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Using Board Games to Develop Soft Skills feat. Kim Tolson – 118

Episode Overview

In this week’s episode of Board Gaming with Education, Dustin is joined by co-host Dave Eng and guest Kim Tolson to talk about using board games to develop soft skills. Kim gives some insights into ways you can use board games to develop soft skills and shares some examples of lessons she has developed for her classes. After Dustin and Kim’s discussion, Dustin and Dave continue the conversation by looking back on some of the things Kim mentions in the episode.

  • Episode Topics
    • Board Gaming with Education Store – 0:00
    • Welcome Dave back to the Show – 1:09
    • Who is Kim Tolson? – 5:14
    • Defining “Soft Skills” – 10:25
    • Open-Mindedness – 14:20
    • Entertainment, Edutainment, and Education – 17:16
    • What Can Educators Learn from Game Designers? – 19:58
    • What Can Game Designers Learn from Educators? – 32:23
    • Rodger Rejoins the Conversation – 37:44
    • Dustin, Kim, and Dave Play FunEmployed – 49:13

Games from this Episode [Links include games in our Board Gaming with Education Store or Amazon affiliate links]:


YouTube Channel Tabletop Tolson: www.youtube.com/TabletopTolson
Kim’s Website: www.tabletoptolson.com

Thank you to Purple Planet Music for the wonderful contribution of their songs “Soul Train” and “Retro Gamer” for our Sponsorship and Interview Segments. These songs can be found in full on this music archive. Also, thank you to Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) for his creative commons 4.0 contribution of “Getting it Done” for our Game Segment.

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

You can listen to us on Apple Podcasts (or any other platform you get your podcasts):



Board Gaming with Education Updates – 0:00

Check out our store to find great games for at-home and classroom learning!


Who is Kim Tolson? – 5:14

Dustin introduces Kim Tolson!

Defining “Soft Skills” – 10:25

Kim defines soft skills throughout the episode with various examples through games. The first examples she gives is creativity and developing that skill through the game Dixit and Pictures.

Open-Mindedness – 14:20

Kim goes on to talk about using board games to develop a more open mindset. The examples that she and Dustin come up with include Pictures and Codenames.

Integrity – 15:54

Kim discusses the role that board games can play in developing integrity. She talks generally about cooperative games and low-stakes games.

Adaptability – 19:32

Kim talks about how board games, in general, can help us to become more adaptable, and Dustin compares board games to video games and your ability to self-evaluate, assess, and change.

Introducing a Game for the First Time – 23:40

Kim and Dustin share some tips about introducing a game to your classroom for the first time. Kim suggests using a cooperative or team-based game. Dustin also talks about his experience of introducing a game with secret roles.

Active Listening – 23:40

Kim shares her experience using the game When I Dream to develop active listening skills. Dustin also talks about the game MonsDRAWsity.

Dave Rejoins the Conversation – 41:27

Dave rejoins the conversation with Dustin and they chat about some of the insights that Kim had to share.

Dustin, Kim, and Dave Play FunEmployed – 49:13

Dustin, Kim, and Dave play FunEmployed.


Transcript of “Using Board Games to Develop Soft Skills feat. Kim Tolson – 118”

Transcript automated and provided by otter.ai. [Using this link helps us continue to use this transcription service for future episodes.] Disclaimer: This is an automated transcript and may have errors in grammar, wording, and/or word choice.

Dustin Staats 0:00
Coming up, we have another topical episode of Board Gaming with Education. I chat with Kim Tolson about using board games to develop soft skills. I’m also joined by co host Dave, this episode, and we have a follow up discussion based on the conversation that Kim and I have. Before we get into the episode, I want to let you know that our board game store is live. So a lot of the games that we talked about on the show you can find in our board game store Board Gaming with Education comm, you can also find a lot of complimentary learning resources with the games as well. These are bonus resources that come as a downloadable digital file as a bonus for your game. So you will have lifetime access to these resources to be able to use these board games at home or in the classroom for your learning environments. So again, be sure to check out the games we carry in our store Board Gaming with education.com. Now let’s get into the show.

Board Gaming with Education 0:54
Board Gaming with Education, a podcast for anyone curious about how games and education mix, we explore various topics like game based learning gamification, and board games and the impacts they have on learning. here’s your host, Dustin Staats.

Dustin Staats 1:09
So welcome to our topical based episode. I’m here joined with Dave again, first off, Dave, welcome back to the show.

Dave Eng 1:16
Thank you Dustin, glad to be back.

Dustin Staats 1:17
And I’m excited to have you on because Well, a couple of reasons, we’re gonna play a game that is very much related to what you do outside of game based learning and games for learning.And maybe you can chat a little bit about that, as well as the webinars you’re doing for games for learning, because you’re doing a couple different things. One, the student affairs job search podcast, and also you have something that a lot of our listeners are familiar with. If they’ve tuned in to a previous episode, you’re doing webinars based on game based learning or games for learning. Could you share a little bit about those before we get into the show?

Dave Eng 1:54
Yeah, sure. So the site that most people on your show doesn’t tend to know me for is for university XP. So in university xp.com, I talk about gamespace learning using games gamification, and game space learning for teaching and learning, either in person or online. And as of this recording, tomorrow, I’m hosting a webinar called creating the player experience. And for that webinar, I’m really focusing on what exactly the player experience is and and how do us as designers and educators, best create and use games for teaching and learning to support this experience. And this episode is really unique and interesting, because the game we’re gonna play is related to another website I wrote called the job hacker. And on the job hacker, I focus on helping other educators land their first time, full time jobs as higher ed administrators and student affairs professionals. So that game is all about helping people, like interview for jobs, find jobs, apply for jobs, navigate salary, negotiations, and everything else. So this game we’re gonna play is an interesting combination of those two realms.

