What’s fun?


Fun is a word that we as teachers hear a lot. Whether it is from students who are moaning at the lack of it in the classroom or peers bemoaning the focus of modern education on being fun. It is one of the words that is bandied around a lot but it is also surprisingly difficult […]

3rd Space Learning

3rd Space Learning

Does education have to take place in a formal school based environment? Is school truly the “Work of children”? In 1989 Ray Oldenburg proposed his theories of different space in his book The Great Good Place. The places were defined based on the amount of time that we spend in them. The first space was the home, the […]

Mind Mapping Conversations

MInd Mapping

The tip of the tongue phenomena is a killer. The words just seem to freeze in the brain and refuse to come out. It is a sudden reminder to us all that speaking is quite a complex process which involves constructing thoughts, grammar, and vocalizations, and fitting it all into the social context of the […]

Games and Activities


A presentation once asked the question, what is the difference between a game and an activity in an educational environment? The presenter went on to provide their own definition, one that obviously did not reflect a reading of The Grasshopper by Bernard Suits. An activity has pedagogical value, whereas a game is engaged in purely for […]

The Achiever in the Classroom


Richard Bartle defined 4 types of players and how they enjoyed playing MUDs (precursors to MMORPGs). For a discussion of how these types map to a classroom, see my previous post on the subject here. The Achiver in Education Of Bartle’s player types, Achievers are possibly the most easily recognized in the classroom. The traditional […]



As teachers we want to see our students succeed. We want to see them accomplish the tasks we put in front of them and answer all the questions that they have. We can even feel that our own skill as teachers is contingent on how well the students do at the task. In some cases […]

Better Homework Different Homework


Three people walk into a doctor’s office. The first person has a headache. The doctor hands him two aspirin and a glass of water. The second person has a splinter in his hand. The doctor hands him two aspirin and a glass of water. The third has a broken arm and again the doctor hands him […]

The Grasshopper Review

Book Review

“Everyone alive is in fact engaged in playing elaborate games, while at the same time believing themselves to be going about their ordinary affairs…..Whatever occupation or activity you can think of, it is in reality a game.” – Bernard Suits The opening of the grasshopper begins with the death of the grasshopper from Aesop’s Fables. However, […]

Student Choices In The Classroom


Sid Meier defined a game as “a series of interesting choices”. If what makes a game interesting are the choices that are available in it, then it is no wonder that classrooms are so boring in comparison to other games. The choices available to the student in the classroom are often tightly scripted, hollow and inconsequential. This […]