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 […]

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 […]