For this session we pulled some games out of the DICE Cafe cupboard with the aim to think about which might work in the classroom. I have some reservations about using games for teaching, whilst they are fun to play I worry they wont be seen as also educational. We’ve pulled out some of the classic euro-games: Catan, Carcassonne, Ticket to Ride, Pandemic and Just One. On the other side of the room our regular group of students are settling in to tackle The Balthazar Stone, a hybrid escape room in a chest. We decide to play Ticket to Ride because despite regularly playing games one us hasn’t played this yet.
As we play Ticket to Ride we discuss whether its possible to bring any of these games into the classroom. Our first concern was around the time it takes to play them, although with euro games you can change the win condition to shorten the game, for example playing with fewer trains in Ticket to Ride or with fewer tiles in Carcassonne. So we agreed that logistically at least games could be explained, played and packed away within a 50 minute class. We were more stumped on how to justify the educational value of Catan or Pandemic to economics and management students. This got us thinking about which games might be easy to adapt to use them in ways which were directly relevant to our curriculum.
The students have gone quiet, it looks like they’re struggling to unlock the next padlock in the chest. We go over to find out what they’re stuck on. They are misinterpreting the symbols on the mirror and can’t work out how they link to the map they have found, we draw their attention to the symbols and encourage them to think of different ways of looking at them. In this way they still own the problem solving, we’re just redirecting their attention. Once they work it out we leave them to work out the next puzzles.
After a while we’ve pretty much forgotten that we’re playing Ticket to Ride, instead we’ve got caught up in a conversation about Just One, because it’s a card based game it lends itself well to creating subject specific cards and using them as a revision pack for students. In this way we could use the mechanics of Just One and custom decks of cards to make learning about a subject fun and interactive. This idea, at least in principle, could be applied to any subject, has potential for including students in the design of the cards and can be done at low cost with minimal effort.
Following this session we drafted a Teaching and Learning innovation application to develop packs of revision cards using existing games, we’ve since piloted an educational version of Just One, first by working with the final year Philosophy of Management students to create the cards using Kahoot and then playing the game with them towards the end of term to revise the course material. They enjoyed the challenge of describing key words from the course and then completing a concept sort with all of the cards to identify where they had gaps in their knowledge.
We’re now looking to work with module leaders in other subjects to help them create student produced revision packs for use in the classroom.
Our application in a nutshell
Developing subject revision card games to promote student learning and engagement
To customise euro-style games to support subject revision. The outcome of this project is the production of high quality reusable teaching resources for use in subjects across the Business School which promote fun ways to enhance student learning. Resources will be developed in collaboration with students and teaching staff, who will be supported to pilot and evaluate the impact on their modules.
Project Team: Davina Bird and David Anderson