Saturday, 26 November 2016

"Sneaky Cards" and the workplace

I've really liked the idea of Sneaky Cards since I first saw them, and I've already planned challenge type cards for attendees at the i2c2 conference next year.
I've also been pondering how to make my Uni workplace more playful and have been trying little bits and pieces.
These two came together last week at the Playful Learning SIG meeting  when we were talking about this sort of stuff... so I've put a proposal to our Senior Management Team in Computing and Library Services (CLS - the bit of the uni I work in), to run with the idea..

Thursday, 1 September 2016

Guardian article on play in Higher Education...

Photo by Jon S, under CC BY 2.0

I had a minor rant about Play in Higher Education recently, and after editing by the Guardian peeps, it got published... not quite what I was trying to say, but close enough for a newspaper!

Walsh, A. (2016, September 1). Think play is for nurseries, not universities? Think again. Guardian Higher Education Network. Retrieved from

Monday, 22 August 2016

Unlock Learning: Mobile Escape Rooms Kickstarter

Just launched my "Unlock Learning" Kickstarter!
Escape rooms are exploding in popularity at the moment, with new ones seeming to pop up every week. But what if we used the same ideas in education?
The play inherent in escape rooms, especially playing as a team, is fantastic at all levels of education, and it can allow students to be creative, active learners, think critically, learn how to learn in a more independent way, and more... all in a safe learning environment.
To really make sense in education though, we can’t really have static rooms. We can't leave a room set up for long periods for people to use, we need to be able to set things up wherever we are for one lesson at a time!
One way around this is to have a self contained box that can be taken to any classroom. It may have some extra materials within it to be placed elsewhere in the room, but is essentially self-contained for teachers and lecturers to run wherever they wish. If we raise enough, I'll create a truly mobile one in a converted van which I'll use to take out to educational institutions for learners to create their own educational escape room experiences.
This is the idea behind the Kickstarter that is now live and running through September, to produce escape room type materials for teachers and lecturers to use.

Sunday, 24 July 2016

Unlock Learning Kickstarter

Just a teaser! I'll be launching a Kickstarter to produce educational escape room materials shortly and just done a video for it... look out for the actual Kickstarter soon :)

Friday, 22 July 2016

Next escape room thing...

Teacher throwing an old fashioned bomb

While trying out my escape room induction, I'm also working on something a bit more involved...

This may also be linked to a Kickstarter I'm sketching out at present, in which case it'll end up at various different levels, rather than just my usual Higher Education bunch...

I'll try to wrap it up into some sort of narrative involving a disgruntled teacher / lecturer fed up because of the quality of the students' work. So the learners / game players will need to prove they can evaluate information sources (and reference them?) in order to prove that they are okay after all and defuse the bomb!

Sunday, 17 July 2016

Playful Learning conference and my escape room box

I went to the Playful Learning Conference last week, if I get around to it I might blog about the conference itself, but this post is a bit more specific!

I took my escape room box along with the materials for the library induction I've made set up and ran several iterations of it the first afternoon. It went down really well, everyone completed it in around 20-25 minutes (which fits my intended half hour induction!), and got some lovely responses from people - lots of positive vibes around using escape room ideas in education. I also played an escape room as part of the first evening social, and a lovely one put together by students one of the afternoon, so there was a bit of an escape room trend going on at the conference...

The pictures above are of some of the teams trying to solve the puzzles.