Episode Transcript
Ixchell Reyes
The DIESOL podcast

Brent Warner
Digital Integration in English as a Second or Other Language,

Ixchell Reyes
Episode 33 Dustin Staats from Board Gaming with Education.

Brent Warner
Hello, and welcome to DIESOL. This is Episode 33. We are your hosts, I am Brent Warner.

Ixchell Reyes
And I’m Ixchell Reyes. Hey, Brent. How’s how’s your COVID?

Brent Warner
It’s mostly gone. I think I actually right now I have a dry, dry cough thing. So there’s like these weird after effects, you know that the that’s what scares me really is like, I don’t. I mean, I know I’m not contagious anymore. But it’s like it’s still lingers, you know, and that’s kind of a bit annoying.

Ixchell Reyes
Well, we’re also halfway through January.

Brent Warner
I can’t believe it. It’s all right. It’s It’s long. So fast. So. So today, we have a new guest with us. Dustin Staats, Dustin, how are you?

Dustin Staats
Doing good! Thank you, Brent and Ixchell, for having me on. I want to say that that intro is awesome. It gets me fired up to be here. I’m sure. anyone listening. It’s fired up to hear these conversations.

Brent Warner
Yeah, it’s like people get get the get the blood flowing and everything right. So Dustin, you are a board gamer, a gamer of different sorts. You are the owner and director of board gaming with education. And you’re focused on building and growing your community of board gaming with education. There’s a lot of cool stuff going on with what you’re doing. And we wanted to talk to you because you also have a podcast too, which is board gaming with education. And a lot of great episodes, I started listening over over the winter break. And I just started I was like, oh, there’s all these great ideas. And I really liked how there’s so many different approaches to education going on inside of there. And so you have some experience teaching, teaching ESL, can you tell us just a little bit about your your teaching history?

Dustin Staats
Yeah, sure. Well, first, thank you guys so much for checking out the show, I’m really excited to hear that, that you learn some things from it and taken away some some great things to for my experience, mainly, I have, again, my backgrounds in English language teaching, I’ve done some other things. And after school programs, a lot of teachers that work abroad and teaching English abroad, we do some private tutoring, I’ve done some of that, as well as some consulting. But now I’m doing board game with education full time in Los Angeles, we develop resources based around hobby board games or mass market board games. We talk with our community about employing the best game based teaching and and gamification strategies.

Brent Warner
Yeah, so one of the things that I wanted to talk about before we really get into all the different parts is, is understanding board games today, because I think one of the things you’ve talked about on on your show was board games today are not the same as they were 10 years ago, or in my case 25 years ago, or whatever it is, right? Where you’re saying, like, Hey, I’m used to monopoly and we go around in a circle or even you know, I’m clue and I’m just going to pick up a couple of things. And then that’s kind of the end of the game. Can you just talk from your experience about how you think games have evolved? And what people might want to know? If they’re, if, if they haven’t played a lot of games past the monopoly level? Like, what do we expect? What is what is the gaming world look like now?

Dustin Staats
Right? Yeah, I mean, and you bring up a really good point, too, because that was one of my, I guess, frustrations early on in English language teaching, when I looked for engaging activities, looked for like ESL games, a lot of them didn’t seem like they were making good use of the classroom time are not very effective, like hangman, for example, that comes up pretty frequently as a game to play in your ESL classroom, but it’s not super effective, or the roll and move games where you roll the dice, you move a few spaces, you ask a question, answer a question. Now that’s awesome learning tool. But it’s not the most effective game based learning activity, because it’s not super engaging with some of these newer game mechanics that you can use in the classroom, that I’ve kind of learned from playing modern board games. And if that is my only tip to give any teacher and I think it’s a good one is just to play more games. Definitely check out some other games, but I’m an example that I can kind of compare to board games and how it kind of evolved. And both are great for language teaching. ones called taboo. If you’re not familiar with this game, you have word like apple, and I’m trying to get my team to guess the word Apple, but there are four words I cannot use to get them Guess it, like red fruit tree? Maybe Washington, or Johnny apples? Washington, he’s famous for the apple trees, right? Okay. So it’s not not a terrible x exercise student class. But what game based learning and some modern board games you can look at are ways to make it a little bit more effective. And a couple things that I like to highlight that makes it good activity to use in your classroom for game based learning is it’s simple to teach. And it involves everyone in the learning. That doesn’t necessarily mean everyone has to be engaged in the game at all times. But there’s something going on in their head as others are playing. And then everyone’s involved in playing the game in some way. So trap words is a game that’s like taboo. But instead of the card giving you the words, the other team has to come up with the words to put on that card. And so what you have happening, you have the other team thinking of the words to put on the card. Also, when the other team is guessing your clue. They’re trying to listen to the words they put on the card. So there’s that extra layer of listening comprehension and the word association going on. And the learning and big game

Ixchell Reyes
I have not heard of Trap Words before,

Dustin Staats
is one of my favorite ish party games. I have like three or four now. So.

