Games and Learning

Playfulness in Learning

It’s been an interesting few weeks. For three weeks we dug deep into the happenings of Gamergate and the neuroscience behind how our brains work at learning video games, we had a week off for spring break, and then for two weeks we delved into the aspect of educators as designers. I continue to be challenged by my peers in our annotations (through of the course readings, challenged by their questions and reflections. I also had the opportunity to lead the discussions again this cycle, where I continued to be questioned, and forced to reflect upon my own understanding of the materials by my classmates. I appreciate the open honesty in the responses and questions from my peers and I feel that this type of interaction is forcing me to understand the material at a deeper level, and to be a better student and better digital citizen.

I also appreciate the playfulness that this course has to offer. By using non-traditional means of completing coursework (, blogging and Twitter) I’ve been able to have some open, honest, and fun conversations with my classmates and instructor. This course has allowed me to strengthen friendships I already had, and develop new ones. It’s a breath of fresh air to get out of a learning management system and “play” and learn out in the world where everyone can see and participate along with us. It’s amazing to me that some of my classmates that are learning with me, have learned with me before, but I didn’t immediately make the connection because of the constraints of using a LMS.

Mario Playing DDR?
Mario and Bowser playing DDR? Not relevant, but fun!

I very much enjoyed leading the annotation discussion for the article “Our Princess is in Another Castle: A Review of Trends in Serious Gaming for Education” by Young et al. The language used in this article was so playful! It encouraged me to be a little more lighthearted with my annotations and even to link some non-relevant images, but fun nonetheless in the margins.


I really immersed myself into the world of Pokémon during the last month. I’ve been playing the video game, on and off, for a few years now. I’ve always played because it was fun, simple, and distracting. For my chosen individual play session game, I played one of the more recent versions of the Pokémon game, but looked at it in a new light. We were reading about Gamergate that cycle so I decided to pay extra close attention to how the women / girls in the game were portrayed. Needless to say, my observations were very surprising to me. I’ve always seen this series of games as marketed towards a younger audience, and now I’m questioning if this is truly the case, or the way that the woman / girls are depicted is it just the norm now?

My affinity space is also teaching me quite a bit about games, learning, and board game culture. My idea bubble that board game culture is a happy little place where everyone respects each other has been popped this week when I read a blog post on Tumblr titled “Tabletop Gaming has a White Male Terrorist Problem”. The author details some experiences she, and others, have had with table top gamers at conventions and board game stores. I hope to learn more about this unfortunate dark side of the culture through my affinity space in the next couple of weeks.

I continue to be amazed at the amount of educators that advocate for games based learning. Before starting this course I thought it was more of a cult happening, but now I see that there is a real push for it. I had the opportunity to attend a webinar where the presenters detailed their “games” library and how they use in at their college. This gave me a great idea to partner with our education librarian to develop our own game library or repository and teach our faculty how to use them in their courses. I anticipate this happening in the 2017-2018 academic year.

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