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Dustin Staats

00:02 all right look Dustin Dustin stats very 00:05 happy to have you as our first guest on 00:07 the everyday enthusiast you're an 00:09 educator a board games enthusiast and a 00:11 podcast host I imagine right now during 00:13 the whole coronavirus crisis classrooms 00:16 are kind of different right now so how 00:18 is that how are you adapting to that 00:20 right now 00:20 well first off thank you for inviting me 00:23 on here for an interview with the tundra 00:26 I'm excited to see these interviews come 00:27 out and I'm honored to be guest first 00:31 bit yeah first guest 00:32 as far as teaching goes I am in a 00:36 support role this semester so a lot of 00:38 my role personally has been to help get 00:43 students to engage with our content we 00:46 started off with just getting them to 00:48 interact with teachers checking in and 00:49 now we're just working on getting them 00:51 caught up on their projects but as far 00:54 as like podcast community board game 00:56 with education and talking with other 00:57 teachers it's it's been a bit of a 01:01 struggle I think at first especially 01:03 because there's a lot of different 01:04 school districts different schools had 01:06 different ways for dealing with this and 01:09 for moving online some weren't doing 01:11 anything for like three weeks our school 01:14 we started pretty quickly like the first 01:16 week we were already kind of doing stuff 01:18 but we're set up to be a bit of a hybrid 01:21 we have a lot of our program on though 01:23 so you kind of were prepared for this 01:25 yeah well I would say prepared is just 01:27 they we do project-based learning so all 01:30 of their projects they do through an 01:32 online platform so it was it was pretty 01:35 easy to get set up in that way but one 01:40 thing that we've really been talking 01:41 about with the podcasts are with board 01:43 games is how we can use games to develop 01:46 culture through this time because a lot 01:49 of times well especially this time we're 01:52 losing contact with our students and our 01:53 students really arrived with that check 01:57 in that extra relationship with teachers 02:00 and we're really as a teacher you're 02:02 really losing that during this time so 02:04 thinking about ways to use games to kind 02:06 of maintain that class culture while 02:09 we're remote so it's kind of been a 02:11 learning experience for a lot of 02:12 teachers too including 02:13 self because a lot of the games that 02:15 I've used previously we're in the 02:17 classroom I like to use a lot of board 02:19 games so bringing those online have been 02:20 it's been fun but it's definitely been a 02:23 challenge to figure out what games work 02:24 and which ones don't 02:25 in a remote setting remind me what like 02:28 a grade of students do you interact with 02:30 usually like what grade the students you 02:32 can teaching right so I've I've worked 02:35 with as little as preschool to adult 02:38 education the majority of my teaching 02:42 has been in a university level or middle 02:44 school so this is my third year working 02:47 with middle school students as a part of 02:49 my teaching career so right now it's 02:53 middle-school students I'm working with 02:54 the sixth grade team to help support 02:56 some students who need that extra 02:57 encouragement extra accountability to 02:59 get their work done during this time 03:01 because we we don't we're not penalizing 03:05 Sue's for not doing it but we don't want 03:07 them to shut off and they will still 03:09 need to complete this work at some point 03:11 so it's really just trying to get them 03:13 to show up create a schedule created to 03:17 make themselves accountable for their 03:19 work as well well those are like the 03:22 most formative years and I imagine like 03:23 right now to have something like this 03:25 happen it's kind of crazy so you're 03:28 trying to like I said maintain that 03:30 culture and keep people you know 03:32 connected still you know while we're 03:33 digitally having to communicate so 03:36 that's crazy so but have you ever like 03:38 done anything like a digital classroom 03:39 before this like or is it just this 03:41 project-based learning kind of stuff or 03:44 me yes I've done some online teaching 03:47 through an IELTS program which is an 03:51 English certified certification exam so 03:53 I've developed some courses in that 03:54 regard so I personally have some 03:56 experience of online teaching but a lot 03:58 of teachers don't and I I'm it was 04:02 awesome to see some of my teachers in 04:04 our school develop some lessons and get 04:06 really creative with it because I think 04:09 I think students really see that too 04:11 they see teachers put in that effort 04:13 putting in that effort to bring their 04:16 lessons online and think of creative 04:17 ways to do it to you so I think a lot of 04:21 teachers are learning and it's I think 04:23 it's a good thing to kind of consider 04:25 what is working now 04:27 and what works really well now to 04:29 actually implement in future classrooms 04:31 when we're back in person because a lot 04:33 of teachers