Ixchell Reyes
So I’m talking about games for bigger groups versus smaller groups. So I know, we know that party games are great, are a great way to start. Sometimes I’ve you know, I’ve heard teachers, they’ll say, for example, with taboo, well, it’s too hard for the students, because there are six words. And that makes it very hard. And I think oftentimes, we forget that you’re not bound to those rules that the publisher printed there. Right.

Dustin Staats
Right. Yeah. And that’s one thing that I would say don’t be scared about is modifying the rules, because you’re not bringing this game to the classroom to be a rule follower, very strict to the game’s rules, you’re bringing the game in the classroom to enhance learning. And if you can even think of rules that provide a more effective way to teach the material, I think that’s an added plus. But even just modifying the game to make it usable in the classroom is 100%. Like, okay to do.

Ixchell Reyes
Yeah, I think, I think by now, a lot of people are familiar with the game pandemic. And that’s a game that first that that, well, we’re never gonna Yeah, I know. But I used to bring that into my class because of the collaborative nature of it. Except the rules are a little bit complicated for even my more advanced language learners. So what I did is I let the students come up with the rules. And sure enough, a couple of them came up with a system that worked and we tested it out. And they decided what worked and what didn’t, and then we came up with rules, I wrote it, wrote them down. And I’ve got, you know, sticky notes on there for the next time we play it. So you know, not not being afraid to change your rules, break the rules, that the pieces are just there for you to have a tool and start, start off with something.

Dustin Staats
That’s super awesome. That’s something I like to design games as a hobby. And that’s a very first step to game design. So you’re teaching a little bit of game design to is taking a game that’s already out there with the components, thinking of them, thinking of new rules for it, so cool.

Brent Warner
So actually, so Dustin, I kinda want to follow up on that, then if you’re saying like, you’re making up your own games, right? What would I mean? I know this is impossible just to do overall, but like for you, what’s the what the what are the broad steps for creating a game? Or? Or how do you decide, hey, this is something that I think would help people have a chance to interact? Or to learn something? Or, you know, where do you go from that? Because I feel like a lot of people think like, I kind of have an idea, but then they don’t know that. Like, are there mechanics and steps for developing a game?

Dustin Staats
Right? Um, I would say my most successful games are the ones that are designed for the classroom because they don’t have to be these. Really, I mean, there’s a term in in the game industry or hobby board games is like a broken game. And those are games that are just unfair, or the rules aren’t specifically laid out. And there’s some rule sets that kind of you can work around and but what I’ve been able to do is take some games based on other games I’ve played, or game mechanics from games I’ve played. So for example, I developed a negotiation game for my business English class in Taiwan. I can’t remember the exact grammar structures they had to use or the vocabulary but I incorporated that in the game as something they should use as they’re talking with other companies in the class. I broke the the class up into groups, each group at a company and I use something called limited or secret information, which is a game a mechanic that a lot of more modern board games use where every company, they have these resources that they’re able to use to negotiate with other companies to fulfill a secret agenda. You know, it was a lot of work it took, I probably spent about 10 hours just kind of thinking of this, but I bought it as I saw it as something that could use in the future as a very engaging activity. And, you know, including other activities centered around that game, like they had to come up to the class and they had to give their offer out to the company and say, we’ll offer you I think I use like iPhones will offer you 10 iPhones to give us like $10,000 or something. And that company’s maybe goal was to increase their sales, were another company might be to acquire 10 iPhones, but they don’t really know which one. So there’s definitely they have to be able to go out and talk to other companies to be able to fulfill their goal.

Ixchell Reyes
That is really cool. I get so excited thinking about the things that I could do with my class or how I could tweak it. If I’m not teaching Business English, whatever it is that I’m teaching.

Dustin Staats
Yeah, I definitely miss it not not teaching English as a second language. Since it’s been like a year and a half. I’ve been out of the class.

Ixchell Reyes
So, uh, you mentioned that you use the game werewolf to look at modal verbs. And if you could explain a little bit of what werewolf is, I know what it is. I think I’ve played different versions. But I’d like to hear how you use it with modal verbs and and what do you what what you did in the classroom for that?

