work on our exercises, and we make them better year after year, till perhaps we get tired of them, or we put them aside for a while.

John: When you present this material, I imagine there’s some faculty who are resistant to the whole concept of building play into classroom instruction. How do you address that with faculty?

Tori: I never force it on them. We start with: “What brings you in today?” And we talk about we sort of have a co inquiry process of like, “What’s going well, what’s not going so well?” And then wel don’t always bring the play or the games at first. It seems like mostly when I advertise a game-based learning community of practice or a workshop, you’re sort of already getting people that are open to it. But I can tell a nice anecdote about working with the political science department. I started working with them about four years ago, just on a course redesign because their student success, or the grades, were not where they needed to be… a large enrollment course. And so we just started working together to boost student attendance, students really weren’t coming to class as they should be, and to boost presumably student learning, but they really had some assessments that I thought could be improved upon. So I was even questioning how much learning are we really evaluating here. So we began and worked with each other for a couple of years, just doing classic active learning redesign, before I even broached the subject with them about playing games. And what brought that about was an internal grant for $100,000 became available to do innovative creative teaching and learning. And so when I pitched that idea to them, I think our relationship and my credibility with them, that we’re not just adding bells and whistles, we’re really talking about some proper teaching and learning principles to not only boost engagement, but to deepen learning. And it’s been a wonderful project. And we have new board games and card games, we’re going to have our first video game. We’re working with Adroit Studios, our gaming lab on campus. And so they are very, very pleased and had never really been in game-based learning before.

Joe: And adding to what Tori’s saying, I think often the teachers just want to see like a little hook, a very quick understanding of what they could do to be playful. And then from there, they start getting other ideas. So we often lead with talking about simple mechanics. So we might say, well, for example, you make something a little bit more rapid, maybe you’re giving a certain amount of time for students to answer the question, not like a test question that’s worth something, but during an activity just to make it a little bit more playful, 10 seconds to think about something. Or taking another aspect of the rapid simple mechanic, one might have a very long activity that students have to do. There’s been research showing that if you can chunk that activity into shorter segments, perhaps that are assigned a certain amount of time, not really above timers, but just to get through all of them the day, students can more easily see the discrete tasks and operations you’re supposed to be performing in each of those segments. Make something a little bit more random. We mentioned earlier about the monkey wrench challenge, and try to use a little bit of roles in what you’re discussing. Roles are linked to narrative, and it really does help to give a theme or some kind of narrative directivity. For example, for discussing an essay, or a textbook entry, or any concept, tell a quick story that illustrates some of the concepts from that reading. Or ask the class to actually help you write a short creative introduction to the boring essay that everyone had to read or that you’re reading in class, and to use a narrative hook in that short introduction. So now we’re using the power of analogy and of fiction, well, not really fiction, but sort of narrative to help students see sort of a more macro way of tying concepts together before doing a deep dive. So these are all little ways to think how to quickly and briefly be playful.

Rebecca: I hear both of you describing some really interesting things in the classroom. But I also know that faculty can be really anxious about trying something new, or trying to make something happen. And as exciting as it can be, taking that first step can be scary. You’ve mentioned some of the simple mechanics and I heard you say something about low stakes and the way that you’re applying about points and not being a big test or a test question. Can you talk about the little ways to get started?

Tori: My favorite way to introduce faculty to this whole new world is to invite them to play a game Joe made years back called: “What’s your game plan?” And this is a wonderful card game in a team. And it’s cooperative play. And it’s a brainstorming game. It has been just a joy bringing faculty together where they can be playful together, and see what they come up with. It uses a lot of the simple mechanics, so it’s a great way to introduce them to the simple mechanics. And they can either bring a lesson objective that they have, or Joe’s deck has some common lesson outcomes. So it really takes the edge off. And they can just relax in what Joe and I like to call the sandbox, and just say: “Be creative.” …give them permission to play themselves. And that is one of my go to. I mean, there’s not a semester that goes by that I don’t lean on What’s your game plan? So grateful to Joe for making that. And then I guess we could also say: “Well, let’s start at the beginning with the ALLURE method.” Step A: ask where to apply the play and once you have that student learning bottleneck that you want to look at, maybe you’re not ready for the complex mechanics, but you can think about two or three of the simple mechanics that you can add to an existing activity you have for to convert even maybe a lecture or a mini lecture into something a little bit more playful, where the students are interacting with you in some way.

Rebecca: So I’m always curious to ask what’s your favorite, or one of your favorites… because we obviously can’t have favorites… your favorite game or playful activity you’ve seen implemented in the classroom.

