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Game Level Learn feat. Jon Cassie- 63

Episode Overview

In this episode of Board Gaming with Education, Dustin sits down and talks with Jon Cassie from Game Level Learn. Dustin and Jon talk about a variety of topics ranging from the differences between game-based learning and gamification to using gaming elements in his lessons to helping teachers use gaming elements in their own classes. Listen in to learn more about Jon, Game Level Learn, the Game Level Learn Convention and how you can use some of his teaching practices in your classroom.

Game Level Learnhttp://www.gamelevellearn.com/


Email: joncassie@gmail.com

Board Game Geek: Jonathan Cassie

Other Websites:




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Episode Topics

Jon Cassie – 0:40

Jonathan Cassie is Director of Curriculum and Innovation at TVT Community Day School in Irvine, California. He collaborates with teachers and learners to improve instruction and develop curriculum in STEAM, design thinking, digital literacy, maker-informed methods and gamified learning. He is the author of Level Up Your Classroom, published by ASCD in 2016. His doctorate in educational leadership is from UCLA. In addition to his service at TVT, he writes in the tabletop gaming market, manages the Game Level Learn online community and podcast and hosts two additional podcasts, one about education in general (Many Windows) and one about the 1990s television program Babylon 5. Contact him at joncassie@gmail.com.

Game Master and Empathy – 1:55

Jon shares his story about learning through games. One of the first games he played was called “The Stock Market Game [Amazon affiliate link].” He also shares how playing games with friends helped him develop skills like collaboration. He also learned how games have helped him to understand problems from another’s perspective. His times being a game master many many times have helped him to develop skills like empathy, perspective-taking, and awareness of others’ needs. Be sure to check out Season 3 of Game Level Learn Podcast to learn how to use role-playing games and role-playing techniques to design different lessons in your classroom.

How did Game Level Learn get its start? – 7:03

After Jon finished his doctorate he went back to gaming. He acquired a great deal of games throughout his studies and never got around to playing them. After his doctorate, he decided he was going to get back into gaming. As he got back into gaming and continued to play different games like video games, RPGs, and board games he realized he should have chosen this as his Ph.D. topic. He realized he could gamify his entire class, and he did just that. Throughout the process, he wanted to document his journey and share it with others.

Game-based Learning Versus Gamification – 12:30

Jon does a fantastic job of explaining the differences between game-based learning and gamification.

Game-based learning is taking a game that exists in some form and you play it out of the box as designed because it is both playful and engaging and also accomplishes some sort of curricular goal for your classroom.

Gamification is taking a game by stripping out its content and only leaving its mechanics. Then you insert your content and skills into the mechanics.

Tips for Implementing Games in Class – 16:34

Jon suggests starting the process of gamifying your curriculum early. Games contain a lot of feedback loops that create opportunities to learn from failure. You should be aware of this as a teacher and be aware that students who have not had an opportunity to learn through this type of instruction will need some added support.

And on the other end of the spectrum, you have to be ready for students who are good at games. They may find holes in your rules or try to manipulate the system. You have to be sure you allow your students to make their own choices within the game because if you don’t, they will not feel like they are playing a game anymore. You want decisions in your game to matter.

Be aware of the cognitive load in your instruction. You have to be aware of the material you are asking your learners to understand. If the instruction is too difficult or too easy, you will need to adapt it and respond to your learners.

Lesson Plans and Iteration – 19:20

Dustin and Jon talk about designing game-based lessons and how to gamifying your instruction. They draw comparisons between lesson planning and writing books or designing games. You need to implement it first and then keep what works and get rid of what doesn’t.

The 2012 Election and Gamification – 23:05

Jon talks about how he implemented a gamified curriculum during the 2012 election where students were assigned different roles on an election team. Throughout the semester they simulated the campaign and election process. This made a lasting impact on his students and was on the best successes for Jon with gamified instruction.

Game Level Learn Con – 27:40

Game Level Learn Con is an opportunity to bring game-based teachers and gamifiers to the Southern California area for a day of focused and intense learning together. Be sure to tune in to learn how the first event went! The next Game Level Learn Con will be in the fall of 2019.

Games from the Episode

Throughout the episode, several games are mentioned. If any of these games sound like something you might enjoy playing yourself or in your class, you can help support our podcast by purchasing these games through our Amazon affiliate links. We will earn a small commission at no expense to you. Check out the games below:

Zack’s Desert Island Questionnaire


Modern Art

Villa Paletti

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