Dustin Staats
Yeah. So with that research, I was specifically looking at whether games encouraged English language learning because I was teaching in Taiwan, and students aren’t very well, I’d say they’re pretty discouraged with learning English. But it’s very important in Taiwan, because it’s directly related to an increase in salary. When you’re able to perform well on the English test, you can put that on your resume and usually get paid for so thinking of ways to engage students to want to come to class, instead of skipping my English class. I wanted to look at games and if this is something that they would say, yeah, if we did, this will come to class. So that was the biggest goal with it was to see well does this drive engagement, but I also wanted to center it around a modal verb activity that we’re learning in our English book wasn’t a super big fan of our English books, I tried to come up with activities around it. And it was really successful werewolf is essentially a secret roll game. So again, that same mechanic where everyone in the class is either a werewolf or villager. And you go to sleep at night, and the werewolves wake up and they decide the villagers they want to eat. werewolves go to sleep, everybody wakes up and you try to figure out who the werewolf is. It’s really great game. I’m not my background. So I have it. Yeah, so it’s not it’s a really great game for teaching psychology to my background science, psychology, but a lot of teachers have used it to look at group dynamics. But yeah, it was really successful. And then the research, I think, it was something like one out of 80 something students I had asked, if we use activities like this in class, would you be more willing to learn English all but one said yes. Or that one, maybe there could be nothing I can do to get them to want to learn English.

Brent Warner
Oh yeah – We know that student. We all know that student.

Dustin Staats
So even just having having some way to encourage those students who are, you know, not super excited about English class, because they think it has nothing to do with their actual life, when in reality it does. But a lot of times what happens in Taiwan is they they discovered that after they graduate University, and they realize oh, wow, I should have studied more English class.

Ixchell Reyes
So that Oh, go ahead. Right now. It’s gonna say that reminds me of the game coup. Oh, yeah. Yeah, so I’ve played it’s sort of like the maybe a faster version. And maybe for a smaller group, where everybody also has a role and somebody, they have to figure out who the spy is. And they have to figure out why. And then they have to go on missions. And it’s kind of cool, but it teaches the students to if they accuse someone or if they suspect someone, they have to have evidence. So that’s one of the one of the things that sometimes it’s hard to have convincing evidence, especially in English when that’s their their second or other language. Right. But that gets them motivated. Now, if I do the activity in the book, you know, they’re done in like two or three minutes.

Brent Warner
So yeah, where’s my wah-wah sound effect?

Ixchell Reyes
I said coup, but I wonder if I’m thinking of… there’s two games like that. Sorry. I’ll do what I have.

Dustin Staats
Coup is definitely one, but it’s

Ixchell Reyes
maybe what’s the other one?

Dustin Staats
I know. Avalon Avalon? Resistance?

Ixchell Reyes
The resistance! Yeah, yeah, there. Yeah, this is the one I’m thinking of.

Brent Warner
I thought you were talking about the… Spyfall. Or

Dustin Staats
Oh, Spyfall is good.. I didn’t even – I was preparing for this interview. I totally forgot about that game. That’s another good one, too.

Brent Warner
Yeah, it’s … So there’s… Jessup Yenser is also an ESL teacher. And he’s done some sessions that I’ve been to at CATESOL that talk about, like using spyfall as a game. And it’s like, oh, there’s there’s a lot of really interesting. There’s just so many cool different ways. But so you’re talking about werewolf and well, I just want to kind of use this as our as a little base point for this question. So let’s say I buy this deck of cards for werewolf, and it costs me, I don’t know, 15 bucks or something, right? And that’s a cheaper, cheaper, cheaper game than you know, some of them get quite quite expensive, depending on what you’re playing. But how do you expand these games? So like, if I say, Hey, this is a game that’s made for, you know, well, this one, actually seven to seven to 35 players, so that’s pretty good. But let’s say let’s say that, you know, a lot of the games are like, you know, four to six players, and you spent 15 bucks on it, or 20 bucks on it, and you don’t have the money to go buy it five or six times to fill your whole class. How could you make games? Like, how do people approach spreading out their games so that they can work with still inside of their budget?