are finding out oh this 04:35 really is working online why am I not 04:37 doing this in my classroom already yeah 04:40 and so being a teacher was that 04:43 something that was like a childhood 04:45 dream of yours was there a teacher of 04:46 yours and inspired you to pursue this or 04:48 like a like how did you get into this um 04:51 so I guess maybe the school I'm at now I 04:55 was I worked there for years ago before 04:57 I was in Taiwan I was teaching 04:58 University in Taiwan and they asked a 05:00 question similar to that what teacher 05:02 got you into education and to be honest 05:05 I had never thought I would go into 05:07 education until I went teaching abroad 05:10 and I really loved teaching students and 05:13 seeing their progress and English 05:16 language education I really enjoyed too 05:17 but the teacher that really motivated me 05:20 was my university professor and she and 05:22 I had a lot of one-on-one conversations 05:25 and one of the questions she asked me is 05:27 would you be able to sit in a classroom 05:29 with university students and ask a 05:32 question and have everyone if you blank 05:34 stares are you gonna be able to do that 05:37 because that's what are the challenges 05:39 yeah so um yeah I think I'll endure I 05:44 went to South Korea when I graduated 05:46 college on a whim to teach English 05:47 language education and from there I've 05:49 learned that that's what I really 05:51 enjoyed doing teaching abroad that must 05:53 be a real culture clash like a you share 05:57 some of your experiences that he's at 05:58 Taiwan and South Korea did you teach 05:59 anywhere else yeah I taught in South 06:01 Korea Taiwan and mainland China as well 06:04 so my first year was in South Korea I 06:07 was part of a graduate program that was 06:09 us-based but we had to teach in China 06:12 for a year and then I spent three years 06:13 teaching in Taiwan so it's been really 06:18 awesome because I've learned a lot about 06:20 education and how if I learn the 06:26 differences between the countries and 06:28 kind of been able to mash them together 06:30 and create my own educational philosophy 06:32 which has been really cool up until the 06:36 last few months since I was working in 06:37 Taiwan at the Ministry of Education and 06:39 that really 06:40 Hasmukh taught me a lot as far as I know 06:43 educational policies developed in Taiwan 06:45 and that helped me now in my current 06:49 position to understand kind of well what 06:51 what can schools do here in the US and 06:53 what can they not do that maybe some 06:56 bureaucratic tape is in the way what 06:58 would you say is the biggest cultural 07:01 difference in classrooms 07:02 you know broad versus the United States 07:05 um well in my experience it would be 07:09 shyness I think yeah because especially 07:14 for language education that is something 07:17 that people when they are in a classroom 07:20 learning languages are afraid of making 07:21 mistakes and in my experience when I 07:25 learn a language I'm very open and I'm 07:27 just having fun with it but in Asian 07:32 cultures as a generalization a lot of 07:35 students are not super comfortable with 07:38 eating in front of the classroom and 07:40 speaking so that was one thing is how do 07:42 I encourage students to be comfortable 07:44 speaking and that's kind of where I 07:46 leaned into board games in game based 07:48 learning in the classroom - speaking of 07:50 that so gamification in the classroom 07:53 when was that like what was the first 07:55 time you've heard about this unique 07:57 approach to teaching ah the first time I 08:01 heard about it was maybe four or five 08:03 years after I was already doing it 08:08 you were already ahead of the curve here 08:09 well it more like I think a lot of 08:12 teachers are using game based learning 08:13 or gamification techniques and they're 08:15 not realizing that's the term for what 08:17 they're doing and that's looking back on 08:20 some of the things I did in the past I 08:22 realized oh wow I was applying 08:23 gamification here for classroom 08:25 management or oh I used this lesson that 08:28 I kind of designed as a game based 08:30 learning opportunity for language and 08:33 just maybe like three years ago is when 08:35 I realized this is a field I can help 08:38 expand and make for teachers aware of 08:40 and help them develop strategies and 08:42 techniques that work and kind of looking 08:43 at once that maybe don't and how to 08:45 reshape those and so that's also the 08:49 central focus of your podcast for 08:50 getting with education when you start 08:53 the podcast yeah the word game in that 08:55 education we interview teachers game 08:58 designers publishers and talk about how 08:59 we can leverage games for learning 09:01 initially we started at two years ago so 09:04 February 2 from this past February two 09:07 years from then and initially it was 09:10 board gaming with English so we created 09:13 a podcast for English language learners 09:15 specifically but we found out a lot of 09:18 other teachers were tuning in 09:19 and we saw this as an opportunity to 09:21 kind of expand into an overall 09:24 educational approach to