The Agile Teacher: A Gameful Workshop Kit

Concurrent Session 3

Session Materials

Brief Abstract

The agile teacher, is a gameful approach to faculty and staff workshops, that provides opportunities for discussion, collaboration and intellectual collision. The workshop invites  participants to think through common challenges that arise in courses, and address issues of technology integration, personalized learning and student/teacher interaction.



Nick Noel has been an Instructional Designer with Michigan State University for two years. Prior to that he worked in a variety of jobs related to media production and classroom technology support. He recently graduated from the Master's in Educational Technology Program at MSU.
Pronouns: she, her, hers Twitter: @MaddieShellgren As the Director of Online Engagement, Madeline (Maddie) Shellgren serves as the lead innovator, designer, and project manager of the OLC's portfolio of online engagement opportunities. Known for her love of storytelling, play, and all things gameful, Maddie thrives on facilitating and designing meaningful ways for people to connect, learn, and grow together. Within the OLC, she has served on steering and operations committees for several of the organization’s conferences (including as Technology Test Kitchen and Innovation Studio lead, as well as Engagement Co-Chair) and has had the distinct honor of being the mastermind behind the OLC Escape Rooms. She looks forward to continuing supporting OLC community building efforts, is committed to sustainable, equitable, and anti-oppressive ecologies within education, and is genuinely excited to leverage her interdisciplinary scholarly and professional backgrounds as she helps lead the OLC towards truly innovative and transformative models for what’s possible for online and digital engagement. Maddie joins the OLC from Michigan State University (MSU), where she has served as the lead on numerous student success initiatives related to instructional design and technology, accessibility, and equity and inclusion. Over the past eleven years, Maddie has dedicated her professional life to teaching and learning related initiatives and has strategically sought out opportunities that give her a multi-dimensional perspective on teaching and learning, including working as a Standardized Patient training medical students, serving as Program Director for Teaching Assistant development, taking lead on a number of cross-institutional educator onboarding and professional development projects, and teaching across online and face-to-face contexts. She most recently worked as an Assistant Rowing Coach for the MSU Varsity Women’s Rowing Program. There she was given the opportunity to help redesign a community from the bottom up, story the team's new journey together in fun and multimodal ways, lead in the co-construction of community expectations and norms, help ensure alignment across a variety of stakeholders and initiatives, and develop and operationalize strategic structures for long-term sustainability (such as entirely new social media, marketing, communications, and content management strategies). She had the privilege of seeing the impact of her human-centered and equity-oriented approach each and every day as the team reimagined what it meant to be a Spartan on the MSU Rowing Team. With her move to the OLC, she will continue on as a volunteer coach, still supporting these efforts and the team, and is excited to get back on the water.

Additional Authors

Dave Goodrich (@rangerdavie) likes to learn, design, and reflect.
Breana Yaklin is an Instructional Designer for the MSU Hub for Innovation in Learning and Technology and for Teaching and Learning Technology with IT Services. She supports faculty to design strong student-focused learning experiences, and has been conducting interviews with undergraduate students to gather student voice and better inform curriculum design. Lately, she has been working closely with academic advising units to support proactive advising and student success change initiatives.
Rashad Muhammad has over 17 years of developing and delivering high quality learning and technical solutions. He received his Bachelors in Telecommunication and Masters in Educational Technology from Michigan State University. He has been involved in several large implementation projects, facilitated workshops with community organizations, academic institutions, and was responsible for software training coordination on Michigan State University’s largest training implementation to date. As Instructional Designer with MSU’s Academic Technologies department, he spends his time researching, developing and delivering innovative technical solutions to enhance faculty courses and research projects.

Extended Abstract

Link to Workshop Kit:

In the Summer and Fall of 2017 a team made up of designers, teachers and students at Michigan State’s Hub for Innovation in Learning and Technology set out to create a game that allowed for conversation and creativity among faculty. The initial goal of the game was to generate adaptations of active learning strategies. However, as the game developed it shifted focus from active learning specifically, to the issues and challenges in teaching. Transforming from a game, into a gameful workshop.

The Agile Teacher, is a gameful workshop, with goal of generating creative thinking around challenges that occur during the course of teaching. While the workshop was designed with adaptability in mind, the basics of the workshop are as follows

  1. Participants are grouped into teams

  2. Each team is given a stack of context cards, dynamic cards and challenge cards

    1. Course cards - Set the basics of the type of course the participants will be thinking about. They come in format, size and subject categories.

    2. Dynamic Cards - These are a set of issues and considerations that may change the dynamics of a course. They come in collaboration, feedback, exploration, tech savvy and self-directed categories

    3. Challenge Cards - These are problems that may arise during a course. Teams can use these cards to disrupt other teams.

  3. Teams draw one format card, one size card and one subject card.

  4. Based on the cards they have drawn, spends some time individually, and as a group, coming up with an activity for that course.

  5. Then they draw a dynamic card, and attempt to address the issue on the card.

  6. The team then assess the activity they came up with.

  7. Another round begins, and Teams draw two more dynamic cards and a challenge card.

  8. They attempt to address the dynamic cards, and can play the challenge cards on another team.

The specifics of the workshop, number of rounds, cards, and even what the team is working on, can all be adjusted or replaced depending on the needs of the workshop. This specific instance will include two rounds, this will allow participants enough time to experience the game, while still making room from questions and discussions. In the past, when this workshop has been presented, participants enjoyed how the workshop asked tem to think outside of their comfort zones, and brought up issues they would have otherwise not been aware of. Also, since most of the experience is focused on the audience, with very little talking from the presenter, there is a high degree of engagement and interest from the participants.

OLC participants will gain access to a digital repository that contains all of the workshop elements. This will allow them to download, and remix, and utilize these elements as they see fit.