Dustin Staats 3:04
Yeah, I, I knew I wanted to reach out to you because of your experience in both these areas. And I think one thing we talked about is funemployed, as the game will play at the end, and it’s definitely a game that can be used in English language classrooms, and maybe public speaking settings. But I wonder if you could look at how you can leverage games like this for building soft skills, whether it’s for job preparation, or job interviews, I don’t know, you’re you’re the expert here. So

Dave Eng 3:32
I think is really interesting about this game. funemployed is that it’s not like maybe some other games that a lot of listeners may be familiar with. I like to call ortho games, there, those are games that have some sort of point or value system, in which case, you know, like one or multiple people can win at the end. funemployed is more about the experience of playing. And what’s interesting is that basically, the players get a certain set of characteristics for a particular job or position, and then they need to come up with a particular reason why they would be the best person for that job or for that position or anything else. So it’s interesting is that the game utilizes this structure of like, kind of like an interview about making the best case approach to why you deserve this job. And, you know, a lot of the times when you go to interviews, that’s exactly what you’d have to do with this game takes that concept and puts this interesting wrapper around it, which is, you know, both funny and also kind of ludicrous, but has some really great gamespace learning applications, which is why I’m excited to play

Dustin Staats 4:38
Yeah, awesome. And we are gonna play that at the end of the episode and we’re gonna first chat about or listen to Kim and I chat about a conversation based on using soft skills are developing soft skills through games and that’s definitely something also related to finding a job right soft skills are very, very important for finding a position or working All right, let’s listen to that conversation. We’ll be back in just a few minutes or actually maybe about 30 minutes.

All right, so I’m joined with Kimberly Tolson from tabletop tillson. I’m super excited to chat with her. Today we’re going to talk about using specific skill based games for learning. And before we get into the topic today, Kimberly or Kim, I guess you go by Kim online in the board game space. Would you mind introducing yourself a little bit? No problem.

Kim Tolson 5:35
Thank you, Dustin again, for having me today. So yeah, my name is Kimberly Tolson, Kim tilson Professor Kim, on my YouTube channel, and I have been playing games kind of my whole life. There was a game that I played growing up other than the kind of regular ones that everyone’s played, like per cheesy and monopoly. But we played a game called safely home. I don’t know if anyone’s heard of that game. Have you know,

Dustin Staats 6:09
what is what kind of game is it?

Kim Tolson 6:10
safely home is a game where you have cards that you draw as you try to get home safely from said place and it’s just a teach kids how to deal with strangers and how to identify danger. And so like, even a game like that, I was like, yeah, let’s get safely home. So I think for me, like competition has just been a really big part of my life in gaming, and that also extended to sports. But I I’ve just been a gamer had the Atari original Nintendo had a Gameboy had all the cool stuff to, you know, trick out my Gameboy, the magnifying glass with the light and ages, it just kept going. And then when I met my husband, and then just boyfriend friend, he introduced me to the board games that I play. Now we know euro games and things that are just not the American 1980s and 90s games. And that just opened up a huge, huge world to me. And since then, I’ve just never looked back. And so games, yes. And I immediately started, I guess, naturally incorporating games into my teaching. I’ve been teaching for a little over 15 years now in various colleges and universities across the US. And gaming is just such a great way to introduce students to those concept, those skills that you want them to incorporate into their thinking and then into the products that you’re actually grading. And so I’ve just kind of made a big ol life out of games and education, and I just love it.

Dustin Staats 8:02
That’s super awesome. And you mentioned the magnifying glass on the Gameboy. Did you also have the Nintendo trackpad where you kind of ran on the trackpad to play the track and field? Yeah,

Kim Tolson 8:14
I did not. I did not. I had very little but what I had I valued. I was like, Yes, gotta have this, and my parents kind of got it. I think it doesn’t. Nothing in my life. Now as an adult is surprising to them based on my life as a kid, my sister kind of went away from all that. And I just said, No more games.

Dustin Staats 8:36
That’s awesome. Cool. And before we get into our topic, I kind of want to ask you about your experience using games for teaching. I know in my experience, I didn’t consciously go out and research Oh, there’s this game model that I can use. Right? So how did you first get into or decide to use games for your teaching?

Kim Tolson 8:57
I think it started probably when I was playing a game. And I said, My students would really benefit from this game as I played it. And then I just took it into the classroom and tried it out. And one of my most successful games, and my favorite lesson to teach since I generally teach entry level college students with writing and composition classes, is a game called concept. And that, by far is the best game to teach, structure and organization. And so when I’m trying to teach them what an outline does, and how the outline benefits your essay, and how it gives your essay, clarity, and structure, we talk about concept and I just write on the board. Here’s your thesis, here, your support points, and you use all the different colored stands to match the idea. ideas that group together. And it’s just, they love it. They play a game. They’re engaged. And then afterward, they’re like, Whoa, I think they have to put it together. I try to tell them, but it activates all of those. I don’t know all those learning skills, particularly structure.

Dustin Staats 10:25
Right? Yeah, I guess I didn’t think about using concept. That’s really cool, because we have that on our site. And that’s a game that we don’t have learning resources for yet. So that’s really cool. Yeah. Awesome. So let’s define or look at the topic of skills, like soft skills or skill based learning, what do those look like? Because when I imagine maybe soft skills or skill based learning, I think of things like communication or things that develop maybe your emotional intelligence, what are some examples of that?

Kim Tolson 11:00
Well, I agree that some of those, I see more obvious soft skills, communication, cooperation, critical thinking, problem solving, definitely are the biggest, soft skills that I hit in my Professor Kim series, when I’m teaching how to use games in the classroom successfully. Those are a lot that come up a couple others that maybe people don’t recognize or understand the value of this still kind of fit in that same soft skill category are things like creativity. And it’s hard to, you know, how do you evaluate creativity, every like, that’s probably the hardest thing, when I expect people to think outside the box. And that’s kind of one of my criteria. It’s challenging to get them to kind of press themselves. And so creativity, I think a really wonderful game for that is Dixit. And it asks students to not only work their caregiving skills when it comes to communication as one of those soft skills, giving a clue that is easy enough to get but hard enough to not have everybody gets it. So they’re also using a lot of language and communication skills. But they’re also required to be really creative in their approach. and creativity generally is rewarded in that game. I think a newer game that does a very similar thing is pictures. Have you had a chance to try pictures yet?

