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Hey Listen Games feat. Zack Hartzman- 61

Episode Overview

In this episode of Board Gaming with Education, Dustin sits down and talks with Zack Hartzman from Hey Listen Games. Dustin and Zack talk about some unique lessons that Zack has created for teachers. He uses video games to engage his learners. You can find the games he uses in his curriculum, downloadable lessons plans, and reflections of using game-based learning at his website Hey Listen Games. Listen in to learn about a great website and some great resources so you can learn about Zack’s perspective on using video games in his lessons.

Hey Listen Gameshttps://www.heylistengames.com



Thank you to Purple Planet Music for the wonderful contribution of their songs “Retro Gamer” and “Mumbai Mood” for the interview and desert island segments. These songs can be found in full on this music archive.

Our Facebook Group for Educators: Games-based Learning, Gamification, and Games in Education

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Episode Topics

Board Gaming with Education Updates 0:20

Dustin gives a brief update about what’s going on at Board Gaming with Education.

Dustin and Jay just got back from the Moonlight Board Game Festival in Taiwan. This is the largest international board game convention in Taiwan. Check out our Facebook page Board Gaming with Education to watch the live videos:

Day 1: Maddish Island, Good Game Studio, XMultiverse

Day 2: The Wood Games, Transit, Lost Tile Games, EmperorS4, Mizo Games

Day 3: Liner Notes, Enjoy Thinking Studio, Monsoon Publishing, TIME2PLAY, Big Fun Board Games, Saashi and Saashi

Day 4: Itten, Studio Denka, Play with Us Designs, Origam, Nekomancy

We are also in the playtesting phase of WorldsXP. If you are interested in playtesting, you can send an email: podcast@boardgamingwitheducation.com

WorldsXP is a streamlined gameful experience for your learning environment to increase engagement, develop class culture, and reinforce positive behavior. As the Kit Master, your Adventurers (students) will choose characters, give them their own unique personalities,  go on thematic RPG adventures, and earn XP and achievements all while accomplish three main goals in your learning environment:

Increase engagement and motivation

WorldsXP fosters learner motivation through game-based learning, community ownership, collaboration, and healthy competition.

Develop class culture

Peer relationships foster and develop naturally as a part of the collaborative environment WorldsXP provides. Develop student-teacher relationships through RPG adventures.

Reinforce positive behavior

WorldsXP is a classroom management system that helps reinforce positive behavior through rewards such as XP, items, and achievements.

Finally, thank you to our Patrons, Getting Geeky with Gamer Leaf and Wbpress.org.

Hey Listen Games and Zack Hartzman 4:20

Zack Hartzman is a Social Studies teacher at a high school in The Bronx of New York City. I have taught Global History, United States History, Economics, and Government. I am the creator of the Website Hey Listen Games, a website for how teachers can use video games in their classrooms. Over the past few years, I have incorporated a number of video games, usually entertainment games, into my teaching and curriculum. What I have noticed is that there are almost zero resources (i.e. lesson plans) available online that actually explain how to teach with video games. My website Hey Listen Games provides full lesson plans, handouts, worksheets, slides, and write-ups for a number of different video games. You will be fully prepared when you decide to incorporate a video game into your teaching.

Learning Cooperation through Zelda- 6:20

Zack shares his time growing up with an older brother and playing Zelda Ocarina of Time when he was a mere six years old. He talks about his experience playing this game with his brother and learning to cooperate to solve the puzzles within the game. This experience has carried over into his curriculum design as a high school teacher and is able to focus on implementing a collaborative learning environment through game-based learning.

Monopoly and Economic Systems – 8:35

Zack uses Monopoly to teach different economic systems like capitalism, communism, and feudalism. Be sure to listen to hear more about different board games Zack plays in his free time.

Hey Listen Games- 9:54

Hey Listen Games is a great resource for teachers just looking to get started on using video games in their curriculum, or for those who already have experience doing so. The content on the site is very easy to navigate. Each thumbnail includes an image of the game, the name of the game, and a subtitle for the content of the lesson plan. Below are some examples and links to a couple of different lessons.

Bury me, my Love a story of love, hope, and migration. “This game is a heartbreaker. You will never feel as helpless as playing as Majd trying to guide his wife Nour to safety through text messages. Whenever we learn about war, there is always talk about what to do with refugees from these conflicts. It can often be hard to empathize with refugees because most teachers have not experienced war first hand. “

Battlefield 1– World War I changed everything. “There is not a lot of footage of World War I out there. We know that many students are visual learners and having videos back-up our lessons can help whatever our outcome is click with certain students. Since we will be relying on many secondary sources for the visual aspects of teaching this topic, using video games can come in handy. Games like Battlefield 1, while not 100 percent accurate, offer a glimpse of what the war may have looked like. Take control of the Harlem Hellfighters in the European Theater of World War I.”

Be sure to listen to the episode to hear about Zack’s decisions to make Hey Listen Games, the content available on the site, and how his students have responded to his lessons. Also, all of the lesson plans are available to download on Hey Listen Games!

Pros and Cons of Using Video Games in Class- 13:39

The number one challenge, technology. Using video games in a classroom can require a lot of resources, including a video game system or computer, a screen to display the game, and potentially multiple game controllers.

Engagement! Zack talks about how highly engaged students are during his video game integrated lessons. It also helps with differentiated learning. The novelty of using games in the class is really great for engaging students as well.

Dustin and Zack go on to talk about as teachers by including things we love, and the effort we put into our lesson planning and how that can help to tap into our students’ motivations to learn. Passion is very contagious!

Games and Student-Teacher Relationships- 25:10

Zack talks about his time playing his students in Super Smash Brothers and how it helped to develop relationships with his students. Dustin and Zack discuss how games have helped to develop relationships with their students.

What are your playing now?- 30:10

Zack is playing Assasins Creed. The game franchise includes luscious amounts of history during different eras. The game franchise has real potential to tap into the game players desire for tangential learning. Be sure to check back with Hey Listen Games for updates!

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


Super Smash Brothers

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

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