Teaching with Games: Join a New Community of Practice!Submitted by Rebecca Scott, Philosophy

The gamification of education is both a long-standing and newly growing field of pedagogical research. Advocates argue that teaching with games can:

  • increase motivation
  • lower the stakes when students experience failure
  • develop skills of collaboration
  • build community in the classroom
  • bring joy and fun into the learning environment

In my own classes, I have experimented with using games (including review trivia games as well as critical thinking skill-building games), and I have found them to be both effective and fun. In addition, last year Brett Fulkerson-Smith organized a philosophy department retreat in which a former professional game designer worked with our department to help us begin developing games for our critical thinking classes.

These experiences have inspired me to figure out more ways of incorporating games into my classes and to propose a new Community of Practice focused on teaching with games. The CoP is open to all faculty (full-time and adjunct) from all disciplines. We will meet 3-4 times per semester to discuss research on game-based pedagogy, work together to develop games for our courses, and, of course, play games ourselves (experiential research is a must!). We will explore many different kinds of games appropriate for different disciplines and divisions–strategy games, trivia games, word games, role-playing games/simulations, and more.

If CoP members are interested, we might also attend a “Reacting to the Past” conference together. Reacting to the Past is a series of immersive role-playing games designed for higher ed students to teach history, reading, writing, and critical thinking skills. At the conferences, faculty “play compressed, intensive versions of the games much as students would” and also participate in “sessions on practical matters of game management, grading, and curricular applications” (https://reacting.barnard.edu/the-conferences).

If you are interested in joining this CoP or have questions please contact Rebecca Scott at: rscott1@harpercollege.edu.