Programme Session Details 2024

Wish you were here? Your journey to a playful prototype through an educational game jam

Corresponding Author: Jim Thompson

All authors: Dr Emma Gillaspy, Rachelle O’Brien

Length: 90 minutes
Location: Terrace Room


This workshop takes us to the next stop in our adventure using the self-coaching educational framework, the Playful Learning Tour Guide. The guide, introduced at PlayLearn 2023, is an open educational resource (Gillaspy & Thompson, 2024) for anyone seeking to develop playful approaches to their teaching practices.

This game jam will use the Playful Learning Tour Guide to engage you in a high-speed collaborative process of developing a new educational game prototype. In teams, you will be asked to tackle some of the perennial wicked problems of teaching using a playful approach. To do this you can either follow one of the pre-prepared suggestions such as understanding referencing, critically appraising a journal article or developing interpersonal skills, or follow a playful path of your own choosing. In support of this you will be given a crash course in some novel approaches to ways of playing and how they might be applied in teaching and learning environments. At the end of the session players will have created innovative prototypes which will shared to promote further development. You may even wish to continue working on your game across the rest of the conference!

By engaging in this jam to create new educational games, you will also learn more about the Playful Learning Tour Guide project. The project aims to establish an evidence-based framework that supports educators in creating pedagogically appropriate and engaging approaches to facilitating learning through play. Mapping two underpinning codes of the educational countryside (heutagogy and Bloom’s taxonomy) against common game mechanics, the guide takes educators through reflective coaching exercises and practical steps in designing their own playful learning activities. In the past year, the guide has been on tour across several UK universities. During the jam, we will share the resources and ideas we gathered whilst on tour and how you might use these in your own institution or network.

References, web links and other resources:

Gillaspy, E & Thompson, JR (2024). The Playful Learning Tour Guide: A Self Coaching Educational Framework to Design Playful Learning Activities. National Teaching Repository. Educational Resource.

The UCLan Playful Rebel Alliance resources live here: