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Well PlayED feat. Michael Matera – 65 (Author, Podcaster, and Teacher shares insights into game-based learning and gamification)

Episode Overview

In this episode of Board Gaming with Education, Dustin and Michael Matera from the Well PlayED Podcast and author of Explore Like a Pirate [Amazon affiliate link] talk about game-based learning, gamification, and board games. Michael is an engaging, fun and inspiring nationwide speaker and author, delivering keynotes, workshops and small group professional development to teachers and administration. As a gamification guru and moonshot thinker, Michael transforms the traditional classroom into a high-energy environment where active student engagement is paramount. Also, happening right now, as of this episode air date, is the free professional development for educators, the Hive Summit. Listen to the episode to learn more about the summit, or sign-up now! Reach out to Micheal at https://mrmatera.com.


Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/mrmatera




Read more about the episode and take a look at the games they talk about in this episode below.

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

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

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Episode Topics

Board Gaming with Education Updates (8/2) – 00:30

WorldsXP is moving along in the design process! We’re looking for a third round of playtesters this fall. Likely to be the last round of playtesting! If you are interested in playtesting the kit be sure to reach out to me at podcast@boardgamingwitheducation.com or sign-up for our email list below to learn more.

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Become a Patron!

Becoming a Patron of the Board Gaming with Education Community is the best way to support the show. If you want to support us in other ways, we really appreciate that as well! Check out our Support Us page. We have “Free Support” (absolutely zero cost to you), “Nothing More, Nothing Less” (if you plan on purchasing a product on Amazon it helps support our show), and “Paid Support” (support our show through purchasing our products or services).

Michael Matera – 3:10

Michael Matera is an engaging, fun and inspiring nationwide speaker and author, delivering keynotes, workshops and small group professional development to teachers and administration. Additionally, he is a practicing teacher. He ignites both his classroom and professional development audiences with interactive play, passion and purpose-driven learning. He helps us all focus on finding the joy in the journey of life both professionally as well as personally. As a gamification guru and moonshot thinker, Michael transforms the traditional classroom into a high-energy environment where active student engagement is paramount. Michael is an energetic trainer, who broadly shares his research, teaching methods and technological applications for the advancement of learners, teachers and administrators.  As a consultant, he works with educational institutions and business to define the needs and build solutions that inspire and lead to effective change. Discover his most recent pioneering endeavors by visiting his website, mrmatera.com, listen to his podcast Well Played or have a look on his YouTube channel and remember to connect.

Explore Like a Pirate and Introducing Gamification – 4:28

Michael’s book Explore Like a Pirate [Amazon affiliate link] gives a wonderful overview of using gamification in your classroom. Michael talks about his experience meeting teachers curious about gamification and discusses some of the misconceptions teachers have about the subject. Be sure to check out his book for his complete breakdown on playful learning and gamification in education.

Student-focused Design – 5:36

Dustin and Michael discuss the benefits that gamification or game-based learning can provide to students through student-focused lessons and student-focused design. Michael compares game design and teaching. He draws the comparison by stating that a good game designer always keeps the player in mind when designing a game. They are always thinking about the experience of the player. This should be true of teachers and schools as we develop our lessons and curriculum for our students as well.

Simulations in Learning – 8:26

Michael shares his experience as a student where he was given learner autonomy through a Model U.N. simulation, and how this fueled his passion for the project. For Michael, this learning experience was “intoxicating” for him as a student and helped to tap into some of his own desires to learn through the activity.

Catan in Class – 11:05

Growing up board games took a back seat in Michael’s life. He came across Catan in his professional career and he absolutely loved it. Soon after, it made it to his classroom as a free period activity that students could play. Then came the board game club, and next up was integrating game elements into his simulations as a part of his curriculum. On the podcast, Michael talks about how he has integrated a mini-game into his feudalism simulation.

Also, some advice from Michael: Play more games!

Leaning into the Theme and Game – 20:30

Michael talks about confidence, the language we use, and how we can lean into the learning experiences we create for our students. These are all key factors in making a gamified learning experience a success. As the teacher, we have to be sold on our own ideas and engage with them to present them to our students. If we don’t believe in what we are teaching, then neither will our students.

Well PlayEd – 23:51

Michael hosts Well PlayED, a wonderful resource for teachers looking to implement any playful learning in their classroom. Topics on the show include anything from gamification to game-based learning to collaborative games for the classroom. He also runs a YouTube Channel. Check out one of our favorite videos below!

Hive Summit – 26:25

Michael hosts an online virtual free professional development for educators. There are 9 fantastic presenters speaking on professional and personal development. Topics you can expect from the conference include: playful learning, tech in the classroom, personal growth, and leadership.

Sign-up now!

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:

Michael’s Desert Island Questionnaire

Isle of Sky

Clans of Caledonia


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