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DECEMBER 29, 2010

Fun, sort of.

Books on tableStarted my after-Christmas reading with the latest from David Sedaris, When You Are Engulfed in Flames, a gift from my daughter. The first few stories didn't have me laughing out loud. They're darker than those in his earlier books.

I was really starting to worry by the time I finished "The Monster Mash." These anecdotes from the medical examiner's office watching autopsies on people who died in all sorts of different ways didn't make me smile.

Finally, though, "In The Waiting Room" and "Solution to Saturday's Puzzle" Sedaris had me laughing out loud. I knew he was back on track when I started reading sections of the story to Joanne.

Serious fun

I'm constantly looking for ways to bring the fun and involvement of games into the classroom, and Gamestorming: A Playbook for Innovators, Rulebreakers, and Changemakers looks promising. In the Preface the authors explain their thinking :

...the nature of work is changing. In an industrial society, workers are expected to fit standardized job descriptions and perform their duties according to clear policies, procedures, and prescriptions. Knowledge work is fundamentally different: workers are expected not so much to perform standard roles but to generate creative, innovative results that surprise and delight customers and colleagues. (pg. xv)

This dovetails nicely with Sir Ken Robinson's criticism (Schools Kill Creativity) of our current system of education, based on an industrial model. Better yet, Gamestorming offers strategies and practices that may help us break out of that model, at least temporarily.

I plan to try several of the games in my upcoming Portfolio Preparation class. We'll have nearly twenty students, many of whom don't know each other, who have to learn to work together to plan and stage a portfolio show at the end of the semester. It can be stressful, and games like Low Tech Social Network and Trading Cards should be good to get things started.

You can see examples of games and learn more at GoGamestoring.com.

More on games and education

Games, Continued—June 12, 2010
Games & Badges—June 7, 2010
Game Mechanics: Putting the Fun in Functional—April 20, 2010
Games, Seriously? (Yes!)—April 6, 2010
Stories & Games—January 6, 2009

Your thoughts?

If you've used games in your classroom, please share your experiences by clicking on the speech balloonsComments link below.

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