The joy (and curse) of smartphones is that you can work anywhere. As I begin this post I am sitting in a Chic-Fil-A watching my 2 sons burn off their nuggets and fries (and the ice cream they traded their toys for) by running around in the little play place. This has become the ultimate lunch getaway for my boys. A poor man’s Disney World. Everytime we pass one of the restaruants the pleas from the backseat start rolling in. If I had to ask them why they like this so much I think the answer would be that its fun. And, of course its fun, but as a game inspired thinker I try to identify why it is fun. What does it mean for something to be fun?

It sounds simple… Almost like the Supreme Courts definition of pornography – “you know it when you see it”. The other issue with “fun” is that it almost seems spontaneous. So the challenge for a classroom teacher that wants to make a lesson fun is that we are dealing with an imprecise term that seems impossible to plan for! 

I challenge this notion though based on what I know from Nicole Lazzaro. Ms Lazzaro is a game designer and founder of XEODesign. Gamasutra even named her one of the top20 women working in video games. I dont personally know Ms Lazzaro but I have great respect for her work and what she calls “The 4 Keys to Fun“. In this post she basically argues that while a game designer cannot make something “fun” he or she can in fact create conditions that allow fun to occur. Moreover (and this is what I find most interesting) is that she argues that there are different kinds of fun. When you stop to think about it this makes a ton of sense. Running around the chic-fil-a playground is fun, but so isn’t a crossword puzzle and running a marathon. The are not equally fun to all people and even similar experiences can have different factors that vary how much fun something becomes. Over the next few posts I would like to explore Lazzaro’s 4 keys to fun and how they might apply to the classroom.