Dustin Staats 12:42
I haven’t. I’ve played Dixit and Dixon’s excellent was pictures,

Kim Tolson 12:46
pictures is a game that requires players to replicate pictures that they see in a grid that everyone can look at. But all they have to use are really weird items. So one player gets a handful of rocks. And they have to replicate a picture with rocks, and other player has to shoestrings that they have to then do the same thing with you know, replicate a photograph, somebody else has cubes that they put in a three by three frame. And they only have certain limited colors. And of course, they only can use nine cubes. And it’s just fascinating to see how players get creative with their weird objects. I mean, someone else has, like children’s building blocks. And so you just have to stretch your understanding your your idea of what you’re looking at. And then of course, you want people to guess this thing, as you can see, it’s like Five Stones is this picture over here in the corner. And if people guess that that was the one you were doing, and it was then everybody that was involved gets points. So it really really stretches people.

Dustin Staats 14:03
That’s really awesome. I mean, you talked about creativity, and then that game kind of brings it all together, you’re looking at cooperation and limited resources to come up with creative solutions for a problem that problem being How can I show this picture with rocks?

Kim Tolson 14:20
Absolutely. And then another, again, kind of under undervalued soft skill is open mindedness. And I think when you’re guessing you have to be really open because you’re looking at all of these possibilities of what this picture is representing. And you cannot close something off simply because you say, well, it can’t be that one. And once you do that, you’re limiting that from your choices. And you might be completely wrong with your gut instinct, or with your original judgment. And so really being open and saying it could literally be any of these photographs, even though I first think There’s no way it can be this one. So you have to take a step back and be really open.

Dustin Staats 15:05
Right? And that kind of reminds me of the game code names. I know, most people are familiar with that where, at least when I give clues, I love to try to get as many words as possible. So I’m usually the one that’s taken like three leaps from the original clues. So it might be the clue might be lava. And I might be thinking, like, I don’t know, I don’t know. I can’t think like, top my head. But maybe the Mariana Trench? I don’t know, that came into my mind. But it’s maybe a deep part of the ocean. But ocean is another clue. But I also want them to guess lava, which is kind of connected to the platonic tectonic plates in the earth? I don’t know. So, yeah, I think it’s important to be open about those clues, and then also look at different perspectives of players to

Kim Tolson 15:54
absolutely, seeing somebody else’s point of view is a big step. And something I want all of my composition students to really work on, develop and hopefully expand. And so I think any games that work there, yeah, that opening up to a different perspective and understanding somebody else’s point of view. So valuable, just another kind of strange thing that maybe we just don’t value or recognize his integrity. And that definitely falls in with the cooperation, you know, the teamwork when we play games, and when I teach games in my classroom, it’s never about who can win. A lot of my games are cooperative, or team based, or really, really low stakes. And so it’s more about exercising concepts and just practicing a specific lesson as opposed to, I won, and you are lost, and I’m better than you. And so integrity is a good thing to teach when things are low stakes, because then it trains people to always play according to the set of rules that you’re given to learn those rules and to apply those rules. And so if you see that somebody didn’t take a card, you just say to them, oh, you need to take your card, you know, it’s not this, ooh, they didn’t take their card. So now I’ve got an advantage. And I’m going to win because, you know, they weren’t paying attention. And I just want to say, well, when we play games, you always just help each other out. You know, if somebody forgets something, then let them know. And you don’t. Honestly, the way I feel from my perch when I’m playing a game is I don’t, I don’t want to win because I saw something happen. And then just like, kept my mouth shut that that just feels a little. A little greasy.

Yeah, yeah. Yeah, it doesn’t, it doesn’t feel like a, you know, just process.

Dustin Staats 18:02
Right. Right. And that’s another interesting idea is looking at the magic circle, which is like a grievous set upon rules within different game groups or looking at that, and also your classroom, right, you have kind of unwritten rules, and maybe some that are more conscious that you need to be sure to explain when you start your semester.

Kim Tolson 18:25
Yeah, and I think more so now than ever, I’m constantly being, um, you know, confronted or challenged with hybrid classes, remote teaching zoom instruction. And when when we make those shifts, and when we change the style of instruction, I sometimes forget that I need to be more explicit with my communication in general, but particularly instructions or parameters, or etiquette, or things like that, that just slipped my mind and everyone, we’re all doing our own thing. And the world changed this year. So we have to adjust accordingly.

Dustin Staats 19:10
Right? It’s very different world when it comes to communicating online versus in person.Yeah. So what would you say? In general, if we play or look at almost any board game? What are some soft skills we can likely see that we would develop just by sitting down and playing a game?

Kim Tolson 19:32
I think the biggest thing for me is adaptability. And I kind of focus on that because it was brought to my attention. Kind of early on in my relationship with my husband when we played games, and he taught me the first game we ever played together was lost cities. And after that, it was just all the games but for me, lost cities was kind of revolutionary, but I lost that first game pretty hard. I didn’t, I didn’t necessarily get it. And I never played any kind of game like that before. And the more and more I play games, the more I realized that what I’m doing every time I play a brand new game, is I’m required to be adaptable, I have to learn how to change my strategy, in game made game. In the very beginning, once I’m learning a brand new system, I might say, Oh, well, it reminds me of this game, this piece or, you know, this aspect of it is familiar here. But you are learning something brand new. And just that process of always learning something which I go through. All the time I go through that a lot, I learn a lot of new games, has made me better at that I’ve become more adaptable, I can change my strategy, based on all the factors that I’m looking at. And I’m actually kind of good at it. And I didn’t know that until he told me. And that was that was kind of the moment for me. He said, after two or three years of being together, he looked at me and he said, You have an intelligence that I don’t have your intelligence to listen to the rules, and then apply them right away. I can’t do that as well, as you do. You have this kind of analytical brain, that that just knows how to play a game the first time and like, win all appoints. And I thought I didn’t know that was a that intelligence, I didn’t know that was an ability or some something that I could like, have. But over the years, it’s been something that I kind of have fostered even more so. And I really appreciate the fact that I know, well, if my plans don’t work out, I can change and I can adapt and I can still be successful, I just need to make sure that I have an open mind. And I can adjust based on what my current situation is.

