Players and Builders: Digital Games and University Learning


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Jon Saklofske (Acadia University, Department of English) will explore some of the ways that he has used digital game environments in the university classroom. Specifically, Jon will talk about a flexible and functional MOO (text-based online virtual reality) environment that allows his students to play and build game-based arguments (as a substitute for essay writing), and will also discuss a new course delivery method he is working on that has been inspired by conversations he’s had with some major game developers.

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Players and Builders: Digital Games and University Learning

  1. 1. Players and Builders: Digital Games and University Learning. Jon Saklofske Department of English and Theatre Acadia University Email: Homepage:
  2. 2. Infographic developed by Melissa Terras and @4Hum
  3. 3. Image from: Humanities.JPG
  4. 4. Image from :
  5. 5. Image created by: Jon Saklofske
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  7. 7. From:
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  10. 10. The Natural Daughter Game Found at: ( Register as 2386 student user, then log in and move North to start game…
  11. 11. Game editor found at: (email for builder access.)
  12. 12. Multiple-media literacy …leading to a greater awareness of more traditional forms and functions …transmedia awareness/ability Beyond the essay …as a way to gain a new perspective on the essay form …increasing the scope of your productive/creative academic energies Non-linear narrative Narrative as rhetorical argumentation Collaboration / collective intelligence Games: …play , presence, performance, process and narrative Players Builders …interactive critical response
  13. 13. Image from:
  14. 14. I consider players to be agents of change. Often, a player's use and understanding of mechanics can lead to stories we didn't know were there. -Chris Avellone (Obsidian Games)
  15. 15. "I think a beginning, a middle and an end are fundamental to any story you want to tell. The non-linearity of open-world games arises from the way in which you explore the plot, turning the player into a sort of editor, who 'assembles' parts of the story. “ -Christian Cantamessa (lead designer and co-writer, Red Dead Redemption)
  16. 16. Key Concepts of Experimental Learning (From Lewis and Williams’ “Best Practice in Experimental Learning) • learn by doing • not compartmentalized • student run learning • provides skills to transition into workplace (3) • REFLECTION!! • problem solving throughout entire process • instructor as member of the group (10) • instructor as a resource, cheerleader and facilitator (11) • Assessment of students as more than just outcome (13) • student involved assessment (16)
  17. 17. ARIS app and content creator for mobile AR gamespaces
  18. 18. Locative, technology-enhanced gaming at Walt Disney World
  19. 19. Taking game-based learning beyond the classroom