OPTION PLAY Engages College Freshman in Active Learning

I was listening to Trends and Issues in Student Activities on Higher Ed Live earlier today. The discussion by Dr. Cindy Kane, Dr. Veronica Riepe, Brian Gardner, and Brian Proffer (mediated by Tony Doody) was thought provoking, especially those parts about setting relevant learning goals, doing more with less, and the challenge of constantly providing students with multiple and engaging options.  I was moved to ask myself how OPTION PLAY engages students in active learning.

As I was walking up from the subway onto the Columbia University campus today I was hit by a wall of people looking down--at their phones.  As human beings in today's world we don't want to miss anything!  But, can we communicate with one another as we sit across a table, without our phones?  YES we can, and have fun doing it!  OPTION PLAY is a card game which invites players to interact and communicate with each other.  One player at the University of Michigan summed it up by saying "you don't want to play this on a computer because you want to talk with the person across from you about what you would do."

Gamification is a new way of looking at the same tasks and information, and now they are fresh, relevant, and alive.   "When we're in game worlds, I believe that many of us become the best version of ourselves: the most likely to help at a moment's notice. The most likely to stick with a problem as long as it takes. To get up after failure and try again." Jane McGonigal

OPTION PLAY is based on scenarios from college freshman.  Strategizing about how to deal with the scenarios, in a group of peers, is the game.  The strategizing is organic, the group is real, playing requires creativity, problem-solving, tenacity, humor, and a sense of competition.

Learning goals:  learn to take calculated risks, strategize, problem-solve, show empathy, be amused, laugh at oneself, work with what you have.

Do more with less -- it will be the best $35 you have spent in a while (and of course, add the cost of the pizza).