Dustin Staats
Right? That’s a good, good question. And I would say there’s maybe three answers to that I’m thinking. So one is something that maybe a lot of teachers already familiar with, they’re doing stations. And in those stations, you might have the pre, quote unquote, pre lesson where they learn how to play the game through a video maybe answer comprehension questions, the next station, they play the game. The third station is maybe not directly, it might be a wrap up maybe to the game. And then the fourth one might be unrelated to the game. That way, you only need one copy of the game. That means I guess, depending on the class size. Another thing is, werewolf is one that is I mean, you could literally just design it on your own, especially in this environment, because you’re not giving the cards across the computer, right? You have to kind of type them up, right. So usually just typing up the same thing for the for the students to see. Right. And even if you search like werewolf game online, there’s a Wikipedia with all the rules and roles because it’s, it’s based off of another game mafia, and I don’t think anybody really owns. I mean, in in board games, nobody owns the rights to a game mechanic, right? They own the rights to the art and the language. But yeah, so you could actually use werewolf without even purchasing a deck right now, even even in the classroom, you just write on a piece of paper. I’ve done that before.

Brent Warner
Okay, so with a game like that you can you can kind of expand, but what if we’re talking about like a board game, like a proper board game with pieces that move around? Well, I kinda want to switch into, like, we could talk about different games that you like and recommend, but also, I’m just kind of interested in the idea because I think a lot of teachers are like, Okay, well, let’s have you. One thing that I’ve done is I put it in like on a Google slide. And then I make a background. And then I just give the, you know, give the students like a little icon that they can move around physically on the board or the background somehow. And that’s one way that unlimited amounts of students can do things, but I’m just trying to think of, you know, like, when when you get into complicated games, or when you get into things, how do you set them up? How do you set people up digitally? Or like or for you? You’re playing games online? Now? I’m assuming? How are you? How are you doing it? How are you getting games going?

Dustin Staats
Red, I would say right now is a really great time for it, especially because even in the board game space, like the industry is racking their head around, how do we still grow our community? How do we still grow our industry when people aren’t able to meet in person or playing games very much. You know, obviously, you have families buying games or like small, you know, circles of people who are already together. So a lot of board game companies have created digital resources, some free some paid a lot of people in the community so we put together a blog post of the best websites of 2020. And on that blog posts, we have something it’s towards the bottom is a community built Google Sheet with over 150 websites for places to play board games for free online. Oh, yeah, so we’ve used we’ve shared those with teachers and we’ve used some of those ourselves and some streams and even taken some games that are Like one recently called monstrosity, this would be, I guess, really great for like descriptive language and English language teaching. And you essentially, look at a card that is this crazy monster, you have 20 seconds to look at it and memorize it, and then you have to put it down. And you explain what it looks like to everyone else playing. And they have to draw based on what you’re saying. And you have two minutes to kind of explain that again. I wouldn’t say we don’t worry too much about the rules here. You could probably do that a little bit longer for like language students. But then after everyone reveals their drawing, the person who is trying to think of the monster by memory has to choose which one they think is closest to what they remember. And then everybody votes after they reveal what the monster looks like. Which one actually looks the closest? Yeah, so like, taking things like that taking games, you can kind of really adapt them for virtual environment. And there are a lot of resources, a lot of board game companies like monstrosity, that publishers deep, deep water games, and they’ve streamed it to kind of show you a wall. Yeah, you can still pick up this game and you can still play it digitally with your friends.

Brent Warner
That makes sense. Ixchell, we gotta get that onto our next Drinks with DIESOL.

Ixchell Reyes
Yeah!

Brent Warner
I think that’s gonna be I’d love to see what people come up with for their drawings. You know, you can.

Dustin Staats
I talked about my favorite party game Trapper. This is another new top one.

Ixchell Reyes
monstrosity. Cool. That is really cool. So I’m actually I’m kind of lucky. And I only have six students in my language class. And then Brent, how many are you teaching this time?

Brent Warner
Uh, well, I’ve got one. One class is 35. So

Ixchell Reyes
yeah, and then. And so I know, Dustin, that you said you are teaching in Taiwan. So I imagine you had pretty large classes there. And I’m interested in how you use the flipped classroom approach to make sure that you could teach all those students and then and play games, because you know, I do have friends who have large classes. And that’s it. That’s a something that’s difficult.

Dustin Staats
Right? Yeah. So I would, I guess preface this with it did take some time to prep for this. And having a hindsight, I was happy I did it. But I was thinking I would be teaching in Taiwan for a little bit longer. And I would have these videos, these resources to kind of save my time down the road. But essentially, I spent the summer preparing for this course. And I knew I was going to have over 50 students, I think one of my courses were 70 students, for a writing course. So I was like, I cannot read the 70 essays, like almost every week, for just one class out of I think I had three at that time. So I was like, What can I do? Well, I could flip the classroom, this is something that I had maybe read about or looked into. And with that I you know, recreate, recorded the lessons and the resources online, and then I gamified the course in a way that was engaging and encouraging for them to show up to class to participate to complete their assignments, because I didn’t, I had assignments every week, but not all of them were graded based on points are graded based on completion.

