4.1 Sell your bargains game

Let’s play a mixed-reality game to spice-up our teaching!

This game might take place in virtual and physical spaces. We suggest that it is played at least in pairs. Collaborations can also be virtual. The game can also be played by one individual and then shared in the Google community. Please adjust the guidelines accordingly.

The game has 3 stages:

  1. Problem-finding/Opportunity identification (Stage 1)
  2. Innovative Problem-solving/Idea generation (Stage 2)
  3. Sharing and reflection (Stage 3)

Your overall target will be to come up with innovative ideas to enhance a specific teaching and learning situation. Consider submitting your work to gain the "Introduction to Play and Games Badge" when you have finished playing the game.

NOTE for local facilitators: If you are playing this game locally, communicate the date, time and location to participants. Pick a busy market/shopping area. Remember also that you will need to get team prizes. If you are playing this game with more than 10 participants, it is recommended to seek a second facilitator.

The sell your bargains game (created in 2010) by Chrissi Nerantzi is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

Related research

Nerantzi, C (2013) “Sell your bargains” Playing a mixed-reality game with academics to spice-up teaching in HE, in: Baek, Y and Whitton, N. (Eds.) Cases on Digital Game-Based Learning: Methods, Models and Strategies, Information Science Reference, Hershey: IGI Global, pp. 131-144 available at https://www.academia.edu/8138981/Sell_your_bargains_Playing_a_mixed-reality_game_with_academics_to_spice-up_teaching_in_HE

16 Nov 2012, “Let’s play! – the value of game-based learning in Academic Development” workshop with Craig Despard, 17th Annual SEDA Conference, Excellence in Teaching: recognising, enhancing, evaluating and achieving impact, Aston Business School. Birmingham

3 Feb 2012 “Playing games in Higher Education”, discussing a mixed-reality game developed for the PGCAP, Thunderstorm session during MEL SIG event, University of Salford with Kirsty Pope and Neil Currie

11 Dec 2011 “Play ‘n’ learn, spicing up teaching in Higher Education using a mixed-reality game", invited webinar delivered with academics studying towards the PGCAP at the University of Salford, Creativity and Multicultural Communication (Massive Online Open Course), organizer: Empire State College, State University of New York


STAGE 1: (In advance of solving problems through play and games)

This stage takes place locally and/or online. Think about a session you are going to offer in about two weeks and try and foresee a difficulty explaining something that your students really need to grasp. This could be a threshold concept. Record your thoughts about this session and the challenge you think you might have in your portfolio in about 50-100 words. You might also want to use audio, video or a comic strip, it is up to you. Please note, you will be asked to share your challenge with others at the beginning of Stage 2.

ONLINE engagement: The above guidelines should work.

STAGE 2 (Solving problems, identifying opportunities through play and games):

We are going to meet at the identified location. Please bring a personal digital device with you such as a smart phone, tablet, digital camera, camcorder etc. One of these will be fine. Make sure that you have charged your device(s), batteries, and that you have plenty of room on your sd-/memory-cards so that you can use them during this stage of the game. Remember to bring some spending money. The amount should be very small.

So, what will happen? Shortly after arriving, you will be paired with a colleague from another discipline/professional area and work together during this stage to compete against other pairs.

Your goal will be to identify 2 items, 1 each, that have the potential to transform the teaching and learning situation and help you resolve creatively the challenge you have identified during Stage 1. Start by sharing the challenge with your co-player. Discuss the difficulties you envisage and bounce ideas off each other while searching for the item. As a pair you will have to find 2 items, one for each scenario. You only have 1 hour. You are free to go anywhere you like. Return to the meeting point at the agreed time. Remember to spend as little as possible and no more than what has been agreed (£2/3 EUROS) at the start of the game. Is there anything you could get for free? Think together and try and come up with innovative ideas and interventions that could work.

During your one hour discovery journey, remember to capture your thought process using the digital device(s) you brought with you. Could you take a series of pictures, a few video clips or audio recordings as you come up with the ideas? It is up to you. Please remember to do this as these digital artefacts will be very useful in Stage 3 of the game. They also provide a richer insight to the game organiser(s), and enable you to visualize your thought process and later reflect on what you have learnt.

After the one hour task, all players meet again meeting point at the agreed time, with their findings. All pairs will try and ‘sell their bargains’ to the other pairs. Does everybody see value in these ideas? Each pair is going to showcase their ideas, which are then going to be recorded on video. The video clips are going to be uploaded to YouTube after Stage 2 and should also be embedded in the portfolios. All players are going to vote for their favourite and most creative interventions, and the pair receiving the most points will be crowned the winning pair and receive a prize.

ONLINE engagement: Adapt the above and try and do this part outdoors as it will open your mind to new possibilities. Alternatively, you can problem-solve using online sites and wander around the web. Consider finding a co-player to share ideas and capture your related activities in your portfolio. Share with the community so that we can gain an insight into your thinking and innovative ideas.

STAGE 3: (After solving problems through play and games):

This stage starts immediately after Stage 2. Individual players can use their portfolios to showcase their idea from Stage 2, and to write their reflections about their ideas and the potential for implementation into their own practice. Players should also reflect on the game itself, and answer the following questions:

What did I learn? How did I learn through the game? How did I feel? How did I feel this method compared with conventional teaching approaches?

Use any images and artefacs in Stage 3, when capturing your reflections on the game in the portfolios.

ONLINE engagement: You can follow the above guidelines and share your thoughts in the community.

STAGE 3 (extension):

If you would like to write up your innovation and carry out further research linked to this (which you might consider disseminating further through a conference and/or publication), feel free to use the case study template.

CONSIDER submitting your work to gain the relevant open bagde.

10 reasons why we should play more games in Higher Education

  1. You would like to explore alternative ways of delivery and identify opportunities to make hard-to-grasp concepts more accessible to your students.
  2. To be part of an immersive experience.
  3. You will have the opportunity to participate in a mixed-reality game-based learning activity, which is under-used in higher education.
  4. They enable you to use your own personal mobile technologies in a teaching and learning context, and will make you think about ways you could use it with your own students.
  5. They use alternative learning spaces beyond the classroom, physical and online.
  6. To work together in cross-disciplinary teams, share ideas and problem solve collaboratively on an authentic teaching and learning situation.
  7. To do something different; something that you wouldn’t normally expected to do to make you think outside the box and have some fun learning.
  8. They are a great opportunity to focus on a specific session, reflect on it and come up with an idea and a concept to trial in class aiming to enhance the student experience.
  9. To actually create something! For example, a digital product as an Open Educational Resource to be shared with others around the globe.
  10. They are an opportunity to develop your intervention into a mini project/case study or action research project and write it up for publication.

Still not convinced? Access the NMC Horizon Report 2014: Watch the following clip and read the full report!

Please note, this mixed-reality game has attracted international interest, and research linked to this has been carried out. Also, a very positive outcome is that some players who played the game have started implementing game-based learning approaches into their own practice. A chapter about an early version of the game has been included in a game-based learning book, published in 2013. The version of the game we are playing is slightly different and has evolved over time; lessons learnt have helped to refine the approach further.

Games are still mis-understood in HE by many who think that they are inappropriate and patronising. However, research suggests that games, especially mixed-reality games, are an excellent way, to create authentic, immersive learning experiences that bring together problem-based and collaborative learning. Games are also stimulating, motivational, fun and enhance creative and critical thinking, whilst enabling players to use their own technologies, as well as freely available social media, for meaningful learning.

Also check out Plato’s work around play ;o)


comments powered by Disqus