Dustin Staats 22:04
Right? That’s awesome. I think games definitely give you especially I don’t know, maybe especially board games, I don’t know, maybe someone can argue this point with me. But they have, I think because they’re so slow moving. And you kind of have that time to process your moves in your head while another player is going. can’t really do that in video games. I it’s a lot quicker, I don’t know. But there’s probably some games that help you self evaluate, and then assess and then change, right change your strategy based on that kind of process of evaluating where you’re at in the game, what you need to do to to get better. And I’m sure games definitely help you hone those skills

Kim Tolson 22:41
they do and students, you can see it when you bring something new in and you say I’m going to teach you this thing. They have that look of everyone’s Look, when you sit down and have to learn something, you know, it’s just hard. And I try to tell them, yeah, this is going to be you’re going to learn something, it’s going to be tough. First games don’t count. If anyone has seen my channel, I have Barb, she’s a character. And she is speaking for every person who’s ever played at first game, particularly with people who’ve played it before. And I think it’s just first games don’t count. They never count. We don’t remember them. We throw the sheet away. And nobody knows what that first score was because we all have to learn the game. And then you can start playing with it. You can start messing around with it, you can change your strategy, you can kind of see the game a new once you’ve learned just the basic rules and how to play.

Dustin Staats 23:40
Yeah, and that made me realize that’s a huge barrier, I think sometimes to getting new players into the hobby. A lot of people that aren’t familiar with board games that are like, Oh, no, I don’t want to learn how to play like that seems like a chore. And that’s especially true when you bring maybe a game into your classroom, either for the first time or new game. What do you have any advice for someone? Or can you think of any ways we could help mitigate that, I guess that fear of learning the new game in the classroom or with new players,

Kim Tolson 24:14
I think of first step, if it’s the very first time you’re bringing a game into the classroom, you should try to make it a team based game. And I mean, you still have to moderate and make sure that everyone’s involved. But it does take a little bit of that pressure off individuals making choices and being responsible for those choices. And now if you really want to make sure that everyone is doing and saying something and contributing, you can then change the next game up to an individual game. Like we talked about Dixit earlier. That’s the first one that came to mind. You’re responsible for your choice, your car choice, every single round and if you’re the person who is active then you have to come up with a clue. But I think one of the first things is people Just make it a cooperative or team based game. And then people think, Oh, this is going to be okay. Right? If I need to lean on my friend, I can lean on my friend, and then I can see how it’s done. I mean, some people like to learn from watching. They don’t like to get their hands in, you know, some people are hands on, some people are just observers.

Dustin Staats 25:22
Yeah, that’s awesome. I, it makes me think back to my experience, I think when I first introduced the game, and now I’m kind of regretting it a little bit, I had had the hindsight of not playing the game. So I could help people, it was a secret rule game, where everyone has a secret role, and then they need to act on those roles. If you do that game, and you have no moderator to help people understand their secret roles. It’s very tough, right? A lot of them probably want will shut down and not want to play. But having a team based game that that’s going to be awesome, because not only do they have their team to kind of help them, but then there’s that learning process, maybe if you’re using a game based learning activity, as well.

Kim Tolson 26:04
And I think maybe they can spend a little bit more active time, like active brain time with the skills that you’re wanting them to learn as opposed to performing.

Dustin Staats 26:15
Right, right. There’s the internal process of learning instead of mm hmm, there. Yeah, I guess being on the stage. I don’t remember there was a guest that talked about that on the show, I’m gonna have to go back and listen, but the open openness to learning versus a closed off approach to learning and you’re in those different zones at different times. And that was Episode 114. with Jake Michaels, be sure to check out that episode, he talks about tips and tricks for teaching board games.

Kim Tolson 26:43
Oh, interesting. So one of the games that I had, I tried this particular semester was slam words. And it’s a really, really straightforward, it’s three letters, and you have to come up with words using those three letters. That’s, that’s randomized in a little kind of expandable cube, nope. What is that like a, like a cone, and you can you can stretch it down, and then it kind of slams them into place. And it’s a something that works, you’re problem solving and critical thinking, but I made it a team game, because I wanted, like my small teams to work together. And I also spread it out over the course of one class period, and played the game three times. And the game is like, you know, you can make it a minute to five minutes. So they’re not long. But we were focusing on financial literacy and scholarship information. They were going to have to watch a 30 minute lecture on zoom. And so I said, well, let’s play this game first two times, the first time you’re learning it, that that’s just my, my, my whole, you know, idea of separating the two, three games first game, learning it, second game, right afterwards, now they know how to play, they’re going to get better they did, then I have them watch the lecture. And at the end, we had a third round where points were of more value. And they had the vocabulary in the notes from the lecture, to create the words with the slam words, and their scores were out of this world. I mean, their teams just they just kept getting better. And I think learning it, applying it, and then specifically honing in on the vocabulary and the language that I was wanting them to pay attention to regarding financial literacy. I think that was a successful lesson. But the team’s really helped.

Dustin Staats 28:41
That’s super awesome. I think it’s, I like your approach to the first game being a learning game. It’s, it’s really awesome to that you have a game that’s quick to teach and quick to play, right? So you’re able to kind of go through those three modes of the game. That’s awesome. Do you have any maybe other games that target specific skills that you can think of?