Brent Warner
Okay, I’m gonna stop because we got to get into this, like, this is super interesting. And I know a lot of teachers like me, I teach a writing class, right? And it’s like, I’m like, Wait, how did you do this? What was every single step you do to make this work? And I mean, you have to give me every step, but like, but I, I think people will be really interested to hear how you structured this class. And, and how you made, you know, I mean, how you tied in games, and, you know, and gaming into a writing class, because that feels like a whole different step.

Dustin Staats
Yeah, um, gosh, why can’t think of his last name, I was going to share a couple people I had a couple of podcasts I listened to well played was one and game level learn was another one. So these are two podcasts I listened to kind of like, throughout that summer was kind of generating ideas to think of how I can do this. And I’m trying to think back, I started with wanting a theme for the course that was kind of my first thing and you kind of need that first in my experience, and based on what I had read and heard others do, because then you have this anchor point to create everything else around. And I chose Sherlock Holmes as the theme because there is a game called Sherlock Holmes consulting detective. And in this game, essentially you are playing to defeat or to beat Sherlock to solve the crime. It’s like so the actual game is just a basically a like a choose your own adventure, almost style game where you read about the case, and then you decide where you want to go into There’s over like 100 different places you can go. And if you go there, it will tell you like, what they say, based on what you go there some things might be, oh, nothing happened here, just nothing to check out. Others might be, Oh, I remember seeing this guy in this place, you might want to check that out. And that could be like a what he called a red herring. So it’s made lead to nothing. But I use that as the theme. Because I could, I rewrote I rewrote the game for my language learners, and use simpler language, simple vocabulary. So each week, they were able to earn knowledge points, or Kp I called it. And the This was related to their participation grade. So very low stakes. Like, if you came to class, you got Kp, if you completed your assignment, you got Kp, if you played a game, and you are the winner, you got Kp, very low stakes things. And they could use their Kp to unlock different things in the game. So they’re able to go to different places in the city based on their kp. So that Kp was individually scored, and then also scored as a group. And these groups for consulting are detective groups.

Brent Warner
Jeez, this is like a huge effort! How do I get in your class?

Dustin Staats
It’s very, very layered. And I am. I’m prepping for this. I realized I should have a maybe an episode or some resources to direct people to because right now it’s just kind of in my head.

Oh, yeah. You gotta put this all together

Ixchell Reyes
Yeah, this is awesome.

Brent Warner
Yeah. So sorry, continue.

Dustin Staats
I mean, you know, yeah, yeah. And then we’re the flipped classroom tied in is, I used Google Classroom. And again, I went back to my theme, and I called the classrooms like City of London, class, whatever the number was. And this is where the video instruction was, for the week, we talked about how to write an introduction, body paragraphs, concluding paragraphs, like hooks, all the all the things for writing essays. And then in class, what this allowed me to do is freed up, like pretty much three hours of class I had each week with these students. In the first 2030 minutes to kind of create relationships with students outside of just the one on one writing conferences that we did later in class, we played a game, so and encouraged them to come to class, because oh, I get to come in class and we play a game. In English, I practice my language, I maybe if I have some friends, I get to play games with my friends. And then what they also enjoyed were the writing conferences, because I was able to sit down with them and look at their writing with them give them specific feedback on their writing in person. They had questions they can ask me, I can also like kind of gauge, are they actually understanding what I’m telling them? Or do they need maybe some extra, like encouragement or understanding?

Ixchell Reyes
They enjoyed their writing conferences.

Dustin Staats
Yeah. I mean, there were some there are some that, you know, they, they don’t want to come up and talk to the teacher, right? Eventually, I

Ixchell Reyes
think, something like that, I think I’d have a lot of fun.

Brent Warner
So I also like this idea, you’re saying kind of doing some of the flip thing, you can kind of teach them a little bit about the game before they come in, and then they can actually play it is one of the things that I always struggle with with my students is like balancing the time. It’s like explaining all of these rules, and it’s complicated. And how do you know this? And how do you know that? And then when we actually play and it’s like, oh, sorry, we’re out of time. For class, we’ve got 10 minutes left, I do like this idea of flipping. But I know that you also have some other ideas in terms of like how to how to help students learn the game, without kind of taking the whole class doing it.

