Gotland Game Education Summit

Optus: Caused a Nudge

Hear the origin story of how Optus, a 14 year-old high school student, propelled one gamer into crafting and supporting faculty development efforts through the use of MMO’s, Game Camps, and Course Game Design.

Kayler 1.0   Assumptions about MMO’s/virtual game players and environments.

Know a little bit about games, game design to be a bit dangerous and we need to be a risk taker in faculty development. I knew I would never know enough but felt compelled to do this work. Label myself as a generalist (social sciences, history, education) and a bridge builder (because its about learning).

Why?  Tired of hearing teachers complain about ‘those kids wasting time.” Community – often absent in higher education and schools.

Hurdle:Convince my peers and graduate students (certified K-12 teachers) this was worthy academic work!

How?   Immerse into MMO’s (choice), play, and reflect. Simple exercise – powerful insights.

Pedagogical Research – So what?

  • Relationships to students – new ways
  • Experienced learning in a new context – reminded of what it was like to be a student
  • Culture of games – take this for granted – need to translate – bridge builders.

Kayler 2.0   Building Bridges, Translation Time, and Community Experience

Why?   Wanted an opportunity to engage faculty in community and play games! Embraced “You’re Going to Game Camp” and used this theme to immerse them into the experience of going to camp.

Hurdle?   Convince faculty games have a place in higher education – support pedagogical research. Use cultural capital of higher education – pedagogical research!

  • Game Camps – Played games cooperative and competitive, scavenger hunt, community building games, scouted out disciplinary resources and earned badges and swag. Over the course of the camp – activities designed to support course development work, be reminded of benefits, and laughter!
  • Many faculty have not played MMO’s so it is difficult for them to understand those spaces of game play. Types of Game Players (Bartle’s Player Types) and Game of School (Fried Types of Students) – ways of interacting/learning – pedagogical implications. A way to remember ‘learners’ and be introduced to gamers. Need academic reassurance so provided key scholarship to help ground them and enhance understandings, implications.
  • Help with morale and cross-disciplinary bridge building – curriculum, resources, pedagogical sharing.
  • Game Night at the Convergence (featured game).

Pedagogical Research – So What?

  • Faculty mirrored the types of games they played and added a game into their courses – even if they only saw it as a community building activity.
  • Reconnect to the passion of playing an RPG and wanting to bring that experience to their students.


  • Personalized Learning
  • Strengthened Course Content Connections
  • Learning Beyond Course Content
  • Kayler 3.0   “It’s not about the game, it’s about the pedagogy.”

Crafting Meaningful Learning Experiences’ and Course Game Design/Games

Why?  Engagement! Move faculty from in front to the classroom to ….?Huge advocate for creating transformational learning experiences ( ).

Hurdle?    Help faculty reconnect to their passion for their discipline. Unhinge or decouple lectures into something new. Caught up in teaching – they forget there are other ways of learning.

  • Play games – necessary element 1) community 2) rules and game components.
  • Create immersive and deep learning experiences that tie into their passion for their discipline. (Fink) – Rubric series – Sean Dikkers and I developed.
  • Use of story/narrative driven courses – bring stories and experiences to life and into the course design process.
  • Deeper game integration (games, game elements, play) – courses as a game.
  • Use quests (branching), sandboxes, choice, leader boards, new online models (Class Craft)

Pedagogical Research – So What?

Kayler 4.0   International Collaborative Network Launched

UMW in Wales, UMW in Sweden

Adam Mayes, Martine Pedersen, and I are working with undergraduate students (who are not enrolled in game design programs) to create a game.

Second iteration of a potential model /process.

Meta – Faculty Game Design and Pedagogical Research Network

  • Supporting faculty is an iterative process – they go through a process and become more comfortable. Dream small – have a success – build confidence – what next?
  • Choice-based learning is easy for faculty to grasp and still feel like they are true to teaching content. Struggle with grading (using traditional methods).
  • Faculty need the experiences of playing games (variety of reasons).
  • Wrestle with the leaderboard (pubic ranking v.s. avatar ranking).
  • Language matters – easy to get caught up in our common game language – others no clue – be mindful.
  • For the most part faculty are able to conceptualize, identify mechanics and systems for their game or course game design.

Challenges: Building of the games!