game based 09:25 learning games and so is there a 09:29 particular success that you've seen like 09:31 that have you seen this evolve over the 09:33 past few years it seems like it's 09:34 getting more and more popular more 09:36 teachers are implementing it especially 09:37 probably right now yeah I think I mean I 09:42 might this might be biased answer I 09:44 think it's better more popular but I had 09:47 one thing I've really noticed that's 09:48 been awesome because it you have unique 09:51 people that was in the podcast so we've 09:52 tried to expand outside of the podcast 09:55 and grow online communities and that's 09:56 why I'm super excited about the tundra 09:58 and using that space as a way to grow 10:00 our community too because our Facebook 10:03 group is very active and very engaging 10:05 but I would say maybe like five to ten 10:09 percent of people on in that Facebook 10:10 group actually listen to the podcast 10:12 though trying to figure out how to 10:14 engage those community members has been 10:17 a lot of fun and also very eye-opening 10:21 and a great learning process for me to 10:24 you so yeah it's been it's been a 10:25 journey so far and so obviously board 10:29 games is also a lifelong passion of 10:31 yours or an enthusiast of board games is 10:34 there a particular game that sparked 10:36 this passion is there a childhood memory 10:38 you associated with this he can do like 10:39 that was the moment yeah I mean oh man 10:43 we played a lot of risk growing up we 10:45 would stay up till 4:00 or 5:00 in the 10:46 morning I played a lot of trading card 10:48 games like yugioh Pokemon Magic the 10:51 Gathering in my adult life I got into 10:55 board games again when we played 10:57 Dominion which is like a def builder 10:59 game kind of like Magic the Gathering or 11:00 pokemon but you don't have to go out and 11:02 collect cards the game comes with the 11:05 deck well then it comes with several 11:06 cards that you can build your own deck 11:08 through the plain process is it no it's 11:12 just a deck building game so for example 11:14 you might have a row of cards and you 11:15 can spend a certain amount of money to 11:17 purchase cards and you try to build your 11:19 deck by making it as efficient as 11:22 possible so you'll draw cards and then 11:24 you'll spend those cards to get new ones 11:26 and then you'll just cycle through your 11:27 deck to try to get the most victory 11:29 points to win 11:31 I remember back when we met at IndieCade 11:33 he told me I can't remember was your 11:35 mother your grandmother used to play 11:37 this game with her and she had to tell 11:38 you you can't cheat okay like she caught 11:40 you cheating like too many times what 11:43 was that game or was that risk was that 11:45 a game of risk where that happened we 11:47 had to get talked to less of me as it 11:49 actually Kings in the corner oh yeah 11:51 that was one of the earliest memories of 11:54 games is we play kings in the corner and 11:56 I think the rule is you you're supposed 11:58 to play your king down as soon as 12:00 possible and I realized that if I hold 12:02 it I kind of have an advantage and in 12:05 the game more easily but then my grandma 12:07 called me out and said that's cheating 12:09 you're not supposed to be doing that but 12:11 yeah I think that was that was a fun 12:13 experience for me to learn about how 12:15 in-game mechanics work and how you can 12:18 manipulate those as well and that's kind 12:20 of the whole genesis of gamification of 12:23 classroom is you're taking the mechanics 12:25 and you're applying them to the 12:26 classroom and just like it's not like 12:29 you know students are sitting around 12:30 playing a game you're teaching a lesson 12:32 and you're using just the mechanics and 12:34 but you're applying them to history or 12:36 math or whatever is there a particular 12:39 subject where you see a lot of success 12:40 like math students history students I 12:43 would imagine history might be the 12:44 easiest one 12:45 you could adapt to is there a particular 12:47 subject yeah so uh yeah I think um I 12:51 would say history is the most theirs are 12:53 the most abundant board games in that 12:55 category if you look behind I have a 12:57 couple there's evolution recently I 12:59 developed a lesson plan for that in the 13:02 game the lesson plan is centered around 13:04 cause and effect in how ecosystems 13:06 change based on what's happening in the 13:09 ecosystem so students look at how the 13:11 game develops and in the game you have 13:13 and when there's a lot of food you'll 13:16 notice all the players create more 13:18 animals and more species grow but when 13:20 the food goes down or some player 13:23 creates a carnivore animal you realize 13:26 this species go down so it's looking at 13:27 cause and effect that's kind of a middle 13:29 school lesson plan so not really like 13:31 the game is not a teaching tool it's 13:35 more what supports do you create around 13:37 the game to use it in your class to 13:40 provide something so your students meet 13:42 that learning outcome you set for them 13:44 exactly um and so I'm seeing behind me 13:47 these games you know when I