Kim Tolson 29:09
I do. Yeah, this is another one I try just this semester, and I thought it was really successful. And so because I did it in the classroom, then it’s going to become a professor Kim, because I saw really just how well they took to it. When I dream is the game and I used it specifically for active listening and teamwork. As one of those, you know, communication, you can kind of fold in several of those soft skills along with it. But my goal was active listening versus passive listening. And so

Dustin Staats 29:48
I dream I kind of know the game. Do you mind just explain it just really quickly.

Kim Tolson 29:53
Sure. There is one dreamer who closes their eyes and then a card is revealed. That has a name of something on it like bed, or table or something like that a canoe. And everyone clockwise from the dreamer will give a one word clue to get the dreamer to say the word. Except for there are secret identities. And there are essentially two teams, there’s the ferry team that wants the dreamer to get it correct. Then there’s the boogeyman team who wants the dreamer to get it incorrect. So you have to actively listen to the people in your group. As your eyes are closed. And you are listening for people who give clues that sound like they’re leading you in one direction. And if someone gives you a clue that sounds fishy, they might not be on your team. And so you have to sift information, you have to categorize and you also have to memorize the answers that you give is the dreamer. Because at the end of the night, which is the sand timer runs out, I think it’s about a minute, you then have to recall your dream. And remember all the words that were spoken that you guessed during the night, and you have to do so they suggest in the book. And if you want to make this about storytelling, and memory, you can really emphasize that last phase of the dreamer section trying to remember all of the words that they guessed correctly.

Dustin Staats 31:23
And sounds like an awesome language game. I mean, I think you might need to modify some things based on level but sounds like there’s a lot of listening comprehension and oral vocabulary mastery, you can kind of build into that game too. And it actually reminds me of a game from guests that will have on the show in the future. I recently recorded episode with them. And he he he designed nerd word science and monstrosity and tattoo stories. Those are his games and have you seen monstrosity?

Kim Tolson 31:55
I don’t think so.

Dustin Staats 31:56
It might work for active listening, what you have is pretty good. So it might be hard to match that. But it is a great game for descriptive writing and vivid detail because the game revolves around you being a paranormal witness. So you witness this monster, or alien. And you have 20 seconds to look at the card and memorize what the card looks like. You put the card down, you explain it to the I guess detectives, what it looks like. And so you have to give very descriptive language. Based on your memory of this monster. Everybody’s drawing the monster and then everybody reveals the monster and you choose which one you think is closest to the card. And then there’s an extra layer of like, I think everyone gets to choose vote on the best drawing based on the card to so there’s kind of some extra strategy, a level of strategy there where it’s just not the based on the memory of the witness. But we played it this last weekend, and it was really, really good. And you could tell the people that were really good at describing a monster. And the ones that were not I won’t throw under the bus, he was pretty bad. But if she listens to this episode, she’ll know. Awesome, well, I guess maybe we can talk about one last thing before we move into the game is what can we think of any games that can replace developing different skills? I mean, we kind of talked about a few where if I guess the example of the active listening, that’s really helping improve that skill. You use the one wasn’t word slam where it’s building upon that lecture. Is there any other games that we can use through the process of playing that game skills are being developed?

Kim Tolson 33:42
I think so i think so. And, you know, like I see I play a lot of games. And honestly, I’ve always got this part of me, my attention is always on what, you know, what am I learning? How am I learning? How am I practicing skills? And how could this possibly translate to one of my classes, and mostly I teach in the humanities. And so I try my best to balance my Professor Kim, for those who are in different fields. I hope I mean, I’d love to get some feedback on that coming from more of the you know, social sciences, hard sciences and math and things like that. So my example is going to be vocabulary and spelling and it’s letter jam. I think letter jam is probably one of the best word games that I’ve played in quite a while. It’s a thinker of the game, you have to spend time it’s not a fast game. And it’s fortunately cooperative. But it requires so much while you’re playing it. And I think because you’re thinking the whole time. You’re activating all of those vocabulary spelling. Those are the specific skills that apply directly to, you know, composition and writing. But it also is the cooperation. It’s the problem solving, because you’re trying to figure out what your letters are based on looking at everyone else’s letters. The critical thinking, I mean, you’ve got to, to give clues. I mean, you can’t just sit back every single person needs to, well, if you want to activate the free one, that free clue which you should, everybody needs to give a clue of the table. And if I do that in the classroom, I think that’s because I want everyone to feel like they have to be engaged. And so it really emphasizes it just in the game itself, it forces everyone to be involved. But that That, to me is just a wonderful, a wonderful game that really flexes people’s vocabulary and spelling skills, in addition to the other soft skills we were talking about earlier.

Dustin Staats 35:59
Right, I think you mentioned involves everybody in the plane learning. I think that’s super important when it comes to game based learning. I mean, there are games that are more efficient at that, and you don’t need a game where the entire time you’re involved in a learning, but I think it’s important that players and students aren’t able to just check off like, get on their phone for a little Oh, no. It’s their turn.

Kim Tolson 36:24
If I were playing letter jam with someone, and they got on their phone, I would say Hey, buddy, we need your attention. Like get off your phone. Like Come on. Right, right. Hey, buddy, who am I playing with? I don’t even know my friends names.

Dustin Staats 36:44
You might have a friend named buddy. I right. So do you have any last things to share as far as looking at board games and building specific skills before we move into our game?

