ECGC Conference: The Power of Games

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At a 11:30am session in the East Coast Gaming Conference held in the Raleigh Convention Center, Daniel O’Keefe spoke to the Serious Games Track audience about the Power of Games.

ECGC Conference: The Power of Games

Transforming education through transforming teachers through game design


  • draw triangle
  • draw some circles
  • draw filled in circles
  • draw 2 upside down v
  • draw lines above
  • Put rectangle under the triangle
  • compare your work with your neighbors

Can vague rules encourage the participants to come up with different results? Can non-specific directions encourage creativity?

Game-like learning principals

  • everyone is a participant
  • learning feel like play
  • everything is interconnected
  • learning happens by doing
  • failure is reframed as iterations
  • feedback is immediate and ongoing
  • challenge is constant

Who is out there?

What type of people were in the learning environment at the conference?

    <li?Game developers (3)

  • People who want to be in game industry(4)
  • Those in Gaming education (5)
  • Non-game education (2)
  • Game teaching in High Schools (1)

How can we create a games and learning ecosystem where teachers and learners have designer identities?

How can we be making things, yet still realize that students aren’t automatons?

Teachers need competencies:</h2<

  • learner-centered: They need to be on the top of the latest tech and methods
  • collaboration: Teachers need to be able to work within groups and communities
  • data driven: Using what they learn actively to promote their skills
  • reflection + iteration: Thinking on what they’ve done and adjusting, creating an environment where failure is ok
  • strategic thinking: Problem solving

Learning warmup above was important in giving freedom of choice to players. It is a workshop in teacherquest. where we have teachers and students build together.

Teacherquest workshop

  • empower teachers
  • increases student engagement
  • re-imagine what teaching can be through games and game-like learning.

Can the game be engaging, can teacher reflect on that, and use games in the classroom? What is the relationship between fun and challenge, and how can we put teachers through that?

This presentation was not really what I was hoping it to be. It was a big talk about what TeacherQuest does.. People hoping for information on the power of games seemed disconnected. I chose to stick this presentation out, but I probably would have left. I was hoping this would be a numbers-based discussion in which participants could walk away with plans, ideas, and activities which THEY could put to use in their classrooms. Instead this was a pat-on-the-back session. Most participants were active for 10 minutes, and then ended up looking at phones and mobile devices.

In the future this presentation should be participant-oriented rather than “Here’s what we do… buy our services.”

Daniel O’Keefe is the regional director at the institute of play, a team of designers, strategists and game designers.