think of 13:49 orchids I just think of monopoly and all 13:50 the ones that you know the way person it 13:52 comes to their mind are these 13:54 independent like Kickstarter games like 13:56 where did you like discover these games 13:59 so for me personally a lot because I got 14:03 into the board game Hobby later than 14:05 when it started really blowing up on 14:07 Kickstarter so I think like eleven 14:09 evolution might have been a kickstart 14:11 I'm not sure but I just bought it just 14:13 in a friendly local game store and 14:16 because I know it's it's a good game 14:19 that came out several years ago and 14:20 people still talk about and still love 14:21 it 14:22 but yeah I think a lot of board game 14:24 publishers do use Kickstarter because 14:26 that's where the audience is but not all 14:29 there's are some games that go the 14:31 traditional distribution route that 14:33 those games end up at friendly local 14:35 game stores or Target or Barnes and 14:37 Noble but yeah I think it's there's so 14:42 many more games out there every year now 14:44 - so it's thousands that are published 14:46 each year so have you ever considered 14:49 developing a game yourself a little bit 14:52 I've I've developed a few games for my 14:55 classrooms and I've done some things for 14:57 fun I developed a gamification toolkit 15:00 for class two we launched it over 15:03 Christmas and new and Thanksgiving which 15:05 was a bad business decision on our part 15:09 because I didn't realize teachers are 15:11 not looking for new materials at that 15:12 time so we might look back into that in 15:15 the summer but yeah I mean that's one 15:18 thing that I really enjoy about games - 15:20 and game based learning is looking at 15:21 just the game mechanics and what you can 15:23 take to apply it to learning and so do 15:29 you have a relationship with any 15:30 developers or is that something like 15:32 that you've ever collaborated with 15:34 developers while you're thinking of how 15:36 to apply these to the classroom or is it 15:38 just purely kind of your own your own 15:40 thing oh well with evolution the game I 15:44 mentioned earlier I've worked with them 15:45 to develop a lesson plan and also reach 15:47 out to teachers and educators how they 15:49 created a digital based education 15:52 edition so it makes it more accessible 15:54 for teachers to bring their classroom 15:56 you 15:57 so I mean I'm always open to working 15:59 with board game companies or publishers 16:01 as far as design goes I've haven't 16:05 really done anything outside play 16:07 testing games for other designers or 16:09 publishers alright so just to wrap 16:13 things up what do you see for the future 16:15 of gamification in the classroom I mean 16:17 obviously it's on the rise but what do 16:19 you see these you need changes or 16:20 anything on the horizon for it well I 16:23 think one thing that is echoed a lot 16:26 with myself and other guests and when we 16:28 talk about this game based learning 16:29 gamification is a tool for our educators 16:32 toolbelt it's not the answer for 16:34 everything but it's something you can do 16:36 maybe once a year or you can develop 16:39 different parts of your classroom or 16:41 your class culture that maybe can use 16:44 some sort of enhancement and you can use 16:46 games and see what works and what 16:47 doesn't work and I think that hopefully 16:51 more teachers are willing to try it out 16:53 because that is the toughest thing I 16:57 think as teachers were we need to be 16:59 willing to make mistakes we kind of 17:02 teach that to our students the growth 17:03 mindset where it's okay to fail it's 17:05 okay to make a mistake and a friend of 17:07 mine think that you know Jonathan Cassie 17:10 he talks about just take a swing and 17:13 your note and your students are gonna 17:14 notice that you're at least taking a 17:15 swing for them and you're maybe you're 17:16 swinging and you're missing but maybe 17:18 you're swinging you know homerun but 17:20 your note your students are gonna notice 17:22 those swings that you're taking you'll 17:24 never know if you don't try alright 17:25 awesome thank you so much Justin well 17:28 let's plug your your podcast for getting 17:29 with education what date does usually 17:31 drop we release episodes every Monday 17:33 we're getting into video content 17:36 hopefully soon you can go to board game 17:38 with education comm and sign up for our 17:41 newsletter so you want any updates or 17:43 you can find us on social media you put 17:46 all the links in the info for this 17:47 episode all right awesome well thank you 17:49 thank you so much yeah thank you and so 17:51 it's great a great first episode thank 17:54 you that's the end of our pilot all 17:55 right awesome thank you gust and thank 17:58 you so much thank you all right take 17:59 care I'll reach out later on a bit yeah 18:01 okay

theTUNDRA sits down with Board Games Enthusiast and educator Dustin Staats, host of the podcast “Board Gaming With Education”. Dustin discusses how teachers can use the unique elements of “gamification” in the classroom to inspire their students.

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