I’m an instructional designer.
Well, an assistant one, anyways. I work at a small, liberal arts University in the Midwest helping to design and develop interactive, narrative learning experiences for our students. I’m excited by innovation in education, and how we can use the powers of narrative and game design to power new and rich educational experiences.
Education in the 21st century needs to be different. It needs to be collaborative, iterative, student-centered, and personally driven.
I’m also a writer.
Everyone tells stories, I just happen to write them down so I sound less stupid. I don’t generally go for traditional publication, but I do work for Northward Compass, a mixed-media studio based out of Orlando, FL where I craft stories for games, podcasts, and other digital media. Stories are as old as humanity, and sharing them is in our bones. I also led design on CHSL Cards, a tool to help writers break through those pesky blocks.
Narrative has incredible power to shape the way we learn. Our experiences, expectations, and environment shape our personal stories and how we approach integrating new information. As designers, it’s critical we be aware of how we can use our narrative knowledge to make learning deeper, more engaging, and profound.
I’m also a game designer.
Ever since I was a kid, I’ve loved playing, breaking, changing and making my own games. I was the core-systems designer for Al.One, a game Northward Compass did for a two-week GameJam in 2017. Beyond that, I’ve got several tabletop games I’m always tinkering with—I’m fascinated by the idea of how narrative informs gameplay and vice-versa.
And of course the blending of narrative and game design principles to create next-level educational experiences. Not only can gamification enhance learning experiences, but we can learn a lot from simple game design principles. When’s the last time you reflected on why Rock, Paper, Scissors is such an engaging (if simple) experience? Take a few minutes, I’ll bet you’ll be surprised at what you’ll learn.
I’m also here.
I practice these things, here, in public, because it’s through exposure, collaboration, and refinement that individual skills are developed and new communities grown.
And learning is fundamentally a communal experience. We teach one another. We take ideas and build upon them in community. None of us can do this alone, and none of us will succeed the first time, all the time. So even if it’s a rough concept, or the first iteration of an idea, I’ll share it here.
Learning isn’t perfect, it’s a process.