Joe: I talk about this example a lot, my heart goes there immediately. One of the complex mechanics I was talking about, I said something about one called cut ups, which comes from sequencing ideas together. And I was trying to think about how to use this in the writing classroom since I’m an English professor. I was getting a little bit stuck looking at it on the level of just words, like cutting up a sentence, at the level of the word… reordering it. This is really only teaching grammar and I wanted something a little bit more sophisticated that was about reading and writing. And about this time, one of my colleagues, Julie Cassidy, without us really even having a conversation told me that she’d come up with something. She showed it to me. And basically, she had taken, I think it was a four paragraph essay, that was published about crab fishing. So we have something that’s explaining a procedure, how to do something, to cut up this essay on the level of the sentence. So, there are like 25 sentences, carefully inserted in an envelope so they don’t all get lost. And then we had a low-level writing classroom where the students were very weak. She brought it in, in groups of five, dropped an envelope in front of them, said, “Okay, put it in order.” She’s describing this to me, and I’m very excited. So I did the same thing about a week later. And it was incredible just to see their faces so utterly focused on the task in front of them. And one of them would like, move their hand forward to move a piece of paper with a little bit of timidity, but with deep interest, and then the other one would gently touch your hand and say, “No, no, it goes over there.” Then like “ah,” [LAUGHTER] and they’re like stroking their chin and moving. And this went on for like 12 Intense minutes before the groups had basically all solved the order for a possible order that made sense of the essay. So of course, they’re looking at transitions, their reading for sense, so there’s close reading here, they’re thinking of ways that information can be ordered for their own writing. And then a great way to follow up an exercise like this is to ask students to write their own mini essay. It’s teaching some kind of procedure, like creating a recipe. So this was a great example because it goes beyond just a quick moment of play into something that’s a longer activity and where you can really see the deep learning happening with the students. That’s one of my favorite examples.

Tori: And I have one also that’s quite well known for deep learning, and that is the whole suite of games called Reacting to the Past. So I’ve had the honor of attending and playing a lot of these games, and they are deeply immersive role-playing games. Most of my experience is with history games, but they’re all across the curriculum, even in some of the sciences now. And here I just marveled at the amount of hard work that students will do in order to play their characters really well and meet their objective. So, the writing of speeches and other kinds of rhetoric and communication, the behind the scenes faction politicking, they’re willing to do, the, I would say, transcendence of one’s own identity to kind of widen perspective of other that goes on in these games. Kudos to Mark Carnes and all of the reacting creators and trainers around the country and around the world who are doing such great work with that. At the University of Missouri, we have recently made a game that’s akin to Reacting in the sense that it’s a role playing game. But it’s more of a card game than a reacting game, and it teaches students about bureaucracies, and how frustrating bureaucracies can be, but that hiring more people isn’t always the right scenario. So it takes the role-playing mechanic and then we throw in unexpected stress bombs, we’ll call it, of the government goes on furlough, all of the workers have to cease what they’re doing for 20 minutes or something like that. And it just has all of these likely events or unlikely events that can happen. And the students are really in their roles to solve a problem. So we’ll take things from current events, like recent scandals or problems and have the students work through that. And then there’s a peer review piece of it, where they’re actually scoring each other’s solutions. And that’s been really wonderful to help the faculty create, and we’ve been play testing it and we’re really excited to bring it to a live real class in the fall.

Rebecca: That sounds really exciting.

Tori: Thank you. Yes.

Rebecca: So we always wrap up by asking what’s next?

Tori: Well, Joe, and I do a lot of professional development events, we are often going to conferences. I’m really excited coming up soon, I’m gonna get to take ALLURE abroad. I have a trip to Thailand to Prince of Songkla University to present there. And then I’m going to Germany in the fall for the Decoding the Disciplines conference. Joe, I know you’re always doing lots of things, if memory serves, you’re going to Gen Con, this summer to do a lot of workshops.

Joe: Yep. So for any teachers listening who will have a strong interest also in playing tabletop games, there’s a conference, a convention called G-E-N C-O-N, Gen Con. And they have a pre-day, an earlier day, which is all about using learning games and thinking about games of education. And I’ll be running at least four or five workshops there, just for all you applying the ideas behind learning games.

Tori: And we always love for people to get in contact with us. You can reach us through AllureOfPlay.com, our website. We have a growing contact list that we’d like to keep people apprised of our different online workshops and in-person opportunities. And there’s a lot more on that website.

Joe: Yeah, we’ve even …was it two years ago, Tori? …there’s a whole section on our website about using playful activities online. So on your discussion board, your Zoom class, we made a video that walks teachers through thinking about these ideas, also how to design in the lowest easy possible for the online space, basically through using PowerPoint, and creating little things students can manipulate and using your class should that be of interest to you, and also a lot of other free resources and activities and games that you can download.

John: We’ll share a link to that in the show notes file that will accompany this episode.

Rebecca: Well thank you so much, Tori, and Joe for sharing ALLURE with us.

Tori: Thank you, so great to be with you

Joe: Thank you very much.


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Rebecca: You can find show notes, transcripts and other materials on teaforteaching.com. Music by Michael Gary Brewer.