Dustin Staats
Right. And I think what’s important I guess, as English language teachers as if we are teaching something in class, it’s clear red, we want to provide visual aids for how to play. It’s just important for learning a game for anyone though to and you can create assignments for students on how to learn games, there’s how to play videos for almost every board game out there. Again, boardgame, companies usually reach out to these content creators to ask them can you create a how to play video for my game? And usually those are available, you can ask them to watch those create comprehension assignments or questions based on that. Ask them to look over parts of the rulebook. You can even split that up into one group has to learn this part of the rulebook while another group has to learn this part of the rulebook and they come together, they share those things in class. So you can turn the learning of the game into like a language learning activity as well.

Brent Warner
Yeah, that’s awesome. There’s like so so that layers it for for each part, right? So it’s not just like, you have to go figure out this part before we get into it. It’s like they’re already doing the learning as they’re stepping right into as they’re preparing to actually Do the fun part as well. Right? Right. Yeah, that makes a lot of sense.

Ixchell Reyes
Yeah, so. So now let’s shift over to if, if an instructor is thinking about taking some of those gamification or game mechanics and gamifying their classroom, I know that you have a couple of helpful tools. And, basically, yeah, in Taiwan.

Dustin Staats
Yeah, I mean, one thing I did after gamifying, my course is I worked with my wife at her are in her school in her high school, and she taught international school, but she taught the English language learners there. So essentially, they were trying to graduate English class to go take the core subjects for high schools in the US. So they are a certified US based High School in Taiwan, if that makes sense. But they needed to pass a certain language level to be able to enroll in some of the classes. And so I took the ideas of gamifying the course and I wanted to create this toolkit that teachers can use, no matter what their learning environment is. So it’s, it’s still being developed, I had launched a Kickstarter last November and with the pandemic, I wanted to kind of revamp it a little bit. I cancelled the Kickstarter, I wanted to look back at it, but we ended up not being able to use it, because it’s really made for in person because there’s a lot of digital resources for gamification. I don’t know if you’re familiar with like, class craft or class dojo class.

Brent Warner
Yeah, both of them. Although class craft, I understand a little bit, I understand that more on the, you know, like, it’s really like, here’s your XP, right, your experience points and your whatever, all the different points things. And class dojo,

Ixchell Reyes
I use class dojo, okay, you’ve got Yeah, well, I use some of the components in class, because I haven’t had a chance my students come and go very quickly. So I can never get deep into it. But it’s got badges, it’s got points, it’s got characters that the students can choose, you know, timers, all sorts of cool thing, cool tools in there that you can still use, even if you’re not using it with your class. Like with Brian bread.

Dustin Staats
Yeah, and I guess they’re more focused on I, from when I was doing market research at the time, I think classcraft has kind of shifted a little bit. But they’re more focused on the gamification of learning where it’s more of a classroom management tool versus game based learning. And I wanted to employ more game based learning strategies in this toolkit. So essentially, it’s like a narrative Based Learning Toolkit with some gamification and students, they create characters, they go on an adventure throughout the course of your learning time, whether you want to do two weeks of it or a whole quarter, it’s really up to you and how often you can use it in class. And you can plug in different activities into this narrative based game. But it’s still in development. And I guess if you have anyone listening that wants to try it out, I’m happy to send them the print and play to check it out. And with all the resources and everything they need to, to kind of try it out, too.

Brent Warner
Yeah, I think that sounds super interesting. I, I am interested in this now, because you’re one of the things that I was always worried about with classcraft was it felt like, such a huge investment to get going, and I didn’t know if my students were gonna buy in. And so I never ended up actually implementing it into class, right? And so I like the idea. We’re saying, hey, you can just do this for a single unit or for two, you know, a couple of weeks and this part. And so that makes a lot of sense to me as a way to help. Because otherwise you’re you’re potentially investing a ton of time and effort and energy, and then doesn’t work doesn’t, right.

Dustin Staats
And like you had mentioned playing role playing games. And that’s one thing that I wanted mechanic, I really wanted to tap into this as we know, we played some role playing games, do we really invest in the characters we’re playing, right? Because we get to think of who they are. We come up with their stats, we come up with their backstory, we get invested with each session because we create a story with our character. And that’s what I kind of tapped into with worlds XP is the gamification toolkit, where students get to create, they choose a character but then they create their backstory, they create their relationships with other students. So there is an onboarding session for the game and it can be up to class and Have depending on how how long your class periods are to and how much you want to spend on it in that class period. But it’s definitely, definitely a good overlay on to what you’re doing. I would say. It can’t be a one off thing, I suppose.

