Using Boardgames at University

Incorporating Board Games in the University Classroom: A Guide

Board games have gained significant recognition as effective educational tools in university classrooms due to their ability to promote active learning and engage students. By integrating board games into the curriculum, educators can enhance critical thinking, problem-solving, collaboration, and communication skills while providing an enjoyable learning experience. Here, we present practical ways to utilize board games in the university classroom.

  1. Icebreaker Activities: At the beginning of the semester, board games can be employed as icebreaker activities to facilitate a relaxed and enjoyable environment for students to get to know each other. Opt for games that encourage social interaction and teamwork, such as cooperative or party games with group challenges.
  2. Reinforce Learning Concepts: To reinforce learning concepts, select board games that align with the course content. For example, a history professor can use a historically themed board game to help students understand and apply historical events and concepts.
  3. Simulate Real-Life Scenarios: Board games that simulate real-life scenarios related to the subject matter can be highly effective. For business students, engaging in a business strategy board game that requires decision-making, risk analysis, and adaptability to changing market conditions can provide practical insights.
  4. Problem-Solving and Critical Thinking: Choose board games that require strategic thinking and foster problem-solving skills. By working in teams, students can analyze situations, develop strategies, and make informed decisions, thereby honing their critical thinking abilities.
  5. Debates and Discussions: Board games that spark debates and discussions can be invaluable in the classroom. Games featuring moral dilemmas or ethical challenges provide opportunities for students to engage in thoughtful conversations, explore different perspectives, and develop their argumentation skills.
  6. Language Acquisition: In foreign language courses, language-based board games can significantly enhance language acquisition. Incorporate word games, vocabulary-building games, or language trivia to help students practice their language skills in an engaging and interactive manner.
  7. Assessment and Review: Utilize board games as a form of assessment or review. Create game-based quizzes or review sessions where students can compete against each other, reinforcing their knowledge and improving retention.
  8. Research and Design: Encourage students to create their own board games as part of a research or design project. This activity promotes creativity, problem-solving, and a deeper understanding of the subject matter.

When incorporating board games in the university classroom, it is important to ensure that the games are age-appropriate, relevant to the learning objectives, and accessible to all students. Provide clear instructions, facilitate discussions, and reflect on the learning outcomes to maximize the educational potential of board games.

By embracing board games as a teaching tool, educators can foster a positive classroom environment, increase student motivation, and create memorable learning experiences that go beyond traditional approaches.

More: (from a friend)

“Just following up on our conversation yesterday. Here is a link to that journal co-run by the meiji prof using boardgames in his class”.

Kevin’s Guesthouse near Hakone

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