Sunday, 16 July 2017

Learning Theory possible game

Inspired by Eleanor Hannan's SOTL game at Playful Learning Conference, I wondered about making a learning theories game. Her game asked people to consider different Epistimologies, Research instruments, etc., to combine into a research design. I wondered if I could do something quite different, but based around learning theories, concepts, and interventions. So taking something like the HoTEL learning theory wheel as a starter, we could pick a "Learning paradigm" (supported  by a key theorist), then a "key concept", perhaps a teaching approach that would fit underneath that, then a particular type of teaching intervention or interaction. So we end up picking teaching interventions that fit within a sensible framework at the end, rather than just because we fancy doing them.

It could even just be a set of cards that link these together, rather than a game too... I'll have to think about this one soon.

Monday, 3 July 2017

Using games to teach Maths to Biologists

a game being prototyped
At the end of last week, I ran a workshop in Sheffield (in the Diamond building at Sheffield Uni). This one was for a group of people who all taught maths to HE students in the biosciences.

Most of them seemed to be having similar problems, dealing with students who could massively vary in terms of maths knowledge and ability, some of whom don't want to be doing maths at all.

Hopefully, some of the games will help them address these issues... and more importantly, the process should help them create more polished games for the students in future!

Tuesday, 27 June 2017

Moulton College, Making Educational Escape Rooms

Picture of a building at Moulton College
I had the pleasure of running an Educational Escape Rooms workshop in the East Midlands last week at the lovely Moulton College. I do have a soft spot for land based colleges and enjoyed having a pootle around the grounds at lunchtime!

Anyway, we had a productive day, splitting into groups to create prototype escape room activities. To get a flavour of what was produced, we recorded all the final prototypes:

Anyone else fancy something similar running, just give me a shout!

Friday, 9 June 2017

Making educational games kit

picture of prototype game making kit
I've been updating the materials I use in the educational game making workshops I run occasionally. I thought it would be a good idea to turn them into a set of materials that other people could use at the same time as updating them for myself.

So the picture above is the final prototype - just waiting for the whiteboard to arrive (instead of the bit of paper the cards are resting on). With a bit of luck it'll all be finished in the next day or two - if anyone wants a set, I'll take some pictures next week of the finished thing and it'll be available on to buy. Along with details of the TeachKit Kickstarter I'm currently running!

Saturday, 3 June 2017

TeachKit Launch!

Yesterday we launched the TeachKit Kickstarter!

TeachKits are a set of teaching materials you get through the post to help you teach these things, especially if you tend to have "one-off" sessions with students and need something quick and easy to add into your teaching.

Depending on the topic, the TeachKit may contain lesson plans, games, books, handouts, print and digital resources, badges, or whatever else fits that topic well.
Boxes will be small enough to fit through most letterboxes without annoying trips to the post-office to pick them up!

Prototype box! Should fit through most UK doors...
Prototype box! Should fit through most UK doors...
The Kickstarter will fund an initial, quite generic box and help gauge interest in producing an ongoing series of them. Ideas for topics in future so far include: Evaluating your session; Ice Breakers; Search Strategies; Sources of information; Referencing; General teaching skills (including lesson planning); Critical evaluation; Developing a topic (research questions and first steps); Open licensing; Copyright / licensing; Plagiarism; Critical reading; Revision techniques; Escape rooms for education; and Making games for learning. If we create an ongoing series, they are likely to be available as a subscription, with each box also available for one-off purchase for a limited time afterwards. Estimated cost for future boxes is £40 each (+P&P).
The initial box available as a reward is:

Draft designs for the first box's materials.
Draft designs for the first box's materials.
Evaluating your teaching. This contains material to help collect feedback to evaluate your teaching session. It will contain a minimum of 5 ideas in the package, with materials including specially printed post-it notes, cards, and paper feedback templates - more will be revealed in the updates!

Please take a look at the full campaign and back us if you can, share with other interested people if you like it!

Saturday, 27 May 2017

A possible TeachKit launch via Kickstarter

I've written before about the idea we took to LILAC and the Lagadothon before and towards the end of the post I said "I suppose I ought to think of a way to make it happen over the next few months...".
Well... I'm currently pulling together a Kickstarter to try and make an initial box happen, partly to levels of interest to see if it is worthwhile doing a series of boxes. While I am tinkering with it, you can preview it if you want!

If enough people are interested in the first box (a fairly generic one around evaluating your own teaching sessions / collecting feedback from students), I'll then work on a "Sources of Information" box to follow.

Take a look at the preview and see what you think - I'll launch it once I have prototype materials based on the work a graphic designer is doing for me, then link to the final campaign!

Sunday, 30 April 2017

New book chapter - Reasons to Play in Higher Education

cartoon of a university building
I've a new book chapter available: Reasons to Play in Higher Education*.
It is in a book pulled together by Matthias as part of the Counterplay festival and associated playful goodness :)
I pitched something on why play should be part of HE, including matching what Government and employers wanted out of HE and graduates when the call for papers came out. When I started writing it, I started to feel it all sounded a bit too serious, and not at all playful. So I scrapped everything I wrote, went to Collabhub (where people can pitch collaborative projects with students) and asked if anyone would be up for turning my ideas into a more visual form. Jonny Clementson came on board and I paid him to create a short comic based on my ideas... a bit of bouncing backwards and forwards with ideas and text, and we ended up with a 6 page comic!
So it's now in "The Power of Play", which has been printed, but I don't think it's available to buy yet! I've put my chapter online to download though, so I hope some people like it :)

*Full reference: Walsh, Andrew and Clementson, Jonny (2017) Reasons to play in Higher Education. In: The Power of Play - Voices from the Play Community. CounterPlay, Aarhus, Denmark, pp. 181-187. ISBN 9788799975204