Kim Tolson 36:57
Well, this is a recent lesson that I experienced in the classroom. And my lesson to anyone who’s trying to use games in the classroom is don’t be afraid to modify or change things or adjust. And my example is I love Time’s up. I love time’s up more than the world itself. Honestly, I love the game so much. And I want to play it every day. But I don’t have enough friends to play that with. And the problem is that there are they’re just very specific, even if you get title recall, which is my favorite version. They’re still specific titles of things. And if you get the original, they’re names of people. And so what I realized is that my students who are now 17, and 18, sometimes younger, don’t know any of those things. And so you can’t play time’s up with them. I even even call for the ones that I think they’ll know. And they get them. They literally did this to me this semester. They got the cars, they looked at them. They’re like, what’s this? Oh, this is my dad likes to watch. And I’m like, that doesn’t help anyone. That’s not a good clue. And so, what I did was I I kind of researched and I found the game monikers oh yeah monikers. Okay. So monikers is I think, a more culturally friendly, young person, age appropriate game of times up. And so now I’m going to try monikers next, as opposed to Time’s up. So even though I love the game, it’s still the game. It’s still the same process. I mean, the same three phases. But the cards are going to be I think, easier for my students to relate to and get each other to guess. And so I’ll still get the same benefits from using times up in the classroom with getting to know each other pulling people out of their shells. I just, I think there’s so much to benefit from early on in the class session when you’re getting to know each other. And so I kind of had a real not the greatest experience this semester when I realized my cards were just too old fogy for them. And so for me, that lesson was, yes, I want to do this, but I also want it to be successful. So I’m now switching to monikers

Dustin Staats 39:20
Yeah, that’s awesome. I know. I don’t know if you’re familiar with Tuesday night games, they do a couple games and they also have a podcast or had a podcast. I think it’s off the old still on there. But they’ve stopped recording. But they’ve talked about using monikers to and if I mean you and or anyone else listening, you’d have to go to your podcasts and search Tuesday night games monikers. It’s really hard to search for podcasts unfortunately. But maybe I can find it and add it but they talk about using monitors and kind of that way or no this is they talk about building your own monitors which is something you might want to watch Look at talks about doing that for like holiday games holiday, get togethers. And so everybody’s creating their own cards. And there’s a way to do it. So where you don’t run into your own cards, right, so you’re not guessing your own cards. Yeah, I would look at look at that, but I’m not I’m not entirely sure how to do it. This is feature Dustin here and I did some digging. The title of that episode is the ultimate New Year’s party, use your words headbands. And that’s Episode 162. On the Tuesday night podcast, if you’re curious, on how to set up monikers to play with your Home Brewed version,

Kim Tolson 40:38
that sounds like a really great idea, though, having everyone who’s involved writing several clues that they would want the team to guess.

Dustin Staats 40:49
Right? Yeah, yeah, I’m, uh, yeah, I’m not. We I did it once. But I didn’t do it correctly. I kind of found like a workaround in the moment to make it work. But yeah, there’s definitely ways to do it to where it’s, it makes sense as a game and you’re not, you know, it’s not too easy for you to get your own words, but I don’t know how. Alright, and speaking of games, we are going to move into our game. And so stick around for just a minute. And we’ll come back with Kim for our game.

All right, and we’re back. So Dave, what initially stuck out to you from that conversation.

Dave Eng 41:27
So the thing that Kimberly and I have in common is that we both teach in higher education. So Kim as a professor like me, we’ve used a lot of similar games in the past. So Kim, Kimberly talked about using concept that’s a game that I’ve used with my students as well. At the beginning of this episode, we also talked about using those soft skills to games, which is an article that I wrote about in the past about how we can use games, particularly for adult learning. So I thought that was an interesting parallel, and both of the ways that we think about using games overall. Kimberly also talked about Dixit I’d used before in my own practice with my students. Prior to us recording this episode, we also talked about another game I played called Pantone, which is similar to Dick’s it I tend to like it a little bit better. But I think that particularly stuck out with me. And then I always, I always have to make this distinction when talking about games based learning. And Kimberly brought it up in this episode, which is that in gamespace, learning, you’re using games as the medium for teaching and learning online. So it’s not like gamification, where you’re only using aspects or mechanics or components of games, just game game like elements and non Game Settings. But with games based learning, you’re using that game, specifically as the medium to teach and learn. So I think I’m really glad to hear that Kimberly was able to do that with our own practice. And I’m really glad that, you know, we were able to connect and kind of share best practices overall. But overall, Kimberly and I have a lot in common about how we approach and use games for teaching and learning.

Dustin Staats 43:00
Yeah, that’s super awesome. And I think it’s, it’s interesting, that conversation around game based learning versus gamification, I think it’s still I don’t know, it’s, it’s interesting when people because I run a Facebook group, game based learning gamification and games in education, it’s interesting to see newer members kind of go on this journey of learning what is game based learning versus gamification. They initially come in there, and they’re like, Oh, I’m going to do this, I’m going to have points throughout the semester, and there’s going to be a leaderboard. And then hopefully, people chime in and mentioned some pitfalls to doing some of those things. And then also exploring the idea of game based learning, versus these just points and badges and leaderboards.

Dave Eng 43:47
And I always want to point out that there is no one best approach for any of this. It’s just that gamification only uses those game elements alone. outside in the class, if you want to use points, you want to use badges, you want to use leaderboards, that’s all gamification type stuff. But if there is a particular like board game, or console game, or digital game, or anything else that you can or want to use for teaching and learning, that would be gamespace. Learning. So I’m active in your group, Dustin, I try to give people as much advice and insight as possible. But yeah, that’s one of those sticking points, people often makes mistake gamification for gamespace learning and vice versa.

Dustin Staats 44:24
Right, right. And just to jump on what you said, gamification is definitely a strong approach in different learning environments. And I think there’s a misconception that gamification can be very bad in education. But I don’t know if you’re familiar with you, chi Chao, and I’ve mentioned him a few times, and he’s quantified or categorized different elements of gamification. We’re already doing a lot of these things. In our classroom already, like the school I worked at had universities. So each university competed against each university and they scored points for different like spirit weeks. So that’s very much what we’re already doing in education. It’s kind of interesting to, to see people different perceptions of what gamification is, I guess, but I don’t want to get too too bogged down into that. Because that’s like a whole conversation whole, maybe a couple podcast episodes. Yeah, that’s a that’s a whole like maybe course. So when have you used any games in your in your teaching practice to kind of approachlearning soft skills or help your students develop their soft skills?

