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 […]

Enjoyable Failure?


Sometimes ideas about how education should move forward can come from unlikely places. Even something as simple as a smart phone app can raise some interesting questions. There is a fun game called “Dumb Ways to Die“. In it you attempt to help some characters in strange situations, like jumping over a shark, tying shoelaces, or even […]

The Long Tail of Education

The Long Tail

In 2006, Chris Anderson wrote “The Long Tail: Why the Future of Business Is Selling Less of More“. In it, he detailed how the advent of new technologies were changing the way consumers were accessing products. He outlined 3 forces that were encouraging the emergence of long tails. Democratization of the means of production. The […]

Cheating vs Smart Play


It is impossible to win a game and at the same time to break one of its rules. – The Grasshopper One of the major arguments expounded on in education—by the adherents of the cult of rigor—is that the increase in plagiarism, cheating and pay for production can only be combated by instituting more and more draconian […]

Everything I learned from comics: Calvinball and Games

Everything I learned From Calvin_

At first glance the comic above seems to be chaotic and an example of someone cheating at a game. Of course, this would be an accurate assumption if they were playing american football, where the defection of a player is definitely proscribed by the rules. Another possible assumption is that they are engaged in what […]

Brawling in the Classroom


When it comes to the classroom, the most common activities tend to either be puzzles or races. In both of these cases, the amount of interaction between students is kept low. However there is a game type that offers targeted interaction, coupled with rules based elimination. It can be used to produce a fast paced activity […]

Fearful students

Fearful Students

Nothing is more despicable than respect based on fear – Albert Camus In the ESL /EFL field, there is a lot of talk about reducing the effective filter. In Gamification, the talk is about encouraging the Psychosocial Moratorium. Yet, even for all this talk, there is still a lot of fear inside classrooms. Not just performance anxiety, […]

Bad for You: Exposing the War against Fun

Bad for You: Exposing the War against Fun

There is something very appropriate about using a comic book to look at the habits of society to demonize youth culture. I say this because comics themselves have had their time to be vilified. The 1950’s saw the largest book burnings to ever take place in America; the target, comics. “Bad for you” uses the lesser […]



The reason most kids don’t like school is not that the work is too hard, but that it is utterly boring – Dr. Semour Papert M.I.T. In many ways, this cuts to the heart of some of the problems we face in the EFL/ESL market. The methodologies that have been touted since the 1950’s have […]