Wednesday, 25 July 2018

Playful Learning Conference

Earlier this month I attended the Playful Learning Conference in Manchester. The idea of the conference is around how play can be used in a learning and teaching context.

The first day opened with a keynote from Katie Piatt from the University of Brighton. She used a series of approaches to engage the large audience including an emoji quiz, design your own beer mat based on your favourite game and a competitive game on Kahoot. Each row of the lecture theatre were teamed together.

Some of the session highlights from the three days were:

Student Created Serious Games - Sandie Elsom and Marguerite Westacott, University of the Sunshine coast

This session looked at a range of serious games created by staff and students at the institution including a real world game that focussed on new students getting familiar with services on campus by undertaking a self guided tour using QR codes. There were also games created by students including Bound by Blood, an award winning interactive narrative game which tells a story around a homeless person who requires sanity products (warning some of the issues raised in this can be distressing) and Full of life, a platform game which educates children about the five stages of grief

*Full of life was created using software called Construct 2 and Bound by Blood was created using Twine

A completely Inconspicuous and Normal Human Playtest

This session involved the use of a presenterless presentation taking on the character of a deceased pirate, by somebody controlling it remotely in the room. This made for an engaging session packed with humour and activities to get people up, completing challenges that were set by the pirate character.

The effectiveness of game based learning - Simon Grey
This session looked at how effective game based learning is when developing a new skill. We were given a maths coding task to complete at the beginning of the session. The idea then was to play a card game which uses these principles to see if after playing the game your ability to work out the maths code was easier. The consensus was that it did make it easier to complete.
And the Survey says - Using gamification and active learning to enhance didactic lectures - Tom Jolley
This was the session I presented around the use of the game show Family Fortunes (coined Faculty Fortunes) to present data from two sets of users (staff and students) and see where misconceptions arise from the answers each group give.

Libopoly: Explore playful learning’s place in staff training and development - Steve Gray, Cheryl Coverney and Hilary Johnson (Open University)

This session used the concept of the board game monopoly to introduce new staff to working in the library and learn about some of the usual tasks and terminology associated with the job in a fun and engaging way. The idea was that each area represented a module and the money was represented by time.

Overall it was an interesting conference which showed the scale of people's creativity and gave some interesting insights into how people use playful approaches in their Learning, Teaching and Assessment at different institutions. 

More information about sessions can be found here and find out the going on's from the conference on twitter with the hastag #playlearn18.


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