Dave Eng 45:33
Well, the game that I use most often in physical classroom when I was teaching in person was code names. It was a game that I had written a chapter about, in the learning education in games volume three Handbook, published by Karen Trier up at Marist College. So when I was using code names specifically for public speaking, it was that the main learning outcome I was targeting was I wanted my students to understand that most of the times in language, particularly when it comes to public speaking, there’s going to be a need for you to be as efficient as possible with your language in with your words. And what codenames is really good at doing is that as the code Master, you need to be able to convey a lot of information in just one word, and then a number indicating the number of cards that relates to. So I don’t know if you would classify that as a soft skill. Of course, I think communication is a necessary skill. But that’s one of the ways that I’ve used codenames particular for teaching and learning in my own practice,

Dustin Staats 46:29
right. And one, one of the games that she mentioned to you that I’ve used is monikers and that’s you start the game, you get a list of cards and you start the game. First, you can explain how man I’m not gonna be able to explain how to play the game, because I only remember the second phase of that third, I think the first round, you can say anything you want to explain the card without saying the word. But I might be wrong. So I might have to re edit that and explain that again. But definitely the second round, you can only say one word to guess the card. And the third round, you can, like act it out. So you’re working through the same deck of cards. So essentially, you’re, by the time you’re on the third round, people are remembering the words from before. And they can draw associations between what word you’re trying to get them to guess. But it really works and kind of this mastery, focus of learning language,

Dave Eng 47:21
I had not played monikers or does. But basically, what you explained so far is exactly what gamespace learning is because you’re using the game monikers in its existing state. So like right off the shelf, and you’re using it in order to help your students achieve a specific learning outcome. So if you’re looking for an example of games based learning, you definitely just provided one.

Board Gaming with Education 47:40
So anything else before we move into our game? funemployed?

Dave Eng 47:44
Yeah, so one thing I wanted to bring up was, Kimber talked about the BB character. And being the explainer, specifically, Barb has a character that Kim plays for her YouTube channel. And I think that is a great example of just gamers, if you’re not an educator right now, but you play a lot of games, specifically tabletop games. Whenever you’re introducing a game to your group, you someone has to be the explainer, someone has to be the teacher. And for my own game group, we try to rotate that role we call them hosts. So if you’re coming to a game group, we take turns hosting, and you’re responsible for bringing your game teaching everyone else how to plan and everyone else is going to play it. If you want to get into the the shoes of an educator, that’s exactly what we have to do, we have to take something that we have mastered ourselves, and we have to teach it, we have to explain it to other people. And what’s really interesting here is that, I think unlike some other applications of teaching and learning and education, what’s really telling with an explainer for a board game is you’ll get to know right away how well you taught this game to other players. Because if you miss like a critical rule, or did something else or something goes off the rails, you’re gonna definitely see for sure how well you taught a game. And you know, it’s okay to mess it up. If you’re either new to board games or new to teaching, but it’s definitely something that you get better with, the more and more you do it. So I recommend that any of your listeners out there that are just gamers but not educators.

Dustin Staats 49:13
Right, that’s a that’s a really solid point too. So let’s move into our game, we are going to play funemployed and you’ve played this, you said 2014 PAX East, so a while back. But and you kind of explained at the beginning of the show, essentially, you’re going to receive four cards and these are your skills that you can use to apply for the job. And then you have a list of 10 skills that you can trade one of your skills for. So it’s kind of in a way to help you be a little bit more creative and your explanation of your, your experience, I guess. And then after you tell me why you’re fit for the job, I’m going to ask a follow up question and then you’re going to have to answer that question and then when this episode comes out, I will reveal who I have. For the position, and I will expect a phone call phone call back saying thank you for the time and fix it the time and consideration. All right, so I’m gonna paste these in the chat.

Welcome, Dave, come in, take a seat. Okay, so Dave, tell me why you are the best fit to be to fill our position as an astronaut.

Dave Eng 50:42
Okay, well, thanks, Dustin, for inviting me here today, I’m super excited to be here. One of the things I want to tell you I think, makes me a really great candidate for the astronaut corps is that I’m always going to be hungry. So no matter what the mission is, what needs to be done or where we need to go, I’m always always gonna be the first person in line that wants to hop onto that mission in order to get out there. The second thing is that, like anything in space, things have to be airtight, and I am an airtight individual, both in the cabin, and with my lips. So if there’s any secrets that we cannot tell any foreign entities, you can always count on me, Dustin for keeping those secrets inside. The third reason is that I am an avid reader, I think the astronaut corps fitted out with some of our best and brightest in order to launch them into space, and with our career in space. So I’m constantly going to be reading about what we’re doing, what astronauts have come before us and what we can do in the future. And then last but not least, this is more of a cosmetic upgrade, I would say. But my glorious mane is such that no matter what brochure you put my face on, my hair will always look glorious. So that doesn’t is why I think I should be an astronaut. I’m always gonna be hungry. I’ve got an airtight approach to both my work and to space travel. I’m an avid reader and my hair looks awesome.

Dustin Staats 52:02
And then also, can you tell me how you can handle your manicured nails in space?

Dave Eng 52:07
Yes, I think that astronaut gloves right now are not well equipped in order to handle manicured nails. So I’m going to lead up a program in order to extend the tips of those astronaut gloves so that our nails can remain pristine in space like settings.

Dustin Staats 52:26
Wow, you’re gonna be a beautiful ash. With your manicured nails and your glorious mane. I loved your your use of the metaphors I’ll always hungry for like, excitement or your mission. Exactly airtight. That’s awesome. Well, thank you, Dave, for applying for this position. You will hear about this. You will hear from us here shortly when this podcast episode comes out.

