Why Study Games?

Why Study Games?

In the academic world this question pops up fairly regularly. It stems from the view of games as pastimes and inconsequential in comparison to the more serious subjects out there. This view is so common that the field of Game Theory is linked to mathematics and philosophy, and has only the most basic reference to games […]

First Order Rules and Instruction

First Order Rules and Instruction

Teachers often struggle against becoming the “Sage on the Stage”. This post will look at one of the areas where the sage takes center stage frequently in teaching, the giving of instructions for activities. One of the hardest things for a teacher to learn to do is not to over instruct. Over instruction is when […]

Press Print to Play?

Press Print

How do I gamify an activity? This post is a theoretical case study of how to gamify a simple workplace activity. We will be using a business model to outline the process for the sake of clarity. However, the same process can be applied to many situations and contexts. Overview The Acme Corporation has a large […]

A Dice Does Not a (Good) Game Make

A Dice

In the field of ESL/EFL it is common to see “board games” where the students roll a dice and then answer the questions in English on the squares that they land on. These games are incredibly popular and it is rare to find a book without them. The students seem to enjoy them with teachers […]

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 […]