Brent Warner
Right? Yeah. So I mean, I don’t think people are nervous about putting in a little bit of effort into things, but I think it’s like, with me, at least with classcraft, I was like, oh, a whole semester, like, that’s, you know, five months of five months of classes. And if it doesn’t go well, on the first day, I would be a little bit worried about that, for sure. But But I like this idea of like, yeah, let’s let’s try it out. Let’s jump in experimentation. If it works, let’s continue if not move forward. Right.

Ixchell Reyes
Right. And I’ve never heard of it. This is the first time so I’m gonna have to check it out and see what I can do with it.

Brent Warner
Does one thing that I wanted to ask is just any general recommendations for games that you’ve been enjoying, and especially ones that like, kind of can help teachers get their brains thinking about like, implementing into class, like, it could just be a general answer of like, hey, just go play this game. It’s awesome. But also, if you happen to have one or two that you think, kind of, especially for LTS, like, things that they that might help them get their brains going for implementing more games into the classroom as well.

Dustin Staats
Yeah, I guess, I would say, definitely playing any game and paying attention to the language that is being used in the game. And how you can maybe create a activity based on of it based on it. I mentioned monstrosity, I think this is one that I really am excited for when when schools are back to in person is bringing this just to schools and playing it with teachers. And then asking them well, how can you see you could use this in your class, because there’s a lot of a lot of great stuff in that game that I think can be used in class or used in targeting different learning outcomes. Another thing we mentioned qu in the resistance and where we’ll if there’s a board game arena.com, I think it’s dot com. And you can play games on there for free, they have a free version. And it’s I want to say probably about 100 games on there. And then there’s a premium version, which is like, I don’t know, two or $3 a month, something very little little, where you have access to a few more games, not very many extra games. But definitely worth worth checking out to see kind of what games to play. And, again, right now is a really good time to to reach out to board game communities because everyone’s online anyways. And you’re going to find people willing to join you for a game. Like for example, we play we play a game. We were playing once a week, and now about once a month, and we try to create some sort of audience interaction or way the audience can play along. So there’s loads of boardgame, Facebook groups, you can check out that your party,

Brent Warner
So you’re playing a game, and people can watch and participate from their computers?

Dustin Staats
Right, right. Yeah,

Brent Warner
How do people find that?

Dustin Staats
so our Facebook group is board gaming with education. Usually, that’s where we’re live at. We started doing it on YouTube to recently. Again, we’re only doing about once a month now. We’re gonna reassess how often we do it here soon. So hopefully, hopefully, we’ll start doing it again more often. But yeah, the first one that we started with when with the pandemic was called nerd words. And nerd words colon science, so science vocabulary, but you can definitely use this with any vocabulary. And you have a word, trying to remember the rules, because it’s been a while, you have a word that you need people to guess. And say the word is computer. You can give a clue with any letter in that word. So I can use o MP UTR. I cannot use C cannot use this beginning letter. So I can use M, which might be like motherboard, I would use that clip. That’s it. Yeah. Yeah. And then the last clue you get to use the first letter for word. So then I could say like, I don’t know, card, maybe. And so each round you’re trying to guess and the quicker you get it, the more points you score, both as the caregiver and the guests are. Okay,

Ixchell Reyes
I could see that. I could totally do that. I can totally come up with a version of that for my students.

Dustin Staats
Right. Yeah, you don’t need you don’t really even need the game. But I would suggest maybe checking out the game to you.

Ixchell Reyes
Yeah, sure.

Brent Warner
Yeah. So So if people wanted to get started in these communities are yours they’re on Facebook, right. Brandon, also on your website, boardgaming with education, calm and lots of resources and all sorts of things over there as well.

Ixchell Reyes
So it is time for fun. fines. And today I have a really cool one it is it is a school related one. This is from the EAP foundation. And it’s academic highlighters. I don’t know if you’ve used them before, but you take any kind of piece of text, you paste it into a box, and it’s going to highlight all of the academic sub the words from the Academic Word List, or words from a different sub, any kind of sub list, any Academic Word List that you’re looking at, it’s going to highlight them for you. And then it’s got a couple of buttons where you can create a gap fill exercise based on those words, or a part of speech, something like that. But that was really cool. And I can’t believe I haven’t heard of this. And this is again, by the EAP Foundation, academic highlighter. So I’ll have those in the show notes.

