When learners are given an opportunity to roll up their sleeves and interact with the concepts being taught, a deeper, more lasting understanding of classroom content is guaranteed to occur. This idea that experience builds more meaningful and transferrable knowledge may seem obvious, but in reality, most educational delivery takes a passive stance, with educators lecturing while their students quietly and ineffectively cram ideas that will be forgotten soon after the test is turned in. Why do educational practices remain in the dark ages, when there are decades of research across the disciplines proving the efficacy of interactive modes of learning?
Join Sarah Toms, executive director and cofounder of Wharton Interactive to explore questions like this one, and learn about achievable solutions. Toms has been leading award winning teams at the Wharton School for the past 6 years that build interactive games and learning experiences used by hundreds of universities and tens of thousands of learners globally. Sarah will share the best practices she has developed to design, build, and test these solutions. This workshop will not be passive. Come ready to brainstorm ideas, challenge conventional thinking about what’s possible in the classroom, and collaborate with likeminded pioneers—following Toms’ best practices, participants will be guided through the iterative steps—from idea generation through design and testing outcomes—of building their own educational game.
We will set the stage by doing a detailed walk-through of the best practices developed by Toms and her team. We will then play through Hearts and The Startup Game, and then unpack each design element and how the experience comes together to support the pedagogical goals. In teams, we will work together through a number of idea generation activities, following the best practice guidelines described in the beginning of the workshop. We will prototype our ideas in a maker lab format, and learn of ways to easily create clickable prototypes. From here, we will test out the idea on other participants, showing how test-driven design principles will shed light on strengths and weaknesses of the design. All participants must bring their smartphone.
Sarah Toms is Executive Director and co-founder of Wharton Interactive and coauthor of The Customer Centricity Playbook. She is a demonstrated thought leader in the educational technology field, fueled by a passion to find and develop innovative ways to make every learning environment active, engaging, more meaningful, and learner-centered. Her drive to modernize, transform, and democratize education led Sarah and her team to co-invent simpl.world, an open source simulation framework. She has spent more than twenty years as a leader in the technology sphere, and was an entrepreneur for more than a decade, founding companies that built global CRM, product development, productivity management, and financial systems. In addition, she is coauthor with Peter S. Fader of The Customer Centricity Playbook. She is dedicated to supporting women and girls in the technology field through her work with the Women in Tech Summit and techgirlz.org.