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For Attendees


Using Games, Play + Digital Media to Build Your Own Maker Culture

[Participate and share : Interactive lecture]

Wednesday, June 29, 10:15–11:15 am
CCC 201

favoritesMichael Gorman  favoritesAmanda Haughs  favoritesJackson Westenskow  
Introducing play, gaming and elements from the maker culture into your lessons is an effective way to create immersive scenarios that stretch your students’ problem-solving skills. Listen in as PBS and the Institute of Play discuss ways to leverage these tools to build a maker culture at your school.

Skill level: Beginner
Attendee devices: Devices useful
Attendee device specification: Laptop: Chromebook, PC, Mac
Tablet: Android, iOS, Windows
Focus: Digital age teaching & learning
Topic: Early childhood/elementary, Innovative learning environments
Grade level: PK-12
ISTE Standards: Teachers : Engage in professional growth and leadership
Teachers : Design and develop digital age learning experiences and assessments
Teachers : Facilitate and inspire student learning and creativity
Additional detail: ISTE Professional Learning Network pick

Digital tote resources
Description: Look for post entitled "Building a Makerspace Culture ..."

Proposal summary

Purpose & objective

The purpose of this session is to show educators how they can build a Maker Culture at their school by introducing elements of play and gaming into their lessons and by leveraging digital media, technology, and hands-on DIY workshops.

Panelists will illustrate how games can be used to create spaces of possibility, where students feel that they can do anything without fear of failure. They will show how educators can construct these types of spaces by tapping into the Maker mindset.

Panelists will help teachers think of ways to exercise a range of 21st century skills – and create opportunities for students to deconstruct ideas, investigate, think critically, and communicate with each other.

Attendees will walk away having been exposed to case studies, practical insights, tips, tools, and resources that they can leverage in their classrooms.


Part I (10 minutes)
Introduction to the panel; panelists will begin with a look at the role of gaming and play within the education space - and offer a definition and key vocabulary inherent to the Maker Culture.

Part II (35 minutes)
Panelists will dive into the question of how to create a Maker Culture at the school level. They will highlight resources and tactics that teachers can use to model a Maker mindset for their students --- which can in turn, create opportunities for students to deconstruct ideas, investigate, think critically, and communicate with each other. During this segment, panelists will also discuss case studies - including a look into Jackson Westenskow's amazing work in Colorado (see notes in the "research" section).

Part III (15 minutes) Sound off! The goal of this session is to empower teachers so we want to make sure that as the conversation continues, attendees are asking questions and interacting with the panel. This segment will focus around questions from the audience.

Supporting research

The Institute of Play offers a wealth of accessible data around the integration of games and play into the education space. Here is an examples of their work in this area:

Our panelist Jackson Westenskow leads Institute of Play's school design team in Colorado, where he oversees the development of the Studio School, a new middle school with a game-like learning model proposed for Aurora Public Schools. Take a look at his work here:



favorites Michael Gorman, 21centuryedtech

Michael Gorman is a graduate of Western Michigan University, Indiana University, and Johns Hopkins University’s. He has partnered with ISTE and various educational, governmental, and business organizations and foundations. He has overseen a 1:1 laptop programs and digital PD for Southwest Allen County Schools near Fort Wayne, Indiana. He is also a consultant for Discovery Education, ISTE, PBS Learning Media and November Learning. He is on the National Faculty for BIE (BUCK Institute) and an Adviser for Tech & Learning Magazine. Mike has presented alongside PBS on many occasions including a very successful 1:1 session at ISTE2015.

favorites Amanda Haughs, Campbell Union School District

favorites Jackson Westenskow, Institute of Play

Jackson Westenskow leads Institute of Play's design work in Colorado, where he oversees the development of new game-like learning programs. He taught English and Spanish at William Smith High School, an Expeditionary Learning School in Aurora, Colorado where he also served as Assistant Principal. He earned a Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership at Regis University and was a Fellow with Catapult Leadership. Jackson's interest in games spans from board games to volleyball, and from Mario Kart to Improv and has an intense belief that we can do more to engage students and prepare them for the future they choose.