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Roll for Learning: Micro Tabletop Role-Playing Games in the Classroom

Colorado Convention Center, Bluebird Ballroom Lobby, Table 38

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Associate Professor
University of Northern Colorado
Matthew Farber, Ed.D. is an associate professor of educational technology at the University of Northern Colorado, where he co-directs the Gaming SEL Lab. His research is at the intersection of games and social and emotional learning. His latest book is Gaming SEL: Games as Transformational to Social and Emotional Learning.

Session description

“Micro” tabletop role-playing games (TT RPGs) have grown in popularity in recent years, and there is potential for classroom use as these games are about 1-2 pages long, easy to learn, and quick to play. Games from an open-access book of games will be shared.

Purpose & objective

A poster presentation on educational micro tabletop role-playing games aims to inform and engage the audience, typically educators and researchers, about the use of these games as a powerful tool for enhancing learning experiences. Its purpose is to demonstrate how micro tabletop RPGs can cultivate essential skills like problem-solving, creativity, and collaboration in educational contexts. The objectives include presenting practical examples of their integration into curricula, showcasing the benefits for student engagement and skill development, addressing potential implementation challenges, and sparking discussions to promote wider adoption and exploration of this innovative pedagogical approach.

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The poster presentation on educational micro tabletop role-playing games will comprise the following key sections:

Introduction: Briefly introduce the concept of micro tabletop RPGs in education.
Benefits: Highlight the educational advantages of using micro tabletop RPGs, including skill development and engagement.
Implementation: Provide practical examples and strategies for integrating these games into the classroom.
Challenges and Solutions: Address potential obstacles and offer solutions or best practices.
Case Studies: Present real-world case studies or classroom experiences demonstrating the impact of micro tabletop RPGs on learning.
Discussion and Interaction: Encourage audience engagement through discussions and Q&A sessions.
Conclusion: Summarize the key takeaways and emphasize the potential of micro tabletop RPGs in educational settings.
References: Cite relevant research and resources for further exploration.

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Supporting research


Bowman, Sarah. The Functions of Role-Playing Games. McFarland Press
Byers, Andrew and Francesco Crocco. The Role-Playing Society. McFarland Press
Grouling, Jennifer. The Creation of Narrative in Tabletop Role-Playing Games. McFarland Press
MacKay, Daniel. The Fantasy Role-Playing Game. McFarland Press
Zagal, José and Sebastian Deterding. Role-Playing Game Studies: A Transmedia Approach. Routledge, 2018.


Analog Games Studies -
Journal about all non-digital games; it features lots of good articles on TTRPG from different perspectives. They also organize an annual conference called “Generation Analog”

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Session specifications

Games for learning & gamification
Grade level:
Skill level:
Library media specialists, Teachers, Teacher education/higher ed faculty
Attendee devices:
Devices useful
Attendee device specification:
Smartphone: Android, iOS, Windows
Laptop: Chromebook, Mac, PC
Tablet: Android, iOS, Windows
Subject area:
Language arts, Social studies
ISTE Standards:
For Students:
Innovative Designer
  • Students know and use a deliberate design process for generating ideas, testing theories, creating innovative artifacts or solving authentic problems.
  • Students develop, test and refine prototypes as part of a cyclical design process.
Creative Communicator
  • Students create original works or responsibly repurpose or remix digital resources into new creations.