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Post date: Wednesday, 11 October 2017

Bron Stuckey on rethinking who (and what) makes a game educational

By Rachel Bolstad

This post is part of a short series to share highlights from NZCER's 2017 Games for Learning conference.

Dr Bron Stuckey was the final speaker on the first day of the Games for Learning conference.  She drew on her extensive knowledge of game-based (and gameful) learning to distill what she called her “five big a-has” for educators.

When Bron talks about gameful learning, it’s worth listening.  In her own words, Bron “cut her teeth in games for learning long before Minecraft exploded into the world”, through her involvement with the highly successful Arizona State University Quest Atlantis program. She’s been engaged in research and community development around games for learning for the past 15 years. She supports teachers using Minecraft in their classrooms, and helps build community for the next wave of teachers keen to make a difference through gameful practices.

Bron is  a key figure in the small (but growing) international “tribe” of game-based learning practitioners. She has a great ability to engage and uplift educators, is generous in supporting and championing great gameful educational practice whenever she sees it - whether this is coming out of major game development studios, or the classrooms of individual teachers anywhere in the world. I’ve personally learned a lot from her over the last few years, and was excited to have her speak at the conference.

Here’s a sneak peek at her “five a-ha’s”, but it’s absolutely worth your time to watch this video of her full talk to hear Bron unpack each idea, illustrated with lots of New Zealand and international examples:

  1.  Games shouldn’t be used to teach
  2.  We can’t [shouldn’t] wait for the “edu” versions
  3. It’s not the invention that makes a difference, but how teachers reinvent it in the classroom
  4. It does matter who does the designing!
  5. Everyone doesn’t need to have the same game experience

Towards the end of her talk, Bron gives educators great advice on “where to start” when seeking to bring gameful learning in their classrooms. She has some great practical and achievable advice and recommendations.  

What did conference participants think?

Conference participants gave great feedback about Bron’s talk: 

“Bron was awesome. Heaps of practical advice”

“It gave me context I found helpful”

“Bron is an amazing speaker, so engaging and full of knowledge”

“Her messages were great”

If you were at the conference, or watched the video of Bron’s talk, let us know what you took from it in the comments below!


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