Playing at Uni: Play, games, and creative teaching to transform student learning.

The Teaching and Learning Institute organises a seminar series where National Teaching Fellows from the University of Huddersfield share their expertise and experience.

Image (c) Andrew Walsh (2016)

Image (c) Andrew Walsh (2016)

Andrew Walsh facilitated a NTF/UTF workshop on 18th April “Playing at Uni: Play, games, and creative teaching to transform student learning.” Andrew is a librarian and University Teaching Fellow and was awarded his National Teaching Fellowship in 2011. Nine colleagues attended the season and were divided into two groups. My group was made up of two librarians and a lecturer from the School of Education and Professional Development.

Andrew started the session with a very short presentation about the power and benefits of games and play which then “seemed” to go wrong and freeze the computer. It then transitioned into a series of escape room style puzzles that had to be solved in order to reveal a series of games for the rest of the session. Most of the games that he introduced were aimed at developing the information literacies of the participants. He divided his time moving from group to group and offering guidance when needed or requested.

Here are some of the games we played in Andrew’s session:

Escape room challenge – This ran throughout the session proper. Each group had to figure out how to open a series of combination-locked boxes. Each box contained activities such as those described below, along with a puzzle to open the next locked box, and when they had been revealed they could be played with, and the value and utility of them described. An initial puzzle was provided, and the group members had to collaborate in order to solve these puzzles so they could open the box which contained other games and eventually some treats (fortune cookies). Andrew is currently producing an escape room induction as a pilot for teaching through escape rooms.

SEEK! game – Each group was given a pack of SEEK! cards developed by Andrew. The cards had different information literacy questions relating to the construction of search strategies. There were also wildcards included in the pack to provide a random, balancing element to the game. Each participant had to take two cards from the pack and choose which one of their two cards to play. The participants could nominate any group member to ask the questions on their cards. I became aware of the gaps in my knowledge regarding search strategies as a result of this game.

Referencing game – Each group was given a set of cards with a component of the APA 6th referencing guide printed on it. The goal was get participants to work together to place the different referencing components in the right order. There was a discussion after this activity by both groups about identifiable patterns in the constructed references.

The only activity or challenge in the entire session which didn’t require group collaboration was the ‘build a duck’ Lego exercise. Each individual was given 6 Lego bricks and asked by Andrew to build a duck. I had already done this exercise before at an external conference a couple of years ago so I was able to build a reasonable duck. It was interesting to see the different types of ducks produced by other participants in both groups, showing that even with a handful of bricks and a clear object to build, everyone created something different. Andrew used this exercise to talk briefly about the Lego Serious Play methodology and how he has used it to develop the information skills of students.

For more about Andrew’s work on games for staff and students, I would recommend that you read his game-based-learning report for the HEA at:

Posted by Olaojo Aiyegbayo (@olaojo15),  Teaching and Learning Institute. The Teaching and Learning Institute (TALI) coordinates, evaluates and disseminates inspiring and innovative teaching and learning. Follow TALI on Twitter


About talintuoh

Supporting and connecting colleagues to develop inspiring and innovative teaching and learning
This entry was posted in academic practice, Learning experience, pedagogy, student engagement and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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