Brent Warner
Awesome. So mine is stream deck. I don’t know if I showed this to you before. But this is my by far my favorite toy of the last at least being on online teaching

Ixchell Reyes
2021

Brent Warner
It is so cool. So just to be clear on what this thing is. Basically it’s it’s stream gamers and game gamers use it for like different things. But for teaching, you can use a basically, you can program in physical buttons. So there’s little LCD buttons and physical buttons. And you can program in your computer can do all sorts of different things, just based on pushing the button. So you can program it to do a series of events, or I’ve got it connected to zoom. So I can do it. Just tap a button to turn my camera on and off, tap a button to share tap a button to open up the browser. And I can start it off on a default website that I want it to. So for my writing class, for example, I can just tap a button and it will open up a blank Google Docs. And so it’s so cool. And I’m like thinking of all the different possibilities. I mean, I feel like my brain is just thinking of baby things. Now but but you can put in all sorts of things. I’ve even got it tied to our smart lights. So if I, I’ve got a you’re not gonna be able to see it very well. But like the the smart lights, I can turn on and off by just pushing it. So it’s a I think this is probably the best investment for online teaching. I’ve done for a while. It’s called stream deck, and it’s made by Elgato. Dustin, what do you got? That’s awesome.

Dustin Staats
I I’ve seen that stream deck. And I’ve been considering picking one up so he’s sold me on Yes,

Brent Warner
it’s a little pricey. But like, Man, I’m like over this thing is so fun. And for like things like podcasting. And one of my one of my friends who does another podcast, he was saying that he just pushes the button, and then it opens up his GarageBand. And it opens up his finder and it opens. So it’s like so it sets everything up just by one button and it sets your whole computer screen up ready to edit and get into the editing workflow right away or whatever it is you’re trying to do. So definitely a worthwhile investment.

Dustin Staats
I would say, maybe I’ll just lean into the other hobby of mine, which is running. And I have I’ve really been using this. I subscribed to a coaching plan, like I don’t know about a year and a half ago now. I use it every every day, just about but I’m training for a 50 mile race in May. So I’m using Strava. And then this coach app called final surge is the name of that too.

Brent Warner
I don’t even like to drive 50 miles. But Strava is great.

Ixchell Reyes
Yeah, I like to run but I’m not ready for any kind of long distance marathon. Yeah, that’s very cool.

Brent Warner
Yeah, that’s that’s amazing.

Ixchell Reyes
All right. Thank you so much for listening to the show. You could win a one of a kind DIESOL pin by leaving us a review on Apple podcasts. And I know, we’ve we’ve had we’ve checked and there’s nothing recently but if you’re giving us a shout out any other way we need them. tag us on social media.

Brent Warner
So for show notes and other episodes, please go check out a DIESOL.org and this episode is DIESOL.org slash 33. The number 33. And of course you can listen to us on voiceEd Canada v o i c e d.ca You can also find us on Twitter. So you can find the show @DIESOLpod and you can find me at @BrentGWarner.

Ixchell Reyes
You can find me, Ixchell at @Ixy_Pixy, that’s i x y underscore p i x y and Dustin, you’re also on Twitter. Where can I find you?

Dustin Staats
Yeah, first Brent & Ixchell, thank you again so much for having me on. It was really good. I feel like I could talk about this topic forever.

Brent Warner
Yeah, there’s a lot of fun stuff.

Dustin Staats
Yeah, you can find me pretty much anywhere board gaming with education. My email is podcast@boardgamingwitheducation.com. You can reach me there too. Anything board gaming with education related best is on our website through our email newsletter and that’s boardgamingwitheducation.com and the newsletters about the second thing on the main page.

Unknown Speaker
In Korean thank you is Gam Saham Ni Da, Gam Saham Ni Da for tuning into the DIESOL podcast.

Brent Warner
Thanks, everybody.

Ixchell Reyes
See you soon.

One of our favorite topics in Ed Tech is gamification and games. This month Dustin Staats from Board Gaming with Education joins us to discuss his experience in the ELT classroom and strategies he uses with board games. Dustin has taught English as a second language to a variety of age levels – from kindergarten to university students. He also works in the field of education in various capacities, including consulting, research, and running and hosting tutoring programs. He is always looking for ways to create a more engaging classroom to develop a strong classroom culture to strengthen learning. He has a lot of support from his amazing wife Grace. You can find Dustin playing board games with friends, teaching, running around LA training for races, or at any of the “Board Gaming with Education” events. You can join his group on Facebook here and find him on Instagram and Twitter.

Games and Tips

Dustin’s Gamification Toolkit

Fun Finds

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