Dave Eng 52:52
Awesome. Thanks.

Dustin Staats 53:00
So welcome, Kim, can you tell me a little bit about yourself and why you are qualified to be an astronaut?

Kim Tolson 53:05
Absolutely. Dustin. So, you know, sometimes, I think my friends and my family would consider my personality as prickly. But honestly, it just means I get the job done. There’s no room for funny business. I mean, I’m just straightforward. And sometimes that just comes off as just a little. But you know what that just means I’m going to be just capable, I’m going to be efficient, I’m going to be like I say get the job done. And I have to admit, you probably saw it on my medical records, but I am allergic to everything. And you know what that means is let me in space put me in a spacesuit. I’m not allergic to anything because I’m totally just airtight. I mean, nothing’s going to get to me. So I mean, you know those trees out in my backyard, not there anymore when I’m in space. Dogs. Nope, none of that. So I’m, I’m perfect for the job because I am going to get it done right. And I am not going to be reacting to anything because there’s nothing up there. I also this is kind of weird to say but I really like blood. And I love it. I love it. And so what that means is I’m going to try to hold on to every drop of blood that I have, and everyone else’s, which means I’m keeping everyone safe. I don’t want anyone to get hurt on the job. I want everyone to keep their blood inside their bodies. So number one safety right here. And lastly, I’m a vegetarian so I’m not going to be consuming all of this, you know meat. You’re actually well meat based diet that everyone thinks they need. Not I I need to just have some beans, potatoes. I mean, did you see the mercial Eat some potatoes. Right? vegetarian, done. easy, quick. And I’ll tell you waste not a problem. Not a problem. So I am your astronaut hire me.

Dustin Staats 55:15
Awesome. And Martian, I think he just ate potatoes.

Kim Tolson 55:20
Or just say potatoes.

Dustin Staats 55:21
Cool. So it’s it sounds like you were made for this job. But I really want to know, how are you going to be able to operate a big net in this position?

Kim Tolson 55:31
Oh, operate a big net with machinery. I mean, again, I’m smart. I’m going to use my brain, I’m going to get things done. I push some buttons. That’s that’s the great thing. Humans created tools. And then I don’t need to operate a big net with my arms. I need to operate it with my fingers. Right? pushing some buttons, moving it around the bobbin. Right.

Dustin Staats 55:56
Awesome. So it does sound like you are you’re made for this position. And, and we’ll get back to you in a few days. And that’s actually like two weeks to be exact. When this podcast airs, you’ll find out if you earn the position. Before you go, though, would you mind letting our listeners know where they can find you and maybe share anything you’re working on?

Kim Tolson 56:19
Oh, absolutely. You can find me at tabletop Tolson on YouTube, I have a channel there. I put brand new videos out every Tuesday and Friday at 10am. I’ve got five different kind of genres of videos that I released. And so there’s something for everybody there. I have some really goofy ones. I’ve got some how to choose. I have my Professor Kim series, and I have things that I just love. It’s called My favorite thing. And so it just gives me a chance to talk about the coolest thing that I just played. And I want to share with you. So yeah, tabletop toolson. Also, that’s my website, too. So if you want to go to tabletop toolson.com Yes, that’s my jam. That’s my that’s my page. Awesome. And you can write me there as well.

Dustin Staats 57:08
Cool. Yeah. Like I said, I watched my favorite video was the Kings dilemma video, because I had to share it with my kings dilemma crew. We really got into that game, too. Awesome. All right. So thank you so much for coming on the show and sharing some insights with us.

Kim Tolson 57:24
Thanks for having me. It was great.

Dustin Staats 57:27
All right, Dave. Yeah, Dave, thank you again for coming on the show. If anyone wanted to reach out to you. We’ll have some links in the show notes. But again, can you share that with our listeners now?

Dave Eng 57:36
Sure. So the best place to find me as at the university XP website is University XP COMM And you can also email me directly. My email address is Dave at university Comm. I look forward to hearing from you. Awesome, thank you again.

Dustin Staats 57:49

Board Gaming with Education 59:45
Thank you for listening in this week. If you like what you heard, be sure to let us know you can find us on social media as Board Gaming with Education or BG games or email us at podcast at Board Gaming with education.com. If you want to support our podcast, be sure to check it out. our support page on our website. As always teach better learn more and most importantly, play more. Thank you for listening and until next time

Unknown Speaker 57:52

Unknown Speaker 57:53
no one is available to take your call, please leave a message after the tone.

Dustin Staats 57:59
Hi, this message is for Dave, this is a message regarding your application for the position as an astronaut. Unfortunately, we’re going to have to pass on your application. At this time, we did find someone that was very much suited for space. She has some very strong skill sets. And she’s allergic to everything. So we really need to get her up there as soon as possible. I think you’ll understand it. Thank you again for your application. We hope we can keep in touch and keep you in mind for future positions. Thank you for listening this week. This is our episode that’s coming out just before Christmas, if you celebrate Christmas, Merry Christmas, if not, happy holidays, we really hope you stay healthy and safe during this time. I know it’s a very different time for all of us. And I hope you can maybe get some games to the table or computer screens. We will not be back next week, we’re going to take a week off between Christmas and the new year as kind of a break. And then we’ll be back in two weeks. So stay tuned for that episode, we’re going to finish off the season with a couple different types of episodes, some top lists as well as looking forward to the year 2021 with Board Gaming with Education. So stay tuned for those. We’ll be back in just two weeks. And as always, let me know what you’re playing reach out to me on Facebook, Twitter, I always post in our Facebook group asking what games you’re playing over the weekend. That is game based learning gamification in games and education. Because I think it’s really important to play as many games as possible, especially if we want to bring game based learning into our classrooms or in homes as a part of our learning and teaching environment. All right, so we’ll see in a couple weeks.

Transcribed by https://otter.ai

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