Games as Pedagogy – a new LITE project for the Bauman Institute

Games as Pedagogy in Social Science Education is an interdisciplinary project led by Asa Roast (School of Geography) and Ben Hirst (Bauman Institute, School of Sociology and Social Policy) and funded by the Leeds Institute of Teaching Excellence (LITE).

There has been a growing popular interest in table-top board game and table-top roleplaying games (TTRPGS) in recent years, and an emerging online culture of creating games which are intended to serve a pedagogical or illustrative purpose.

At the University of Leeds, some modules have begun to incorporate elements of rule-based games into seminar education and participatory activities. Game resources and guidance have also been shared informally between colleagues across disciplines. However, these have not yet been formalised. Games as Pedagogy therefore builds upon these existing practices with the intention of producing practical resources for educators interested in using games in the classroom.

The project led by Asa and Ben will take the form of a one-day workshop event held in Spring 2020 which will bring together teaching staff, postgraduate researchers, and taught students. The day will be structured around participants playing a series of games of different formats, followed by a discussion of their experiences, and a reflective session at the end of the day which will inform advice and recommendations for educators at the University of Leeds wishing to incorporate games into their teaching.

The games played will include: commercial board games which are themed around topics relevant to the social sciences (e.g. urban planning games), games created by academics which are intended to serve an illustrative function (e.g. demonstrating the workings of a speculative market), games which are intended to emulate real-world situations (e.g. which explore the decision-making process in running an organisation with limited resources), and games which are intended to explore different subjectivities through role-play or reach equitable solutions amongst participants with differing aims.

Following the workshop, a report on the event will be written and shared online through a webpage which will also include links to game resources that can be drawn upon, used and added to by educators in the Social Sciences.

The report will also be published here on the Bauman Institute website in due course.