Teacher as the Game Master

Paper, pencil, and dice games are fundamentally simple.  Players track information for their imaginary characters using sheets that keep track of  vital numbers like health, charisma, dexterity, and strength.  With a roll of a few special dice, the outcomes of combat or encounters with story characters are determined and drive the game play forward.  Likewise the Game Master/Dungeon Master sets the backdrop, spins the initial story, spurring the players on  to adventure and uses their own dice rolls to randomize outcomes within a set of parameters.  Game sessions are engaging, imaginative, and far from canned experiences which makes them incredibly compelling.

So, what if a teacher were to take the best elements of the role of a game master to create an adventure in learning for their students?  What if that thematic unit you’d planned for October were not only immersive but also playable?  That’s the topic of one of my recent presentations.  Take a look!

Download your copy of the play-along Google Spreadsheet here!


 So, what do you think?  What tips and experiences do you have?


Presentation Game Spreadsheet (File –> Make A Copy)

The Multiplayer Classroom (book)

Raph Koster’s A Theory of Fun – 10 Years Later (Presentation/PDF) – This gets pretty deep in some places, but there are some great quotes and ideas!

Classroom Systems/Tools – 3DGameLab – Game-inspired, learning management system.
(Also, ClassCraft, ClassXP)

Badging Tools – BadgeOS, Mozilla Backpack, Credly, and more.

Productivity/Apps – GooseChaseHabitRPG, ChoreWars, Zombies, Run!, ClassDojo, ARIS, Aurasma and more.

Quest Cards

Paul Davasi (Twitter) – Interview about his The Ward game. – Game Movie.

Videos to Watch

The Ward Game

The Ward Game from Big Nurse on Vimeo.

Tom Chatfield:  7 Ways Video Games Engage the Brain


(Updated April 10th, 2018)